1997 KZN185 Hilux Surf
If you ever doubted the Hilux Surf, scan our roadways for the same vintage 4Runner and you'll be able to see these rigs are almost unkillable. This 1997 KZN185 is primed to grace the tarmac for another twenty-five years, with its nearly bulletproof diesel engine and tough body on frame construction. It also looks handsome, with its Black (204) over Gray two-tone and OEM spoiler, OEM rainguards, Weds Keeler alloys, factory spare tire swingarm, color-matched brushguard, and aggressive rear spoiler. Aside from a front bumper replaced in Japan and a few light dings, chips, and scrapes the body is in good shape and this truck is fresh off a recent service. Boasting a scant 108k verified and document miles on the clock, this capable 4x4 is barely broken in. Wonderful as a year-round daily driver, practical family hauler, or as a cool weekend cruiser ready for the campsite, this Japanese Classic has it all. Collectible, efficient, and reliable, it's not a surprise this is our best-selling platform!
The cabin is spacious, nicely optioned, and includes decent ergonomics. The condition is above average, as the soft-touch surfaces and gray textured upholstery lack the typical wear we see in these 25-year-old Surfs. Dual SRS airbags are standard for those riding up front, and the dashboard lacks any cracking or fading. The driver benefits from a tilt-adjustable steering wheel and adjustable lumbar support to find the ideal driving position. Power windows, electric locks, and power-folding mirrors all work as advertised and make daily use more enjoyable. The center stack includes controls for the automatic climate system which can cycle cold A/C and piping hot heat through the cabin when called upon. If you prefer more natural ventilation, the rear window rescinds into the tailgate and a large panoramic moonroof unfurls for a view of the skies above. Directly below the climate system is an Iviza touchscreen head unit. The audio sounds great and modernizes the look of the cabin. The headliner, door cards, and carpets are in good nick and were cared for in a prior life. The charcoal cloth seats also lack any major rips, stains, or tears, and are fairly durable. The rear bench can 4-way recline and tumbles forward to create a flat loading surface. Other neat features include an OEM field monitor which displays the outside conditions to the driver and a power rear view backup mirror that unfurls from the spoiler to provide a view of the back bumper. All in all the condition is quite impressive and is in better shape than most examples we see!
Like our domestic models, parts and upgrades are readily available for this chassis. They are cheap, too, to boot! The 1KZ-TE under the hood is a legendary engine and is fresh off a recent oil and filter service, and churns to life care of two new 12v batteries we installed in the shop. It sounds fantastic thanks to a free-flowing Suxon exhaust, and the 3.0L breathes better thanks to a new engine air filter. While we had the hood popped a new fuel filter was replaced and the 1K feels strong as an ox pulling to redline. The four-banger maximizes torque through its stout automatic gearbox. Geared perfectly for the highway, this truck is also fun blasting from stoplight to stoplight, with its gobs of down-low torque. The driver can select between two and four-wheel drive on the fly and if the going gets tough, a low range and center locker can be engaged. These Surfs perform above average on sandy beaches and snowy tarmac, and new tires at all four corners work to maximize grip. The ABS brakes are confident reeling this five-seater in from higher speeds and the power steering is light and direct. The ride feels predictable trundling over small and large potholes alike and the platform seems nicely sorted for a truck. New upper trailing arms were replaced by one of our trained techs and we also replaced the rear pinion seal. Trustworthy and determined these Hilux SUVs are ideal daily drivers in all sorts of climates and outperform the US gassers that roam our shores by a long shot!
*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.