1996 Toyota KZN185 Hilux Surf


The more KZN185 models we import the more we love the platform. This trusty five-seater is the perfect size. It provides plenty of interior space, off-road capability, and is renowned for its low cost of ownership, overall efficiency, and potent performance. This 1996 SSR-G is an impressive truck, and offered with a mere 128k verified and documented miles on the chassis. The exterior is in excellent condition showing only minor imperfections like a few dings and scuffs and finished in Stellar Blue (8L7). Notable repairs include a new OEM front right fender and door. Recently serviced this turbodiesel would make for a wonderful daily driver or weekend crawler. The well-optioned interior is spacious and crammed full power amenities and safety features. For those who value superior build quality, reliability, on-road civility, and off-road performance this Hilux Surf would be the ideal Japanese Classic!

The cabin design is a massive upgrade over the N130 platform. Improvements were made to the passive safety features and for the first time in the model history, dual SRS airbags up front became standard. More power amenities were available than before and this one includes power-folding mirrors, electric locks, and power windows. These all work as advertised and our example also has a power-retractable sunroof. By the sunroof controls above the rearview mirror, you'll find the optional field monitor, displaying barometric pressure, temperature, and direction of travel. It is illuminated properly and works like a charm. If sunroof and windows aren't enough ventilation the rear window also powers down into the tailgate, providing an almost convertible like atmosphere. The dash is in good shape and logically laid out. The automatic climate control system is simple to use and blows cold A/C through the cockpit. The seats are trimmed in a durable gray cloth and lack any major rips, stains, or tears, and are easily configurable for long cruises. The driver even gets additional lumbar support and a tilt steering column so that they can find the perfect driving position. The headliner, door cards, and carpet have held up well over the years and look good for a vehicle of this age.  On the downside, the OEM audio currently doesn't work but that's a simple enough fix.

The drivetrain and underpinnings are why these rigs are so prized. The body on frame platform is sturdy and can handle some abuse, unlike the current crop of car-based crossovers. The engine in this one is legendary, the 1KZ-TE. This 3.0L turbo diesel is fresh off an oil and filter service and starts up promptly thanks to two new 12v batteries. The radiator has been replaced with a new one to keep engine temps in check. The four-banger idles with confidence and is connected to a selective 4WD transfer case. To save some fuel and increase acceleration the driver can choose 2wd but when the going gets tough 4WD is there for support. A massive upgrade was the standard center locking differential the JDM model received. If you get into a pickle it's reassuring to know it can be engaged with the low gear set. The automatic gearbox shifts seamlessly and is geared just fine for sustained highway cruises. The same can be said about the TEMS adjustable factory suspension. It has firm and soft settings and can comfortably handle the rigors of daily use. We have replaced the front left axle to shore everything up and the truck drives nicely now. The brakes are confident and the power steering is weighted lightly making parking a touch better. Speaking of which, our favorite feature is actually the power rear backup mirror which pops down for the tailgate so that you can see your rear bumper when finding the tight confines of a parking spot. The OEM alloys are wrapped in new all-terrain Falkens at all corners that will deliver premium year-round traction and last for tens of thousands of miles 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 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.

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