The Toyota TacoZilla camper concept arrives to us in an era where “tiny houses” and “overlanding” are buzzwords we hear all the time. In such, the minds at Toyota decided to pack up something special by rekindling a retro theme some might remember from the 1970’s and 1980’s in the compact Toyota Chinook campers that were ubiquitous at the time.
Starting with a Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport 4×4, the team set out to create the feel and look of the Chinook with a modern flair but more importantly bring it into today’s penchant for overlanding which is a more rugged tint on what we used to call camping. Here, we need to go off-road and have a vehicle capable of doing more than parking on the tarmac of a National Park camp site.
To wit, Toyota built the TacoZilla with a carefully design space frame and a crafted aluminum skin to keep it light and rugged. Following the lines of the Tacoma, they wrapped the exterior with a retro striping scheme that fits the bill well. On the hood is a cartoon TacoZilla graphic I just think is cute AF.
The interior is a world of highly crafted detail with a full suite of amenities, a full bath, hot running water, a full kitchen and a 4×4 skylight to keep it bright. An nicely modern interior design features teak flooring and handsome fabrics.
The living room area is designed so that a 6-foot tall person can walk it fully without bumping their head. No detail was spared including the custom tapered rear door that follows the creased curvature of the rear silhouette.
The interior has a handsome leather upholstery with diamond stitched custom work. The rear seat of the Access Cab to allow a wide and open area for a pass-through.
Making the structural design challenging was the fully integrated structural design that can withstand off-roading without creasing or cracking critical junctions like the opening pass-through from the cab into the rear cabin. I think it was worth the work as this one detail brings the whole thing together.
Believe it or not most of the Toyota Tacoma’s suspension and drivetrain is left stock. There is an upgraded set of 285/70/17 General Tire Grabber X3 all-terrain tires for the standard TRD Sport suspension.
Powering the TacoZilla is the also the standard 3.5-liter V6 and running gear, though a slick TRD snorkel intake was added for additional water fording depth – after all this is overlanding, not camping.