Developed for emerging markets, the Toyota Hilux Champ is here to prove a new pickup doesn’t need to cost as much as a luxury sedan. It was previewed by the Rangga concept unveiled in August 2023, and it costs less than the average late-model used car in the United States.
Visually, not much has changed over the past couple of months. The Champ is shaped like the box it came in (flat surfaces keep production costs in check), it’s exceptionally basic, and it’s offered in a wide number of configurations. Toyota stresses that engineers in Thailand played a big role in the development process by providing feedback about which features local buyers need and which ones they can do without.
The truck stretches about 208 inches long, 70 inches wide, and 68 inches tall when ordered with a long wheelbase, though the range will also include a short-wheelbase model and a cab-chassis. Buyers will initially have three engines to choose from: a 2.0-liter and a 2.7-liter that burn gasoline, and the tried-and-true 2.4-liter diesel-powered four-cylinder found in several of the Japanese carmaker’s global vehicles. Rear-wheel-drive and a five-speed manual transmission come standard, and a six-speed automatic gearbox is offered at an extra cost.
As promised, Toyota made the Champ modular enough to serve in a wide variety of industries. The cargo box features folding sides and pre-drilled holes so that users can attach the equipment their job requires, and over 100 aftermarket brands will ultimately provide accessories for the model. Toyota showed a handful of ideas when it unveiled the concept: it configured it as an ambulance, an ice cream truck, a fire truck, and mobile coffee shop, among other variants. Owners who want a leisure-oriented truck will be able to turn it into a camper.
Inside, there’s not much to the entry-level Hilux. The driver faces a three-spoke steering wheel, an analog instrument cluster that doesn’t include a tachometer, and a flat, horizontal dashboard. You won’t find a touchscreen, air conditioning, or even a radio in the base model.
On sale now in Thailand, the Toyota Hilux Champ starts at 459,000 baht, which represents approximately $13,200 at the current conversion rate. That’s over $10,000 less than the Ford Maverick, which at $25,640 stands out as the cheapest new pickup available in the United States. Don’t call the Ford dealer to cancel your order yet, however: nothing suggests the Hilux Champ will be sold in the United States.