1997 Hilux Surf Diesel
Available for: $16,995
The Hilux Surf deserves a spot on the Mount Rushmore of JDM SUVs. Its dogged reliability, power, performance, and handsome styling are all good reasons to consider the model. Best of all, our 1997 is fitted with one of Toyota's most bulletproof diesels, the 1KZ-TE, and is fresh off a recent service. Having clocked a mere 160k verified and documented miles, this Surf is barely broken in and turn-key ready to drive off the lot. Finished in the OEM Black (204) paint, this rig is set off by refinished OEM Land Cruiser wheels, a rare factory rear spoiler, privacy tint, and some aftermarket tail lamps. Aside from a few light dings, chips and scuffs, this truck is no worse for the wear, although we did want to note that the left fender was replaced at some point in Japan. Enthusiasts, families on the go, and adventurous types, all seem to love the KZN185 and we get it. Collectible, useful, and toting a low cost of ownership, this Japanese Classic 4x4 is an all-time great!
The cabin utilizes a simple design and incorporates a fair amount of electric equipment and safety options. Dash-mounted dual SRS airbags are standard for those who are safety conscious. There is a light bit of distortion by the right corner of the glovebox, but the dashboard is in good shape and lacks any cracking or UV fading. The driver benefits from a tilt-adjustable steering column, adjustable lumbar support, and an OEM field monitor to keep apprised of the outside conditions. Power windows, locks, mirrors, and power rear glass all work and make daily use more enjoyable. For reversing in the city a power under-mirror can unfurl from the rear spoiler to act as an analog backup camera. The seats and door cards are upholstered in a dark confetti cloth. They lack any major rips, stains, or tears and are made of a durable fabric. The middle row 4-way reclines and also tumbles forward to create a flat loading floor. The headliner and carpets are in good shape and an upgraded Eclipse head unit matches the cabin aesthetics and supplements the wonderful soundtrack emanating from underneath the hood. That's not to say the cabin is perfect as we wanted to note the driver-side mirror no longer power folds, and the sunroof is inoperable. Still, at 25 years old this interior is in good shape and even the factory owners' manuals are included in the sale!
The body-on-frame platform is the same as our 4Runner, so sourcing parts is as easy as it gets. Under the hood, the 1KZ-TE does wonders for performance and efficiency. The 3.0L is fresh off an oil and filter service, it starts up quickly care of a new 12v battery we replaced. A new engine air filter and fuel filter allow this four-banger to run seamlessly, while new serpentine belts keep the electronics properly powered. Power is fed through a stout automatic gearbox which shifts just like it should. The driver can select between two and four-wheel drive on the fly, and for rough road conditions, a low-range 4WD setting and locking center differential can be utilized. Acceleration is decent for a truck, and highway cruising is comfortable and efficient thanks to the turbodiesel engine. It slows down nicely too, as one of our trained techs has replaced the front rotors and pads on the ABS brakes. The power steering is light, yet on-point and the predictable suspension can easily handle the rigors of daily use and abuse. New sway bar bushings and a right front inner CV boot were taken care of right before the new 31" Toyo rubber was mounted and balanced at all four corners. Civil on the tarmac and a beast off-road, this dual-purpose Ute is perhaps the best midsize SUV to come out of Japan during this era!
*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.