1994 Toyota Diesel Hilux Surf
Stock Number: 4912
When it comes to bulletproof SUVs that can get you out to your hunting spot in the woods just as easily as it does to your beer league hockey games it doesn't get much better than the Hilux. Toyota built a legendary reputation on its rugged dependability that's still civil enough for getting you to and from the office in comfort. Most familiar with the SUV market already know how crazy even a US 4Runner holds its value, and that's only with the V6 let alone a legitimate turbo diesel. It's not often we can brag about SUV performance, but the 3.0L 1KZ-TE really is something to write home about. They make great torque, as surprisingly quiet for being a diesel, and can take whatever you can throw at it. Finished in Black Metallic (204) the chrome accents really pop, especially the oversized brush guard and fogs. Overall the paint shows pretty well for its age but we'd never call a 27-year-old vehicle new by any stretch of the imagination. Black cars are notorious for showing little imperfections like scratches in the clear coat and small stone chips, but aside from some typical little blemishes of the sort, the truck looks great. The bodywork is in the same condition barring a few little door dings and things of that nature. With a set of 5 new beefy 31" Falken Wildpeaks the truck really does look the part, and since it's still on the stock suspension you're not sacrificing ride quality.
For being on the smaller side of SUV's by today's standards the Hilux is quite roomy and well laid out on the interior. These aren't as option-laden as the big brother 80 series but don't think Toyota skimped out on these. Even the little details like pop-out cupholders and a factory-optioned air purifier found their way into the cab. The real draw with these is the power rear window which you never realize just how great it is until you get spoiled by having one. Plus when you open up the power sunroof and all 4 windows it's about as close to a convertible SUV without turning into a dreadful Nissan Rogue vert. The interior itself has been kept pretty much all stock since there's no real reason to mess with a good thing. It does have an aftermarket wood grain wheel which jazzes things up a bit and matches all the chrome body accents. The head unit has also been replaced though it still only has limited use since the Japanese frequencies don't overlap much here. The power antenna is seized though it can luckily be replaced with the same one used on the 4Runner. With everyone streaming music these days instead of using the radio it likely isn't worth worrying about. There are two other bits to note, the power windows and tach are also inoperable. Luckily being an auto the tach doesn't have much impact and you can still manually adjust the mirrors since it's not something you're messing with every time you hop in. You do still have your other power bits like the one-touch driver's window and power locks which you'll find yourself using far more often. The climate control system is rather straightforward and will have your back for the incoming spring weather. Both the heat and A/C are working for when you're not taking advantage of cruising around with the windows down. It even has the original oversized factory rain guards so you can keep some fresh air coming in no matter what the weather's like. The seats are in great shape and are particularly comfortable. There is the slightest hint of some wear along the seam of the driver's side from getting in and out, but that's really about the only issue we noticed and even that is a bit of a stretch. The two-tone blue pattern adds a nice touch without being over the top like a lot of the prints in the '90s were. The back seats are a 50/50 split-folding set up so you can double the cargo capacity when you need it.
The driveline is nearly bulletproof with the 3.0L 1KZ-TE stealing the show. These torquey four-bangers impress everyone with their toughness and reliability. The automatic transmission is linked to a selective transfer case, that can be used in 2WD or 4WD depending on driver preference. Acceleration is right impressive for an SUV on 31's. The 3.0L 1KZ-TE turbodiesel has been revered over the years for its reliability and massive torque profile. The automatic transmission is a fairly simple unit and is mated to a selective transfer case for when the going gets tough. With 143K verified miles the Hilux is quick to start up thanks to two new batteries. We also went ahead and replaced the air filter as well which also helps it breathe a bit easier. The trans is rather quick to shift and doesn't feel like it's ever hunting for the right gear which is partly thanks to the ECU that we had rebuilt. Old Toyota's are notorious for having leaking capacitors that can mess up contact points, so luckily that won't be something that you have to worry about anymore. The brakes feel strong and the suspension is happy to handle the daily grind if you're planning to overland this baby, and the long-wheelbase helps settle it down at highway speeds. The Hilux is a safe bet for those who are looking for a rugged and reliable truck to match their active lifestyles, even if that's just a trip to Lowes and Costco. The overengineered powertrain, aggressive aesthetic, and low cost of ownership make this an instant Japanese Classic.
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB complaint first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.