Toyota is expecting a winner with its new ute aimed at markets like south-east Asia, judging by its name.

    Kurdistan Automotive Blog on Instagram has published images of the new ute – previewed by the IMV O and Rangga concepts – wearing the HiLux Champ nameplate.

    The images were taken in Thailand, where the production ute will reportedly be revealed on November 27.

    Development has been undertaken by the Daihatsu-Toyota Joint Engineering Team, with engineers from Japan and Australia reportedly involved in the project.

    Autocar India reports it will go on sale in Southeast Asian markets like Thailand by 2025, and offer a choice of diesel or hybrid powertrains. However, it has cast doubt on an earlier report from Top Gear Philippines that the production ute would also offer an electric powertrain.

    The ute is rear-wheel drive, though a four-wheel drive version is reportedly expected – as is an SUV version, which could shape as a more affordable version of the HiLux-based Fortuner.

    The spy photos of the HiLux Champ show precious few changes from the Rangga concept revealed in Indonesia in August.

    Toyota touted the flexibility of the ute, previewing various applications for it including a coffee truck and an ambulance.

    The styling may be cute and chunky, but this isn’t a pint-sized ute: the concept measures 5300mm long, 1785mm wide, 1740mm tall, and rides a 3085mm wheelbase.

    The HiLux also offers a 3085mm wheelbase, but the new concept is slightly narrower.

    A company executive in South Africa recently confirmed Toyota was working on a new ute that would undercut the HiLux on price.

    The upcoming ute will launch in 2025 or 2026, and will be aimed at developing markets around Africa, among other places – small, affordable utes are popular in Latin America, where Toyota doesn’t currently offer anything smaller or cheaper than the HiLux.

    Toyota won’t follow the same path as the likes of Fiat, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, and Renault by rolling out a smaller car-based pickup with a payload around 500kg in those markets, though.

    “It won’t be a half-ton [ute],” Toyota South Africa vice president for sales and marketing Leon Theron recently told South African media, as reported by IOL.

    The Rangga wasn’t the only ute concept revealed by Toyota this year, though the other one is quite different.

    The EPU, revealed at the Tokyo motor show, is an electric alternative to unibody ‘lifestyle’ utes like the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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