The third-generation Hilux Surf is a polished and capable SUV. It’s more modern than its predecessor, safer, and a better performer to boot. This 1996 is finished in a pretty Stellar Blue Pearl (8L7) over Silver Two-Tone and offered with a mere 116k verified miles. The body is in fine shape and has a few normal dings, chips, and scuffs associated with normal use. The highlight of this rig is the drivetrain, which is propelled by a hearty, and almost bulletproof 1KZ-TE. Freshly serviced, and legally imported, this five-seat 4×4 boasts an inexpensive cost of ownership, diehard reliability, and handsome looks all in one svelte package!
The cabin is spacious and clean, with a few impressive power features. The view of the road ahead is clear and commanding thanks to this truck’s tall ride height. The dash houses dual front SRS airbags, unlike the second-generation Hilux in which they were not offered. The dashboard does have some delamination by the glovebox to note and a small cellphone pad mounted front and center but is otherwise good. The center stack includes an intuitive automatic climate control system that currently blows cold a/c and a Kenwood head unit. The audio works well and updates the cabin a touch. Power windows, locks and mirrors all work properly and for additional ventilation, this model includes a power sunroof. It can tilt and fully retract for better ventilation and adds a healthy amount of natural light to the cabin. Even the rear glass powers down for a better breeze through the cockpit and rear privacy tint keeps the harmful rays of the sun off the rear passengers. The seats are trimmed in a soft gray cloth and the upholstery has held up wonderfully over the years. They lack any major rips, stains or tears and are comfortable on long cruises. The matching door cards look good as well and the headliner is clean and largely undamaged. The carpets do have some light staining, but hey, this baby is 25 years old! It’s obvious that this thing was cared for in a prior life, and would make a killer family ride based on the amenities, size, and interior condition.
Mechanically, these body-on-frame trucks are simple and sturdy. Under the hood sits a massive 3.0L four-banger that is fresh off an oil and filter service. Its turns over quickly thanks to a new 12v battery and sets into a confident idle. The big four is connected to an automatic gearbox that shifts properly and can be nestled into low-gear thanks to the standard selective transfer case. This Hilux also boasts a locking center differential if you encounter loose surfaces or inclement weather. If you plan on overlanding, this truck is a great option and the gearing is just fine for our speedier American highways. The truck maximizes efficiency and power thanks to a new engine air filter and this two-ton plus SUV accelerates briskly. Our trained techs have replaced the front and rear struts and taken care of a fresh alignment to maximize tire wear. The ute coasts over potholes and rides like a truck half its age thanks to the new dampers. The steering is light and the brakes feel confident. The OEM six-spoke alloys are all wrapped in new all-season rubber at all four corners. They will deliver premium year-round grip and last for tens of thousands of miles to come.
1996 Toyota Hilux Surf SSR-X