1997 Hilux Surf SSR-X
Available for: $18,995
The modern lineup of Toyota SUVs is pretty decent these days. As always, the brand gets high marks for reliability and capability, but it's really the current lineup's aesthetics that impresses us the most. The color palette offered by the brand is top-tier, so we figured we'd create a modern take for a classic N180 Surf. This 1997 SSR-X is a stunner, finished in a fresh coat of Electric Lime (588), and is set off by a set of refinished OEM alloys, TRD style graphics, privacy tint, and stylish OEM spoiler. Save for a missing tire carrier and a few light imperfections along the exterior, there's really not much to criticize about this Surf's shockingly beautiful aesthetics. At only 111k verified and documented miles, this recently serviced truck is turn-key and ready to roll. As it's mechanically nearly identical to our US 4Runner, it offers easy-to-find parts and service options, and these platforms are universally loved for their low cost of ownership. It also happens to be highly practical, spacious, safe, and useful with its 4WD underpinnings and nicely equipped cabin. As an all-around SUV, it's hard to beat this special Surf, and for that reason, it is a bonafide Japanese Classic!
We really like the cabin on this particular Surf for plenty of reasons. First and foremost, it was cared for in a prior life. Secondly, it was well optioned and even comes with a few handy upgrades. The view of the road ahead is clear and commanding as the driver can see above traffic easily. The dashboard lacks any cracking or fading and houses standard dual front SRS airbags. The driver benefits from an adjustable steering column and adjustable lumbar support to assist in finding the ideal driving position. The controls for the power folding mirrors, power windows, and electric door locks are all close by, and work like a charm. The same can be said for the simple-to-use climate control system which delivers both ice-cold A/C and piping-hot heat on demand. Adjacent is the touchscreen OEM DVD and radio unit, which also functions in typical Toyota fashion. Mounted atop the front of the headliner is Toyota's Field Monitor which displays outside conditions, barometric pressure, and direction of travel if you happen to lose cell service. If you are traveling with a furry friend, the rear glass powers down to deliver a cool breeze when needed. The seats are in wonderful shape, as are the door cards. They lack any major rips, stains, or tears. The rear bench can be conveniently folded away, and also four-way reclinable for those needing to relax and take a load off. The carpets and headliner do have some light stains of note, however, that is a bit of nitpicking with a vehicle of this age. Rarely seen, we even have included an OEM rubberized boot protector in the cargo area!
Under the skin, this truck is nearly identical to our stateside 4Runners. This makes service and parts availability about as good as any model we offer at this point. The engine spec'd for this truck was the trusty 3RZ-FE, which is fresh off an oil and filter service. We installed a new 12v battery and air filter, and the 2.7L springs to life with the twist of the key. It idles with confidence and is linked to a smooth-shifting automatic transmission. Gear changes are smooth and the peppy four-banger sails up to highway speeds nearly as good as the 3.4L V6. The selective transfer case allows the driver to choose between 2WD, 4WD, and low-4WD at a moment's notice. The suspension is predictable and offers loads of ground clearance if you happen to need it. The standard ABS brakes have been refreshed with new brake pads and rotors up front and we've performed a brake fluid flush to ensure the pedal feel was perfect. The power steering is light and effortless to articulate, which makes parking a snap. To reduce stress even further, when in reverse the driver can press a button to unfurl a hidden under-mirror from the spoiler to see the back bumper even better. Lastly, we resurfaced the OEM wheels and wrapped them in new 31" Falken Rubitrek rubber. That way, the new owner can maintain all the grip they need on either tarmac or loose surfaces 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.