Toyota Hilux Champ debuts in Thailand as affordable, back-to-basics workhorse bakkie

Published Nov 28, 2023


The Toyota Hilux Champ has gone on sale in its home market of Thailand and with that we now get to see it in final production form and glance over the specifications.

As IOL reported earlier this year, the new affordable workhorse is believed to be under consideration for South African release around 2025 or 2026, with local production being a possibility too.

It has also been suggested that it could revive the Stallion name for our market.

While it’s too early to predict local pricing, the Thai model kicks off at 459,000 Baht, which equates to R245,000 at today’s exchange rate, while the most expensive version comes in at 577,000 Baht (R308,000).

Thai customers will get to choose from three engine options, all inherited from the Hilux.

Two of these are normally aspirated petrol units, in the form of a 2.0-litre unit that produces 102kW and 183Nm and a 2.7-litre rated at 122kW and 245Nm. The smaller engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission while the 2.7 gets a six-speed autobox as standard.

The sole diesel option is the familiar 2.4-litre turbodiesel offering 110kW and 343Nm in manual guise or 400Nm in the case of the auto.

The Toyota Hilux Champ is available in short wheelbase and long wheelbase guises, with the latter sharing its 3,085mm wheelbase with the Hilux and the former measuring 2,750mm between the axles.

With a width of 1,785mm the Champ is narrower than the regular Hilux single cab but the long wheelbase version, with an overall length of 5,300mm, is 30mm longer than its fancier sibling, while the short version measures 4,970mm.

In addition there are three load configurations to choose from, including a chassis cab designed to accommodate a multitude of aftermarket body configurations.

If you buy it with a load bin then a dropside configuration is standard, and those who don’t want an exposed chassis can opt for an Attractive Package, which for now is only available on the diesel SWB model. This fills in the bottom space with panels, although it would seem “attractive” is very much a relative term in this case.

The cabin of the Toyota Hilux Champ keeps things basic and like the exterior the cockpit takes inspiration from the Land Cruiser 70 series. While there are a few luxuries like electric windows, the vehicle in the supplied picture lacks some basic items like an aircon and heater and nor is there a rev counter or radio.

Toyota set out to create a no-frills workhorse and that is exactly what the Japanese manufacturer has achieved with the Hilux Champ, love it or loathe it.

“For the IMV series, Toyota decided to return to its origins to create an IMV pickup truck that is truly affordable and meets the needs of customers,” Toyota said.

“Local engineers led the development of the IMV 0 after thoroughly researching customer lifestyles.”

IOL Motoring