1997 Hilux Surf KZN185
Available for: $16,995
Tough, safe, stylish, and reliable this 1997 Hilux Surf is a world-class SUV. Loved for its ease of service and highly collectible this N185 is powered by one of Toyota's best-designed turbodiesel engines of all time! Finished in a Black over Gray two-tone (204), the paint is in good shape aside from some light dings, chips, scuffs, and notable fade of the factory clearcoat on the hood. Set off by OEM rainguards, rear tail light garnish, a set of beautifully refined OEM wheels shod with 31" rolling stock, and a subtle color-matched factory spoiler, this rig looks every bit as good as it drives. Boasting a mere 162k verified and documented miles, this Toyota is fresh off a recent stateside service, and is turn-key and ready to roll. Rocking a few upgrades, this durable truck would make for a killer family hauler, weekend adventure mobile, or daily driver. Crafted to stand the test of time, this cool and capable Japanese Classic is a tasty example of a timeless JDM 4x4, and it won't last long!
The cockpit layout is spacious and simple, which we really like. For this third generation of the platform, a healthy heap of safety options was included with the 1996 redesign. Dual front SRS airbags and standard ABS brakes are just two examples of this. The view of the road ahead is clear and commanding and the driver manages to see well above traffic. There are some dash cracks of note, however, a custom cover does a decent job of obscuring them. To find the optimal driving position the driver benefits from a tilt-adjustable steering column and adjustable lumbar support. Power windows, door locks, and electric mirrors all work in typical Toyota fashion, aside from the side mirrors' power folding feature. The highlight of the cabin has to be the faux leather fitted seat covers. They bring an upscale feel to the cabin and protect the cloth below. The driver's door card has an inch-and-a-half long crack that is tough to see, but the remaining door cards, headliner, and carpet lack any other major damage and have withstood the past 25 years without sustaining major abuse. A simple-to-use automatic climate control system is within arms reach and blasts piping hot heat and cold A/C on demand. Sadly the XTRONS head unit has given up the ghost, but a US replacement is likely in the cards for the next owner as well. Even keyless entry works, and as a whole, it's clear this truck was cared for overseas.
This Surf is more akin to a real truck than a soft-roading tall sedans we call sport utilities these days. Just like the current 4Runner, this vehicle is built on a body-on-frame platform, which is inherently durable and can take loads of abuse. The engine is an absolute gem as well, and the 1KZ-TE is fresh off an oil and filter service. Two new 12v batteries were installed in our shop and the 3.0L jolts to life with a quick twist of the key and runs seamlessly thanks to all new serpentine belts. A new fuel filter ensures only clean diesel makes its way through the injectors and the four-banger idles like a champ and pulls hard to redline. While the powerplant is known to be bulletproof, it's normal at this age to need some basic maintenance and repair. The rear main seal and valve cover gasket were leaking when we initially inspected the vehicle, so one of our trained techs has replaced both. This should add some peace of mind for those looking to hit the road immediately. We didn't stop there, as we were able to give the suspension, steering, and brakes a refresh, too. New trailing arm bushings were installed and a new front right inner and outer tie rod were replaced. The front brakes were also changed out for new units. Thanks to the new 31" rubber mounted and balanced at all four corners, this truck accelerates, brakes, and handles about as well as a Surf can. The new rubber has even reduced the road noise a touch and will last for tens of thousands of miles to come. Reliable, eager, and ready to head on a fun road trip, this Hilux is the real deal!
*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.