Stock Number: 4963
Trucks like this 1995 Hilux Surf are a dying breed. Real SUVs have diesel engines and 4×4 systems, underpinned by body-on-frame platforms hardly exist these days. Finished in a pretty Prussian Red Pearl (25T) this Hilux is a real standout. The Prussian red stands out without being over the top like some of the crazy custom colors we see on trucks. The paint shows well with only a few minor little blemishes in the clear though that’s to be expected. The body itself is in the same shape with generally few things to complain about, though that’s to be expected when you have 116K verified miles. Barring a few typical little door dings a stone chips there’s nothing to write home about. The only deviations from stock are the skid plate to protect the oil pan when you get off the beaten path and the more aggressive Bridgestone Berg CV928s. Wrapped in new 30″ Falken All-Terrain rubber the 16″ 5 spoke wheels look way more fitting than what Toyota originally used from the factory.
This Hilux has a spacious cabin, with a few surprising power amenities you might not expect from such a capable truck. Power accessories include mirrors, locks, and even a one-touch driver window. All of the basic powered pieces are functioning as they should, and the climate control system is rather straightforward and the A/C is working for the upcoming summer heat. Hands down the best bit is the power back glass which really opens up airflow when the windows are down. The real show stopper is the factory Recaro interior. The seats offer more aggressive bolstering to keep you in place plus they add a far more sporty tone to the interior. Normally with more aggressive bolstering, we expect to see some accelerated wear from climbing in and out, but due to how low the mileage is this one still looks nearly new. While we would never call a vehicle perfect, this one is definitely well above average for cars half its age. The wood grain dash is a nice touch that classes things up a bit. It’s also sporting a form-fitted dash mat since the factory dash does have some cracks. The dashes are known for having issues with that due to sun damage over the years, so luckily the dash pad cleans it up a bit and also helps to prevent things from getting any worse. Another surprising feature is the cruise control which we rarely see on the Hilux. Typically that’s reserved for the higher tear models like the Celsior and Land Cruiser. Another rarely seen convenience is the pop-out cupholders. It’s funny how much we take all the little conveniences for granted until they’re suddenly missing. While all of these are great for your morning commute you still need to be able to put this guy to work, it is a proper SUV after all. The 50/50 split-folding seats will nearly double the cargo capacity and when you roll down that back glass you can easily fit in some lumber for your weekend Honey-Do list.
Powering the rig is Toyota’s legendary 3.0L 1KZ-TE turbodiesel which we never received stateside. This large four-banger is revered for its bulletproof reliability, low cost of ownership, and sumptuous amounts of torque. With a turn of a key, it turns over and jolts to life. It sets into a constant idle, and the off-the-line torque is fantastic. The automatic transmission shifts into gear nicely and does have any hesitations or clunking to note. With SUVs like this, the auto really is the best way to go since the diesel’s don’t rev out all the high, to begin with. There is an ECT power button that will hold you in gear longer to keep you in the powerband when need be. These have no issues with getting up to highway speeds unlike the micro trucks/vans that we sell so they make great daily drivers. The low-end torque is just as good around town as it is for stump-pulling in the backyard. The selectable 4WD system has more than enough grit to get you out of any bind. While it landed in great shape we did have to do some work to it in the shop to get everything back up to speed. Two new 12V batteries make sure that your startup is a breeze. We also replaced the air filter to let the diesel breathe a bit easier. A new set of serpentine belts and a quick retighten of the hubs has us back on track. The stock suspension has little issues on crappy US highways and is plenty capable offroad. As a capable truck, the Hilux is more than capable of whatever you can throw at it. The overengineered powertrain, aggressive aesthetic, and low cost of ownership make this an instant Japanese Classic.