Heavily modified versions of Toyota’s Hilux pick-up have ventured as far as the South Pole in freezing temperatures as low as -30°C.
Towing custom-built trailers and coping with loads of up to 2.5 tonnes — 1.5 tonnes more than the vehicle’s quoted capacity — four of the double cabs have been deployed as support vehicles for the Amundsen Omega3 South Pole Race, a 483-mile skiing challenge. Pressed into service to ferry supplies, scientists and team support groups and to carry out reconnaissance duties, they’ve covered more than 2,000 miles apiece.
Prepared by Arctic Trucks of Reykjavik in Iceland, the 3.0-litre diesel Toyotas are said to be faster, more comfortable and more fuel efficient than tracked snowcats. They can carry more passengers too Toyota points out.
Hilux pick-ups have already been deployed as workhorses at Camp Novo and other Antarctic research stations. Back in 2007 a Hilux made it to the Magnetic North Pole in an expedition mounted by TV programme Top Gear.
Check out the short video of the Hiluxes being prepared by Arctic Trucks.