Top Gear Treks to North Pole in a Toyota Hilux

January 8, 2010
Toyota oughtta be mighty proud. A fine fire engine red example of its compact Hilux crew cab pickup has traveled to the furthest northern reaches of this here globe.

toyota hilux main 630

toyota hilux main 630

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Jeremy Clarkson and James May, the cheeky blokes that host the BBC's popular Top Gear automotive television program, recently took a perilous overland journey from northern Canada to the North Pole in none other than a Toyota Hilux pickup. The two truck-driving explorers were somewhat surprised and way gratified to have beaten their comrade and co-host Richard Hammond to the Pole. Hammond and an expert Canadian musher had taken the traditional approach for arctic exploration, using a tried and trusted team of sled dogs. Clarkson and May were not strangers to the durability and capability of the Hilux, however, since a few years back Top Gear bought a late 1980s Hilux just to see what they had to do to kill it. After a slew of abuses of apocalyptic proportions, the Hilux still kept on trucking [see the Top Gear video on YouTube].

For us in the States, the Hilux is somewhat of an unknown quantity, since this truck was never sold under that name in the North American market. Unbeknownst to the unwitting American compact truck-driving public, however, the super reliable, though admittedly rusty, third through fifth generations of the Hilux in the 1980s were sold here as Toyota pickups.

During the mid-1990s, Toyota decided the world was too big to be adequately serviced by just one form of compact pickup. In 1995 the Toyota Tacoma was born for sale in the U.S. While it was based on the Hilux pickup, Toyota allowed the evolution of the Tacoma to accommodate for American vehicle preferences. For starters, the Tacoma is a bit "supersized" for a compact truck to cater to us "supersized" Americans.

If the Hilux lives up to even a fraction of what the slickly produced Top Gear video showcased about the vehicle's off-road prowess, we in the States just might be missin' out. With the compact truck market taking such a beating in recent days, maybe Toyota might see fit to reunite the Hilux and Tacoma bloodlines and downsize its next generation of compact trucks.

If you have some time to kill, head over to YouTube and check out the arctic exploits of the Toyota Hilux on the Top Gear polar special, which airs in three individual videos, the first of which is embedded below. Enjoy! 

[Source: YouTube]

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