1996 Hilux Surf Turbodiesel
Available for: $18,495
If you take a gander at the current slate of SUVs for sale in the States, they seem to fall into two categories. Lumbering monstrosities and sedan-based crossovers are all there is to choose from, it seems, but this 1996 Hilux Surf is a wonderful third option. Built on a sturdy, body-on-frame platform and powered by one of the most durable turbodiesel powerplants ever produced by Toyota, this five-seater is ideal for daily duty, weekend escapes, and all the off-road escapades you could imagine. Finished in a Stellar Blue over Graphite Gray two-tone (8L7), this recently serviced rig is offered with a mere 97k verified and documented miles. Aside from a few small dings, chips, and scuffs associated with normal use, the paint is in fine shape and this truck is set off by a 2" lift, front EGR rainguards, privacy tint, and aftermarket refinished 16" alloys wrapped in 33" Falken rubber. Tough, collectible, practical, and a much better deal than those beat-up, high-mileage US 4Runners, it is hard to deny the value of this Japanese Classic.
The spacious cockpit includes a number or safety features and convenience items. This example was clearly cared for in Japan and is in good shape. The dashboard lacks any cracking, distortion or fading and houses standard dual SRS airbags. The center stack is logically laid out and features working A/C and piping hot heat and even an automatic setting. Directly below is a Sony radio upgrade that works like a charm, supplying tunes for all those along on the ride. The driver benefits from adjustable lumbar support and a tilt-adjustable steering wheel to find the optimal driving position. To make daily driving even more enjoyable power windows, door locks, and electric mirrors are on hand. They work in typical Toyota fashion and even the rear hatch glass powers down to supply a light breeze through the cabin. The upholstery is in above-average shape and lacks any major rips, stains, or tears. They are comfortable on long hauls and match the door cards which are in equally good shape. There are a few light carpet stains if we had to nitpick this ride, but other than that, it's really hard to complain about the overall condition.
The same frame is shared with our stateside N185s and parts and service is easy as pie on this chassis. The 1KZ-TE that powers this rig is fresh off an oil and filter service and starts up with a twist of the key thanks to 2 new 12v batteries we installed here in the shop. Once of our trained techs replaced the old valve cover gasket with a new one and installed new serpentine belts to keep the accessories properly powered. To ensure engine operation remains smooth, we replaced the worn-out engine air filter and fuel filter with new ones and the 3.0L feels fresh as a daisy. The 2982cc mill is linked to a slick-shifting four-speed automatic gearbox. For a midsize SUV, this truck is peppy and efficient. Sustained highway cruising is comfortable and this N185 gets it from stop light to stop light, with its gobs of low-end grunt. If you want to head out wheeling or take a beach trip the selective transfercase has a few tricks up its sleeve. Like USDM vehicles you have high and low-range 4WD but the JDM Surfs also have a center locker that can be engaged at a moment's notice. The suspension offers tons of ground clearance and feels predictable over rough pavement. The standard ABS brake feels confident and the power steering is light and power-assisted. The new 33" rubber suits the tough-guy aesthetic perfectly and will provide tens of thousands of miles of grip for years to come.
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey 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.