1996 Hilux Surf RZN185
If you're looking for a unique SUV that is known for a low cost of ownership, but is high on style, this is the ticket. It doesn't hurt that it's fairly capable offroad, too, as this 1996 Hilux Surf is. Redone in a Cavalry Blue over Silver two-tone, and set off by a set of six-spoke bronze alloys and a rare OEM spare tire cover, this SSR-X model turns a few more heads than your run-of-the-mill 4Runner. Offered with a mere 72k verified and documented miles, this recently serviced JDM import is turn-key ready to rock! If you want world-class build quality without sacrificing looks, safety, or practicality this one will be just perfect.
The cabin is in above average shape overall, and it's obvious it was cared for in a prior life. There were several massive upgrades when the car was restyled for this generation with improvements made to the safety systems and power interior amenities. Dual SRS front airbags are now standard although we hope you'll never need to use them. The dash is in good shape and lacks any cracking or distortion that happens to plague the prior model. The view of the road ahead is clear and commanding as this tall truck rides above traffic. These sport utilities are hardly spartan, and this one has an electric retractable sunroof, power windows, locks, and mirrors. These all work as advertised and make daily use much more convenient. The seats are trimmed in a durable bluish-gray cloth. They lack and major rips or tears and are comfortable over long drives. The driver even has a lubar adjustment for ultimate comfort. A field monitor sits adjacent to the map lights and displays temperature, barometric pressure, and direction of travel. The automatic climate control is simple to use and the a/c blasts cold air through the cabin. The rear hatch can also be rolled down to add a bit of a breeze. Even the owner's manuals are still sitting in the glove box, which just adds to the originality of this classic SUV! That's not to say the cabin is perfect as the dated aftermarket headunit seems to have given up the ghost and will require replacement. On the positive side, the door cards and carpet have been well cared for and resisted major damage over the years. Still, at 25 years of age, this truck has aged gracefully and would be a great option to daily drive.
Unlike the American models, the Japanese were given a few more choices for engines and trim levels. The heart of this beast is the 2.7L 3RZ-FE four-cylinder. Over-built, this gasoline engine is designed with a forged crank, and was sold here in the States, so parts are inexpensive and readily available. It's fresh off an oil and filter service and starts up quickly thanks to a new 12v battery that should last for years to come. The 2693cc mill benefits from a new engine air filter so it can breathe a bit easier and return some decent MPG. Mated to an automatic gearbox, power is sent to all four wheels or two, depending on driver preference. Shifts occur seamlessly and the Hilux has the ability to be driven in 4WD-Low if you get stuck in the muck. It is comparable to the gasoline V6 in terms of acceleration which you wouldn't expect. It never feels like you're needing more power despite being down two cylinders on the 3.4L! The suspension feels solid and is predictable, too. It can handle the rigors of daily abuse and the long-wheelbase is great to have when undertaking sustained highway use. The brakes feel confident and the power steering is light and buttery smooth. The bronze six-spoke alloys are all wrapped in New Falken all-terrain rubber that will last for tens of thousands of miles to come and match the tough exterior aesthetic.
*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