1995 Toyota Hilux Surf
Available for: $13,995
Stock Number: 4405
Toyota's formidable stable of early 90's SUVs were known for their prolific durability and ruggedness. It doesn't matter what the task is, the bulletproof turbo-diesel paired with a selectable 4WD system can handle it. None of these are hollow claims made by Toyota either, these tried and true workhorses are known the world over for their indestructibility. Just look at the value these have held stateside, let alone with the proper powerplant we were never privy to; until now. Our latest Dark Blue Pearl (8E3) exemplifies why people still rave about these today. Its size is great, comfortable for 4 adults yet compact enough to parallel park downtown. It's metallic blue hue really pops in the sunshine and has held up well over the years. Of course, there are some small blemishes, like some scratching to the clear coat and stone chips but nothing of real concern. The body has been kept up with similarly well, and too has a few dents and dings; most notably that one on the front bumper. The new Falken 12.5" x 33" off-road rubber ramps up the looks while actually offering performance benefits at the same time.
The interior, while spartan in its design, is driver-focused and utilitarian. The factory seats are not only comfortable but also provide plenty of support for day to day use. The fitted leather seat covers to class things up a bit and offers an additional layer of protection on the stock seats. Due to the style of these covers, they're a task to get on so we have not removed to them inspect underneath. The seats themselves feel as if there are no real concerns with bolster degradation or issues of that nature. The light gray carpeting does have some staining since these were purpose-built after all, but it has been spared of any rips or tears. All the controls are readily at hand, and all the gauges and switchgear work properly. While simple in design Toyota didn't leave you high and dry on amenities; cup holders, power locks, 5 power windows, power mirrors, and even the A/C all work as they should. One thing to note that the photos didn't really capture is the top of the dash, above the gauge cluster. It does have several cracks which are a relatively common issue with these. Lucky the positioning of it makes it rather hard to see from inside the cabin.
The North American market never received the legendary 1KZ-TE 3.0L diesel version on the Hilux Surf. While that was a real downside to the US models, the best power train option can finally be yours without having to deal with all the headaches associated with a swap. Known for its extreme durability and low cost of ownership, it is paired with selectable 4WD and a convenient automatic transmission. While there was a manual option most of us are simply looking for something to hop in and enjoy, not necessarily conquer the Amazon. With only 80K verified miles you know this hearty diesel has only just started to get warmed up. It quickly turns over and the idle is as smooth as a huge four-cylinder can be. Surprisingly the diesel clatter isn't as invasive in the cabin as most traditional ones are. Acceleration is brisk throughout the mid-range, and shifts are smooth though with little urgency. The automatics do have a power holding function to keep you in the powerband longer which is nice when you need to get around in traffic. The suspension does great at sorting out all the bumps, and the steering is really quite light and easy to articulate despite the size of the tires. There is a bit of added road noise from the Falkens, but anyone whos been around aggressive tires already knows to expect that. The brakes also feel strong, and the midsize SUV comes to a stop without issue. One capable and reliable SUV all wrapped in a timeless design. Its over-engineered diesel drivetrain, sterling reputation for a low cost of ownership, and curb appeal make it a hit as a daily driver or the proper JDM off-road legend we all know and love.
*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.