The third-generation Hilux Surf is a whole lot of SUV for the money. Its capable, powerful, and efficient, as well as easy to own. Its shares most parts with our US 4Runners, but this example is equipped with one of Toyota’s best ever turbodiesel engines! This 1996 is finished in Stellar Blue (8L7) and is a top-of-the-range SSR-G model. Offered with a mere 86k verified and documented miles, the body is in good shape aside from some minor chips and dings. Recently serviced and legally imported this 4×4 is comfy enough to drive the family to dinner, but can also tear it up on slick muddy terrain. Well rounded, well-built, and a blast to own, this late-model Toyota is a trusty and certified Japanese Classic truck that’s ready to roll.
The cabin is a massive improvement over the N130 interior that pre-dated it. It’s larger, includes more amenities, and most importantly includes some huge safety upgrades. Starting with the standard dual SRS airbags mounted in front of the passenger and driver. The dash is in good shape and lacks any cracking or distortion. The view of the road ahead is clear and commanding as this tall truck rides above traffic. The center stack includes a simple to use automatic climate control system that blows cold a/c through the cabin. A Carrozzerria radio has been installed in Japan to replace the dated OE unit. A “field monitor” displaying barometric pressure, the direction of travel, and altitude is mounted atop the windshield between the visors. Only available on more expensive trim levels, this gauge is handy to have for those who are adventurous. The headliner and door cards have been well cared for as have the cloth seats. The upholstery is similar to corduroy and is more durable than almost any other cloth we see. The seats lack any major rips, stains, or tears and have held up well over the years. Even the driver seat includes lumbar support! That is not to say the cabin is perfect as the power rear spoiler mirror no longer operates, but then again there are backup cameras available on the cheap. There is also some minor carpet staining to note. Still, at this age, it’s been obviously cared for.
The chassis and powertrain are legendary and many people feel Toyotas best build quality was produced during this era. One of their best creations was the 1KZ-TE turbodiesel. This one is fresh off an oil and filter service and starts up promptly thanks to two new 12v batteries. It idles confidently and is connected to a selective transfer case. The driver has the option to engage a center locking differential and lower gearing if necessary. The ride is way more refined than the vehicle it replaced, and an improved multilink suspension allows for more capable off-road. The brakes inspire confidence and the power steering is nicely weighted and as communicative as any SUV we sell. A new alignment was performed and the aftermarket multispoke alloys complete the aesthetic. They have been wrapped in Falken all-terrain tires and we even took care of the spare. They will last for tens of thousands of miles to come and deliver a year-round grip you can trust!
1996 Toyota Hilux SSR-G