1997 Hilux Surf 2.7L
The late 1990s was a great time to buy a Toyota. The brand was building reliable, well-designed, and aesthetically pleasing vehicles like this 1997 Hilux Surf. Just like the American version, this one is powered by the same efficient 2.7L engine and 4WD system. This makes servicing a snap, as parts are readily available stateside. Fresh off a recent service, this five-seat SUV is turn key ready and offered with 159k verified and documented miles. This Surf is particularly special, with a fresh coat of Zanzibar Sand Metallic paint to match the factory refinished alloys and fifth-gen TRD style decal set. Aside from some light imperfections the body and paint are in good shape, and this Surf turns more heads than vehicles twice its price. Practical, sporty, and capable for year-round use, this Hilux Surf is a bonafide Japanese Classic.
The interior is spacious, simple, safe, and just as much of a looker as the exterior thanks to the optional dark charcoal upholstery with optional faux carbon trim. The dash is in good shape overall aside from some light distortion by the glovebox and two small chips by the gauge surround. Dual SRS airbags are standard and add some peace of mind when behind the wheel. The center stack is logically laid out, with automatic climate control mounted in the center. The A/C blows cold and if you prefer natural ventilation the power side and rear windows can be unfurled. The driver also benefits from electric locks, adjustable lumbar support, and a tilt steering column to find the ideal driving position. The driver seat has a minor hole and some light bolster wear but the upholstery is in otherwise good shape. The seats are comfortable on long trips and the second row can be folded flat, perfect for any adventurous buyer looking to take this rig on camping trips. The rear bench also is 4-way reclinable, unlike American versions of this SUV. The headliner and door cards are in good shape as are the carpets which have been well protected by the OEM floor mats. That's not to say the cabin is perfect as the power side mirrors don't operate any longer and the sunroof and field monitor are inoperable. Still, at 25 years old it's hard to complain about the cabin overall and we believe it was cared for overseas. It even has the OEM owners manuals still sitting in the glovebox.
For those curious about maintenance the Surf, fortunately, shares most of its bones with the 4Runner so parts are readily available and can be had on the cheap! The 2.7L 3RZ-FE is a wonderful engine, and this one is fresh off an oil and filter service. It starts up promptly thanks to a new 12v battery and idles with confidence. To keep the four-cylinder topped up on oil we replaced the worn-out old valve cover gasket with a new one. One of our trained techs also installed some new spark plugs, and a distributor cap and rotor. Power is fed through a smooth shifting automatic transmission and sent through a selective transfer case to two or four wheels. Acceleration isn't half bad for a naturally aspirated four-banger and getting up to safe highway merging speeds is stress-free. If you happen to live in a snowy climate, the 4WD can be engaged with a press of a button from inside the cabin. If mired in the muck, a low range setting can be utilized for 4WD, as well. The suspension is predictable and handles large and small road imperfections with confidence. Off roaders rejoice as there is plenty of ground clearance if you want to hit up a wooded trail or traverse some rocky terrain. The brakes feel confident and we have replaced the front pads, rotors, and calipers. The left rear drum and shoes were replaced, too! The power steering is nicely weighted and on point for a truck. The factory split spoke alloys are all wrapped in new Falken 31" rubber at all four corners. The tires look mean but more importantly are ready to venture thousands of miles on any road or trail 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.