1996 Hilux Surf KZN185
We at Japanese Classics have fallen in love with the 3rd generation Hilux Surf. It's an easy one to love, providing a refined on-road experience, low cost of ownership, and considerable off-road capabilities. This 1996 diesel example is finished in a subtle, yet classic, Desert Dune Metallic (1A5). The body is in good shape aside from some minor dings, chips, and scuffs associated with normal use. Accented by a rare factory polished tailgate step bar, factory rainguards, chrome taillight trim, and three-spoke OEM alloys, this Surf does more than turn a few heads. Offered with a mere 123k verified and documented miles, this well-equipped and rugged truck is fresh off a recent service and turn-key ready to roll. For the adventurous SUV enthusiast who values build quality, toughness, and on-road civility, this KZN185 is the perfect option.
The cabin is spacious, well cared for, and even includes some tasty power accessories. The view of the road ahead is clear and commanding and the driver can monitor the direction of travel, temperature, and barometric pressure thanks to a roof-mounted OEM field monitor. The dash is in good shape and lacks any cracking or discoloration which did happen to plague the previous N130 platform Surfs. Dual SRS airbags are standard in this model, which is a first for the Hilux. They add a level of reassurance that is not typically found in vehicles of this era. Aside from a Pioneer head unit, which delivers fantastic sound, the interior is just as it left Toyota. Bluish-Gray corduroy seats are supportive and in good shape overall. They lack any major rips, stains, or tears, and the driver seat conveniently includes adjustable lumbar support. Additionally, you'll find a tilt wheel and controls for the functional power windows, locks, and mirrors are at hand for whoever is behind the wheel. Daily use is convenient thanks to cold A/C and a simple to use automatic climate control system. If you prefer natural ventilation, a power sunroof can be electrically tilted or retracted depending on your preference. Rarely found, the OEM sunroof visor with integrated adjustable wind foil sits atop it, and reduces the buffeting sound and turbulence associated with glass roofs. The other benefit is that the interior feels noticeably larger thanks to the generous amount of natural light let into the cabin. Another trick up this KZN185's sleeve is the retractable rear glass. It makes an occasional 2x4 pickup at Lowes manageable and gives your pooch the ability to slobber on the car located directly behind you while at speed. For those who work or live in more crowded environments, the optional power rear backup mirror can be unfurled from the rear spoiler to view the parking situation directly behind the rear bumper. All of this was available in 1996! The carpets and headliner look decent, as do the door cards, and overall, it's really hard to complain about this 25-year-old rig's cockpit.
This body-on-frame design is leagues ahead of most of the JDM 4WD imports available on today's market. Aside from the safety features detailed above, the ride quality is as good as it gets. This revised platform is more rigid than the one it replaced, and the suspension redesign makes a world of difference. The way this truck handles large and small potholes is impressive. It feels unflappable and predictable, and even the steering provides decent feedback for an SUV. Acceleration is decent as well, and the 1KZ-TE is fresh off an oil and filter service. The massive four-banger starts up promptly thanks to two new 12v batteries installed in our shop. They should last for years to come and keep this Hilux turning over even on the coldest of winter days. The 3.0L idles well and thanks to a new engine air filter breaths a bit easier. The standard selective transfer case gives the driver the option to select 2WD or 4WD depending on their preference and road conditions. Unlike stateside models produced at this time, this example even includes a locking center differential. While helpful on the beach or down a muddy trail it's likely most owners will only put these rigs on pavement and we totally understand. Still, it's nice to know that the locker is equipped, and this truck has the stones to get you through the toughest of obstacles. The automatic gearbox is a gem and shifts smoothly without any hesitation or delay. The front brake pads and rotors have been changed for a new set and this truck stops quickly when asked. The polarizing three-spoke alloys are all wrapped in new Falken all-terrain tires. They look mean, and will provide tens of thousands of miles of year-round grip for the next owner! We even replaced the spare.
*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.