Toyota Hilux goes to Antartica
Toyota Hilux goes to Antartica – Click above for high-res image gallery

Thanks in part to the work of the crew at Top Gear, the Toyota Hilux pickup has garnered a reputation for being all but unstoppable. Whether it's being left to suffer at the hands of a rising tide, plummeting from the top of a demolished housing complex or roaming the Antarctic wastes, there just seems to be no beating the Hilux.

Toyota itself has set about showing the world just what these vehicles are capable of by taking the pickup on a brutal 2,858-mile trek across our planet's southern-most continent. During the adventure, the vehicles faced temperatures down to negative 68.8 degrees Farenheit and altitudes of over 11,100 feet.

Though the trucks were specially-prepared by the aptly-named company Artic Trucks, their 3.0-liter diesel engines were left bone stock. Over the trip, the Hilux proved it could keep pace with just about any tracked vehicle while still returning better fuel economy than just about any other expedition vehicle. That's important when a single barrel of oil can cost as much as $10,000 once it reaches the Antarctic shore. Hit the jump to check out the full press release.


Related GalleryToyota Hilux goes to Antartica

[Source: Toyota]
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- Four Hilux travel over 4,600 km across Antarctica with temperature down to minus 56°C and altitude of 3,400 m.
- Lower fuel consumption and higher average speed than any equivalent Antarctic vehicle.
- Adapted by Icelandic 4X4 conversion specialists Arctic Trucks to tackle the extreme terrain and condition.
- 3.0-litre D-4D diesel unchanged for the expedition, demonstrating legendary Hilux Quality, Durability and Reliability.

The unstoppable Toyota Hilux is already renowned for its capacity to overcome any extreme challenge, from driving to the North Pole to conquering the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull. Now, the Hilux has successfully completed yet another extraordinary journey, travelling across the coldest, most hostile environment in the world, Antarctica, to reach the South Pole.

Between 10th November and 5th December 2010, four Hilux transported expedition members of the Indian National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) -studying snow chemistry, the glacial landscapes and the bedrock hidden beneath the ice- on a 4,600 km round trip from Novo Air Base, to the South Pole, and safely back.

The four Hilux vehicles were produced at Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM), the main volume supply base for the European market, and were adapted by Icelandic Toyota 4x4 conversion specialists, Arctic Trucks, for the month-long expedition. Arctic Trucks has long ranked the Hilux its first choice amongst equivalent vehicles thanks to its proven, 40 year record of Quality, Durability and Reliability (QDR) under even the most extreme driving conditions.

Faced with extreme weather, average temperatures of below -40oC and peaks of -56oC, altitudes of over 3,400 m and the most brutal driving environment imaginable, NCAOR selected the Hilux for this remarkable expedition as it combines several exceptional attributes essential to survival on the world's harshest continent.

Firstly, given the extreme conditions, it has proven very low comparable fuel consumption of 50 l/100 km. Even with the use of less energy-efficient Jet 1A fuel, the vehicle engine running 24/7 and running extra heating system constantly on, this figure is 5 to 8 times lower than that achieved by tracked vehicles. This significantly reduces both transported fuel loads and fuel costs (one barrel of oil in Antarctica can cost $10,000). With this fuel efficiency, the expedition could rely on only one refueling point, established some 1,500 km from the journey starting point - Maitri Antarctica station.

Secondly, the Hilux has a uniquely high load carrying capacity. It combines a low unladen weight of just 2.2 tons with a payload capacity of 1.5 tons and a towing capacity of 3 tons – an essential attribute when carrying the expedition equipment, spare parts and participants, as well as 1,280 liters of fuel per vehicle.

Thirdly, this expedition maintained a faster average speed than any comparable expedition had previously attained.

Although the four vehicles required a degree of adaptation to tackle Antarctica's uniquely extreme driving conditions, it is testament to the Hilux's legendary Quality, Durability and Reliability that its 3.0 D-4D diesel engine remained entirely unchanged for the expedition.

Necessary modifications made by Arctic trucks included the integration of a crane to lift heavy equipment and fuel, the use of Jet 1A fuel with additional lubricants to tackle the extreme cold, revised front/rear suspension and drivetrain, extra heating system, crawler gears, crevasse protection and the fitment of extra large tires with a pressure as low as 2 psi (regular Hilux tyres have a pressure of 2.9 psi).

Sold in over 160 countries and global leader in the pick-up segment, the Hilux performed throughout its latest, gruelling challenge. Making the NCAOR expedition possible through its unique combination of fuel efficiency, speed, load capacity and reliability, the Hilux has once again pushed back the boundaries of extreme endurance driving.