1997 Hilux Surf
Available for: $19,995
The N180 platform was a massive sales success stateside, but we never got all the special goodies and options that buyers did over in the land of the rising sun. This 1997 Hilux Surf is a cut above those lowly American 4Runners, with its powerful and efficient turbo diesel powerplant and beefy factory center locking differential. Fresh off a recent service, this nearly bulletproof truck is offered with a mere 143k verified and documented miles. Set off by two front EGR rainguards, a stylish FRP front lip, factory rear spoiler, privacy tint, and refinished factory alloys, this five-seat rig is a true head-turner, especially in Toyota's desirable "Limited" trim. Aside from a few light dings, chips, and scratches associated with normal use, the body and Natural White (056) paint are in good nick and the cabin is even better. Crammed with electric equipment and some tasty options not offered domestically, it's hard not to fall in love with this Toyota. Reliable, practical, and a hoot to drive spiritedly, this capable steed would make for a killer daily driver, weekend cruiser, or winter family hauler. Off the beaten path, and over paved tarmac, this unique Japanese Classic is as cool as the other side of the pillow!
Toyota made massive changes to the cabin compared to the N130 cars. Larger, safer, and filled with more equipment, the interior is a swell place to be. The view of the road ahead is clear and commanding and the dash lacks any cracking or fading. For added peace of mind, dual SRS airbags were made standard. To get comfortable behind the wheel, the driver benefits from a tilt-adjustable steering column and adjustable lumbar support. To make daily driving more enjoyable, power windows and locks are standard and work like a charm. Automatic climate control will pump in all the heat or A/C you desire, but if you prefer more natural ventilation you can unfurl the electric sunroof and retractable rear glass for a slight breeze. The seats are trimmed in a dark charcoal cloth that is soft to the touch. It lacks any major rips, stains, or tears, and is mirrored in the door cards. Complementing the upholstery are some factory faux carbon dash accents. Save for some light scuffs on the material, there's not much to turn your nose up at. The carpets are in fair shape, and the headliner and aforementioned door cards haven't taken any major abuse over the years. Even the OEM security shade made the trip from Japan, which is an often discarded accessory. That's not to say the cabin is perfect, as we did want to note the stereo and electric side mirrors are inoperable. Still, at 25 years of age, it's remarkable how well this truck has held up and it was obviously cared for in a prior life.
These body-on-frame trucks love to take a licking and keep on ticking. The formula was elementary for Toyota, which included simple and sturdy mechanical components. Fresh off an oil and filter service, the 1KZ-TE churns to life care of a newly installed 12v battery. It idles with confidence thanks to a new fuel filter, engine air filter, and a new crossover tube has replaced the weary old cracked one. While we were at it, new serpentine belts were installed to keep all the electronics properly powered and we replaced the A/C compressor. The 3.0L is connected to a smooth-shifting automatic gearbox that does a wonderful job of maximizing the turbodiesel's broad torque curve. For the best fuel economy and performance, the driver can utilize 2WD, but when the going gets tough, this Surf is equipped to handle it. A selective transfer case comes in handy for high and low-range 4WD, and a center locker can be engaged to get through the worst of the worst. Acceleration is better than pretty much any other SUV we offer, and these Hiluxes are great on the highway, even at sustained speeds. That's largely due to the long wheelbase and redesigned multilink rear suspension on these third-generation chassis. Road imperfections are sorted through with ease and thanks to the new front shocks and front sway bar links, and this KZN185 feels predictable and stable overall. The power steering is light, yet on point, and the ABS brakes are confident when called upon to reel this midsize SUV down from higher speeds. New 31" tires at all four corners will last for tens of thousands of miles to come and provide all the wet weather grip you could ever need! We even replaced the spare, too.
*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.