It Doesn’t Look Mini Anymore: Toyota Builds an All-Terrain Minivan

It used to be that owning a minivan meant giving up the option of going on off-road adventures. After all, the minivan is the epitome of being a responsible (read: boring) adult. Well, all that has changed thanks to the world’s largest and most profitable automobile maker, Toyota. The auto giant has never really been known for being creative or thinking outside the box. That is, until now. Enter: the Toyota Ultimate Utility Vehicle (UUV), or the coolest Sienna minivan to ever roll off the factory floor.

This latest model is being dubbed the love-child of a Sienna and a Tacoma. It effectively combines the practicality and comfort of a minivan with the rough-and-tumble excitement of a pickup truck or SUV. The result? A super cool all-terrain vehicle complete with beefy off-road tires that is versatile enough to drive the kids to school by day and then go trekking by night.

In the most basic of terms, the UUV is a modified version of a Sienna minivan built upon the frame of a Tacoma pickup. Externally, the vehicle features rugged edges with a smooth, curved hood and cabin. If anything, this is one of those vehicles that will capture peoples’ attention and make them want to learn more. Behind the scenes, the UUV has some off-road enhancements including a more robust suspension, an embedded winch and bead-locking wheels. Finish it off with some killer all-terrain tires to make the whole look complete, and you’ve got yourself quite the conversation piece, to say the very least.

The UUV was recently unveiled as part of Toyota’s 9-vehicle, 110-day, 16,500 mile promotional cross-country drive that began in Plano, Texas and will continue through some of the most rugged areas of the US, including Death Valley and parts of Alaska. This trek, dubbed the “Ever-Better Expedition” is an intercontinental driving project that is designed to get team members out from inside the office and behind the wheel to experience the real-life drives that Toyota vehicles make every day.

Unfortunately, beyond what’s covered here, not too many details about these new all-terrain vehicles have been released. It will remain to be seen whether the UUV will garner enough attention to be worth mass-production. If you’re one of those forward-thinking buyers who is chomping at the bit to sink your teeth into this exciting new Toyota product, let us know in the comments below. And if you are lucky enough to be one of the first to own a UUV, be sure to keep our all-terrain truck tires in mind.