Anyone who’s ever been behind the wheel of a Toyota knows the company can make a pretty powerful piece of off-road ready machinery. Take the 2016 Toyota Tundra – fully equipped with a standard 381 horsepower, 5.1L V8 engine with dual exhaust, able to generate 401 lb/ft of torque for over five tons of towing power. Its 8-inch TRD Pro black alloy wheels, 32-in. Michelin LTX AT2 tires with TRD-tuned front springs and Blistein high-performance shocks make it the perfect offroading vehicle for any weekend activity.
Well, maybe not any activity. You probably can’t crush a sedan with the standard Toyota.
What’s that? You have some sedans you need to crush? And you need to be able to do so in either the hottest, rockiest desert or the most frigid, icy arctic?
Then take a look at Toyota’s new Ultimate Utility Vehicle (UUV) – a veritable mini-monster truck with the body of a minivan but the power of Goliath.
First debuted at this year’s 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show, the UUV is a powerful combination. Combining the spacious comfort of the Toyota Sienna minivan with the durable frame of a 4×4 Tacoma frame.
Boasting an Engaged four-link long-travel suspension which gives the UUV a four-inch lift in ride height, this finely-crafted workhorse if specifically adapted to intense off-road travel. Massive 33×22 Nitto Mud Grappler tires mounted on 22×12-inch Monster Energy 539B off-road wheels give the UUV 15.75 inches of wheel travel, all of which promise to bring the driver practically anywhere he or she can think to bring it.
For this reason, the UUV was selected to be the operational hub and command center for Toyota’s Ever-Better Expedition, a convoy of nine Toyotas that are being driven over 16,500 miles across the continent through the most extreme driving conditions imaginable.
Only the spacious Sienna frame is capable of fitting all of the complex electronics required for the expedition, including a TracVision mobile satellite television receiver, Wi-Fi; Internet access with Skype connectivity, multiple USB ports, a 17-inch monitor and 60-inch Sony LED TV, a 2,500-watt JBL audio system, and a Flir M-324xp night vision camera system with high-definition recording capability. The researchers traveling on the Expedition can closely monitor the UUV’s performance from the captain’s chairs equipped with laptop tray tables and report back to Toyota from on the road.
And, to cap it all off, the truck just looks so cool – with an intimidating black finish, an impressively wide stance and innovative “suicide-style” front-hinged front doors and sliding back doors for ultimate space-saving capability, you won’t even recognize it as a minivan.
Need even more intense crushing power in your life?
Check out the two Tundra Monster Trucks that Toyota displayed at the 2014 SEMA show in Las Vegas last year. If you’re in the need for more over-the-top crushing/offroading power in your life, here are a couple of beautiful novelty trucks – both based on the Tundra frame – all for you.
The Hiring Our Heroes Monster Truck
A five-ton truck festooned with patriotic decor that gives a voice to veterans by urging employers to hire more veteran workers – what’s more American than that?
When builder Steve Zion and the mechanics at Toyota of Wallingford heard from Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant Dakota Meyer (USMC) that he had a vision for a patriotic monster truck, he got to work. By strapping a 2014 Tundra frame onto a monster truck chassis, Zion had the perfect slate on which to add a TRD supercharger, giving this 10,000-pound behemoth enough output from its 5.7L engine to pump out an estimated 580 horsepower.
That’s not to mention the other impressive upgrades, like King nitrogen shock absorbers, custom sheet metal and enormous 66” x 43” x 25” tires. And not only was Zion able to add all of these features, he also never removed any of the already existing features of the Tundra, like cabin air conditioning, that make riding to comfortable.
In the time since its debut at the 2014 Daytona 500, the Hiring Our Heroes Monster Truck has made great strides to raise awareness of he Hiring Our Heroes Personal Branding Initiative, which helps fight veteran unemployment by helping veterans learn how to better market themselves to civilian employers.
“Toyota is very proud to partner with Hiring Our Heroes and Sgt. Meyer on this inspirational project,” said Steve Appelbaum, Toyota engagement marketing and motorsports national manager. “Wherever the Hiring Our Heroes Tundra goes, it calls attention to the cause of helping veterans find employment opportunities.”
And underneath all of the impressive decor lies a modified frame to accommodate four-link suspension, custom SWR wheels, fully hydraulic front steering through Eaton orbital valves, and quick-ratio electrohydraulic rear steering to actually give this noble giant some serious capabilities on even the roughest, rockiest trails.
Remember how much fun you used to have playing with your Tonka trucks? Maybe you still have fun with them, we’re not here to judge.
The point is that now you can turn those games into reality with the Toyota Tonka Monster Truck.
“There’s the perfect blend of over-the-top Saturday morning cartoon fun as well as real-world rugged capability in this build,” said Appelbaum. “The Tonka Tundra captures the imaginations of kids and adults alike, and all to highlight the heroes in towns across America who rush into harm’s way on our behalf.”
Those “heroes” he mentioned are emergency responders – the brave men and women who step into harm’s ay every day for the sake of others. With an attention-demanding bright red, yellow and black livery, a plethora of LED light bars and stylized “Emergency Rescue” logos let everyone know that this Monster Truck means serious business.
Boasting a TRD supercharger, dual exhaust, oil cap, air filter, and Big Brake Kit combined with an over 10-inch custom Bulletproof Suspension lift and 20-inch custom Moto Metal wheels wrapped in Toyo’s 40” Open Country M/T tires, there is hardly any situation this truck can’t respond to.
This monster truck is fully decked out with automatic side steps, bed side steps, and bed rear step (which are all definitely necessary to get all the way up to the skyscraping cab). And, with an amplifier, subwoofer, and speakers from JL Audio combined with Scosche audio wires, cables, and sound deadener you can guarantee that no matter how much metal you’re crushing under the tires, your tunes will never be drowned out.
And, this truck looks pretty sweet, too. Featuring an Addictive Desert Designs custom rack, Bushwacker pocket-style fender flares, a yellow, red, and black paint job adorned with Fab-Fours front and rear bumpers, a custom Katzkin interior, and LED lighting with customized light show effects, the Tonka Tundra will not be easily overlooked.
The Tonka Tundra and the Hiring Our Heroes Truck are the ultimate toys for the grown-up who hasn’t lost his or sense of wonder. If you need more intense crushing power in your life and also want to support a good cause, these may be just the larger-than-life vehicles you’ve been looking for.
If your life needs more intense crushing power but you simply cannot give up on your Toyota dreams, then these specialty vehicles may have been made for you. Combining the impressive driving power of a Toyota Tundra with the huge-ness of a monster truck isn’t easy to do – but we’re glad they decided to do it.