1997 Hilux Surf SSR-G 3.0TD
In the grand scheme of things, Toyota's tremendous slate of SUVs gets lost in the conversation thanks to the brand's prolific sports car offerings like the Supra and JZX100. It's a shame because the big, beefy stuff is every bit as good as anything they have ever designed. Models like this 1997 Hilux Surf are ideal for families, adventurers, and those needing year-round, reliable transportation. Finished in a one-off Stellar Blue (8L7) over Graphite Gray, this truck is set off by a set of OEM rainguards, RV Inno roof rack mounts, refinished Land Cruiser alloys, and an OEM optional rear spoiler. Aside from some light dings and chips associated with normal use, the paint is in good nick overall, and this rig presents well. The eye-catching styling is complimented by a spacious and nicely equipped cabin with plenty of room for five. Fresh off a recent service, this turbo diesel five-seater is available for purchase with a mere 126k verified and documented miles. Collectible, efficient, powerful, practical, and unique, this durable Japanese Classic can do it all!
The cabin is in good overall shape and was cared for in a prior life. The view of the road ahead is clear, and the tall ride height allows for a commanding view over traffic. The dashboard itself lacks any cracking or distortion and the skinny A-pillars are easy to see around. A few optional factory upgrades like the power retractable sunroof, OEM field monitor, and an electric rearview mirror that unfurls from the rear spoiler were spec'd from the factory, and work like a charm. They complement the adjustable steering column, power windows, rear glass, and locks. These all work in typical Toyota fashion, too. The seats are upholstered in a blue corduroy-style material and they lack any major rips, stains, or tears while the driver even receives a manually adjustable lumbar support for supreme comfort on longer drives. The front occupants also benefit from standard, dash-mounted dual SRS airbags. Rear passengers don't miss out on much with plenty of leg and headroom. The rear bench is even 4-way reclinable and can be folded away to create a flat loading floor. The carpets have been protected by the OEM floor liners while the door cards and headliner have escaped the past 25 years without sustaining any major damage. About the only thing we can recommend is to swap in a USDM headunit, and we also wanted to note the power fold function on the driver's side mirror no longer works. That's a bit of nitpicking, yes, but we still thought those two small items would need a mention. On the positive side, the owner's manuals and maintenance booklets are sitting in the glove box and included in the sale for the American buyer!
The mechanicals are largely shared with US 4Runners so service and parts are a snap! Unlike our stateside versions, the legendary 1KZ-TE is equipped in the example, and what an impressive engine it is! The 3.0L is fresh off an oil and filter service and starts up with the twist of the key. One of our trained techs has installed two new 12v batteries to keep the four-banger cranking over even through the dead of winter. The 3.0L idles with confidence and is connected to a slick-shifting automatic. Power is fed to two or four wheels depending on the driver's preference, and the selective transfer case even has additional settings for Low 4WD and High 4WD to work with the locking center differential. While it was up on our lift, we installed a new output shaft seal and pinion seal to keep the 4WD system working tip-top. Acceleration isn't half bad for a midsize SUV, and the N185 cruises confidently at higher interstate speeds. The suspension can handle the rigors of daily use and feels predictable overall. The brakes are confident while the power steering is light and on point. The alloys have been wrapped in new Falken all-terrain rubber at all four corners. We even did the spare, too. These meaty units look tough but most importantly will deliver tens of thousands of miles of year-round grip when called upon!
*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.