1997 Hilux Surf 3.0TD Intercooled
Available for: $21,495
Stateside enthusiasts know the woes of shopping for a used SUV better than anyone at this point. Frames have braved two decades' worth of winters, interiors have been torn apart on family road trips, and their anemic drivetrains have typically lost a few ponies over the years. As an undisputed cure-all for these ailments, our KZN185 Hilux Surfs are a whole lot of truck for the buck, and this turbo diesel 1997 is as good of an example as any. This mean-looking truck sports lifted suspension and beefy rubber at all four corners to convey are more modern aesthetic. Finished in Desert Dune Metallic (1A5), the timeless body lines have held up quite well over the years, and are accented by a factory rear spoiler, facelift front bumper, OEM rainguards, refinished aftermarket alloys on meaty 35" Toyos, and optional factory spare swingarm for good measure. Showing no serious defects on the exterior except some light chipping on the chrome bumpers and minor paint fade, this 136k verified/documented mile SUV is just getting broken in. Freshly imported and serviced, and ready to roll, this 3rd generation Surf is an exceptionally cool Japanese Classic.
The cabin design of this 3rd gen is timeless, utilizing durable materials, accessible switchgear, and an appealing, bluish-grey color palette. The textured cloth upholstery is still soft to the touch and free of any major wear and tear. While the driver's bucket and carpet show some light staining, the rest of the materials have held up quite well from the headliner to the complementary cloth in the door cards. Dual SRS airbags are tucked away in the dash, and the driver can pivot the steering column to their liking if safety and comfort are a priority. The dash materials are in good shape, and the lower dash trim houses automatic climate control for a touch of modernity although the adjacent audio system seems to have given up the ghost. Cold A/C works as you'd expect, and a quick flick of the lever can engage hot heat should you choose to utilize this one as a winter warrior. For those looking to haul a few extra passengers, the rear bench reclines to optimize comfort, and it can also be stowed away forward should you prefer the additional cargo space. Power windows and power locks work as advertised, and a power moonroof can slide fore and aft to feed some extra ventilation into the cabin alongside the power rear glass. Aspiring overlanders and meteorologists will appreciate the functionality of the factory field monitor, and save for some imperfections on the steering wheel and rear plastics, and nonoperational side mirrors, there's not much to turn your nose up at with this interior.
We here at Japanese Classics can't find enough good things to say about the intercooled 1KZ-TE under the hood of this beast. It's a truly bulletproof powerplant that ticks all the right boxes, and they're surprisingly simple to maintain! Ours is fresh off a recent service one of our trained technicians and cranks over with haste, care of 2 new 12v batteries. For a bit of a tune-up, we've replaced the engine air filter, fuel filter, and performed a fresh oil and filter service. To add some peace of mind for the new owner, a new valve cover gasket was installed to keep the inline-four topped up on lubricant. The torquey turbodiesel delivers a hefty punch where it matters, and sailing up to highway speeds is an easy feat for this 3.0. The automatic transmission shifts smoothly, and a selectable transfercase can be called upon when you need to engage 4WD. If a beach trip or off-road excursion is in the cards, a center-locking differential is at the ready to propel you out of any sticky situations. The drivetrain underwent an extensive service while it was up on the lift. The front right inner and outer tie rods were replaced, and both front axles were replaced to ensure efficient power delivery when on the go. New struts were replaced on all four corners and the ride is butter smooth over even the harshest terrain. Both front and rear sway bar links were also replaced to further dial in the handling. The brakes have been fully refreshed, and new pads were installed up front alongside a new drum and shoes on the right rear for on-demand stopping power. The centerpiece of this truck is undoubtedly the 35" Toyo Open Country rubber. Freshly mounted and balanced, it's sure to deliver tens of thousands of reliable on and off-road grip 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 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.