1996 Hilux Surf SSR-G
When you look at the current crop of soft-roading SUVs for sale, the 4Runner is decidedly different. It's because it traces its DNA back to models like this 1996 Hilux Surf. When the other manufacturers switched to car-based platforms, Toyota simply refused. This body on frame five-seater is finished in a subtle and stately Desert Dune Metallic (1A5). The OEM rainguards, privacy tint, and refinished factory alloys absolutely set this thing off and complement the already handsome styling. Aside from some light dings, chips, and scuffs associated with normal use, the body is in good nick and shows nicely. Full of power equipment, this safe and reliable four-wheel driver is offered with only 75k verified and documented miles. Fresh off a recent service, this rugged yet refined JDM rig would make for a decent daily driver or a fun weekend trail cruiser. No matter how its next chapter plays out, this SSR-G is a killer value and a certified Japanese Classic.
The cabin is roomy and well equipped. The two most desirable electric options on this one include the retractable sunroof and power reverse mirror that unfolds from the rear spoiler for better rear visibility when parking. Don't get us wrong, there are plenty of standard amenities, too. Power folding mirrors, windows, and electric locks all work as advertised which makes daily use enjoyable. The view of the road is clear and unobstructed, and the center stack includes the OEM audio and factory climate control systems. Heat and A/C are available for those who intend year-round use, and the audio quality is just fine for those who want to use this Surf for their daily commute. By the map lights, a trick factory field monitor keeps an eye on the outside conditions and direction of travel. The gray seats are in good shape overall and lack any major rips or tears. There is some light staining to note, but the upholstery is in better shape than most US trucks, no doubt. The durable material is tough if you have kids or furry friends, or if you might be planning to use this N185 for work. For more adventurous types, the middle row can be folded flat and an air mattress can be set up. The headliner, door cards, and carpets have resisted major abuse over the years. The hatch rises to around six feet and the rear glass power retracts for better cabin ventilation. That is not to say everything is perfect, as there is a small cut in the dash, and the OEM radio screen works intermittently, also note that the power antenna also no longer retracts. Still, at 25 years old, it's obvious this car was cared for in a prior life overseas!
The convenient thing about ownership is that this model is nearly identical to our stateside versions. There are some options that the JDM models got that we weren't allowed to have here stateside, such as a factory center locker. This singular addition alone delivers so much more capability on loose surfaces, and for those taking a drive on the beach, it's a must! The 3.4L V6 is fresh off an oil and filter service and starts up promptly thanks to a new 12v battery. The 5VZ-FE breathes more freely thanks to a new engine air filter and a new set of spark plugs to make sure the fuel combusts cleanly. While it was up on one of our lifts for its five new Falken all-terrain tires, one of our trained technicians replaced the old valve cover gaskets with new ones, and the 3400 stays topped up on oil as it should be! The automatic gearbox shifts seamlessly and the selective transfer case allows for the driver to determine if they'd like the efficiency of 2WD or if 4WD is best. Around town, or on the highway, the Hilux feels predictable and stable. The suspension offers plenty of ground clearance and the brakes handily slow this midsize truck down to manageable speeds. The power steering is light and on point and the new rubber will deliver tens of thousands of miles of all-season use to come.
*California Residents: In order to register a Gray Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB compliant 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.