Indestructible Toyota Hilux makes indefectible go-anywhere micro RV
Toyota has a reputation for building rugged, ready-for-anything off-roaders like no other company on Earth ... and the Toyota Hilux might just be the toughest of them all. A forbidden fruit in the United States, the Hilux is well-established in much of the rest of the world and has served nobly on some of the toughest journeys ever conceived. It's a natural choice for an overland rig, and Japan's Direct Cars Co has transformed it into an impressive all-terrain RV. The four-person BR75 camper truck marries the all-world capability of the Hilux with a neatly integrated pop-up micro-home that has two beds, a private tailgate mud/shower room and a roomy dining lounge.
Anyone who faithfully watched Top Gear knows that we're not the ones designating the Hilux as indestructible. The team of three declared it themselves after putting a red single-cab through multiple torturous trials, watching it hobble away under its own power every time.
"It's been drowned, it's been torched, it's been crashed, it's been pummeled, it's been dropped from the air, and yet it's still running. It's the Toyota Hilux pickup, the most indestructible car in the world," Top Gear sums it up online.
The Toyota Hilux's indestructibility has served it well when venturing off the beaten path. It has an illustrious history of breaking ties with civilization and braving trips that lesser vehicles would never attempt, including Arctic expeditions and Dakar rallies. So it's more than prepared for overnighters and overland trips around and beyond the most challenging corners of Japan.
Instead of developing a slide-in pickup camper for the Hilux, Direct Cars mounts its camper module to the bare chassis behind the five-seat cab. It officially calls its creation the BR75 SUV Adventure Camper, with the "SUV" thrown in there to denote the quiet, private space offered by a motorhome design with full pass-through between driving cab and living area.
The BR75 isn't notable merely because it's a camper atop a Hilux, although that definitely boosts its case, but also because it's a thoughtfully laid out space that's slightly different from the average truck camper. We're used to seeing truck campers that feature either a pop-up roof or a high alcove sleeper roof but not both. Direct Cars makes full use of its alcove roof for a lowerable over-cab double bed while adding a pop top farther back to open up standing headroom and add ventilation. It appears travelers can either camp with the top closed for full hard-walled protection or open the pop-top up for more space and enhanced air circulation.
Direct Cars doesn't advertise a bed option for the pop-up roof area, but it doesn't need to since the dual-bench dining lounge that takes up the center of the camper floor quickly transforms into a second double bed, giving the BR75 space for all four or five people in the truck.
Direct Cars lays the BR75 out more like a hotel room than a fully equipped RV, skipping the full kitchen in favor of a split bathroom/living area space that includes an electric fridge. The layout won't appeal to everyone, but it does leave space for one of the best bathroom designs we've seen on a midsize-pickup camper. The rear shower room is accessible through an inside door as well as from the outside lift gate, offering a private, four-walled compartment for showering and washing up. The full-size shower floor pan is installed so the space can serve as a mudroom, letting campers load in wet, muddy gear from outside without dirtying the greater camper interior. The gear can also be hosed down inside or outside, as the shower extends out of the camper.
The shower room includes a vanity with sink and independent faucet, but there's no mention of a toilet. It would be simple and affordable enough to carry a portable cassette toilet inside the space, though, so the shower room could easily double as a private toilet room.
The BR75 also includes a 200-Ah lithium-ion battery, 1,500-W inverter and 200-W solar panel providing power to the portable fridge, LED lighting, water pump, internal and external power outlets, and more. A touchscreen control panel offers centralized information and switching for all the electrical equipment. A space heater is also included and an air conditioner available.
Direct Cars showed the BR75 as a new model at the 2023 Japan Camping Car Show that wrapped up on Monday. It offers the camper in two trims: the ¥12,450,000 (approx. US$94,725) "G" trim described above and the ¥10,980,000 (US$83,550) "Z" trim, which options out a variety of features.