In the 2010s, the Monolith product portfolio was significantly widened. Part of that was the return of a bespoke compact pick-up truck designed to fill the gap between small, passenger car based minitrucks like the Fiat Strada and Volkswagen Saveiro and purpose built trucks like the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200 and VW Amarok. Thus the S-Series was born.
The S-Series is very much a middle ground between these vehicles, as it does not use a ladder chassis like the larger trucks, instead it utilizes a modified van chassis similar to the Honda Ridgeline, and as a result the payload and towing capacity are not quite at the same level of "real" trucks, however it is therefore much lighter and delivers superior on-road driving dynamics and greatly improved fuel economy.
The platform is a derivative of the Monolith V-400 delivery van, that has been modified in certain areas. It utilizes the same RWD layout with MacPherson Struts at the front and the proven Monolith heavy-duty semi trailing arm rear suspension used on most Monolith Vans and Pick-Up trucks since 1986. To get as much truck as possible on the footprint of a Mazda 3, the platform was widened, resulting in a bed comparable in capacity to larger offerings like the Mitsubishi L200. This however didn't leave enough space for a second row of seats, but a good compromise was quickly found by effciently utilizing the available width to add a full sized third seat between the driver and passenger seat, a quirk we unashamedly copied from the Fiat Multipla.
The mechanicals meanwhile are unchanged from the V-400, with one petrol and two diesel engine options, each paired to a six-speed manual transmission or an optional 6-speed automatic. By default, power is sent to the rear wheels, with full-time AWD being a $1,750 option that also includes a locking rear differential for off-road use.
And finally, just for fun we've also built the limited edition S260 Rallye, which uses a very special 2.6L V6 originally conceived in the early 1990s for DTM racing, which produces 280hp and outrevs just about any other engine currently on the market. It also includes sticky, large diameter wheels, brakes and sports tuned suspension for when one must take a bale of hay on the Nürburgring, as you do. Some say it was spotted on the Top Gear Test Track as part of filming for Season 23, and that it did a lap in 1:26.18. All we know is that only 2588 will be built.
Edit: Seeing as Saminda has released a redesigned Tonaro for 2016, our IMP overlords have decided to move the benchmark even further up by introducing another Diesel option alongside a facelift for 2017. The 2017 S340D1 is equipped with an all-new 3.4L Inline six turbodiesel featuring DV3 continuously variable valve timing and lift first seen in the M-X 425D. Thanks to DV3 it produces 245hp and 580Nm while returning 41mpg combined. Because Monolith is pro-choice it can still be ordered with a 6-speed manual transmission.
S270: 2.7L Inline 4 petrol engine [IMP FB-227FQ], 185hp, 251Nm (184lb-ft), 1395kg (AWD: 1495kg), 34mpg, $18,650 (AWD: $20,400)
S220D1: 2.2L Inline 4 Turbodiesel [IMP D422/J9 V150], 148hp, 368Nm (273lb-ft), 1435kg (AWD: 1520kg), 47mpg, $20,105 (AWD: $21,855)
S220D2: 2.2L Inline 4 Turbodiesel [IMP D422/J9 V175], 175hp, 420Nm (311lb-ft), 1435kg (AWD: 1520kg), 43mpg, $22,105 (AWD: $23,855)
2017 S340D1: 3.4L Inline 6 Turbodiesel [IMP D634M T-V240], 245hp, 580Nm (430lb-ft], 1520kg (AWD: 1610kg), 41mpg, $26,650 (AWD: $28,400)
S260 Rallye: 2.6L V6 [IMP QB-226G], 276hp, 282Nm (207lb-ft), 1550kg, 23mpg, $42,830, limited to 2588 units