Stock Number: 4979
The third-generation Hilux Surf was a wonderful upgrade in so many respects. The new chassis was more refined, safer, and better off-road than the vehicle it replaced. This 1996 SSR-X version is built with a nearly unstoppable 3.0L turbodiesel and offered with a mere 142K verified miles. The body is finished in a sleek Desert Dune Metallic (1A5) and set off by a set of Berg CV928 alloys, and complemented by a set of factory rain guards. The body is in good shape other than the normal dings and chips you’d expect for a 25-year-old vehicle. The flowing lines have aged well; the factory optional projection fog lamps and rear spoiler round out the more aggressive looks. Powered by one legendary turbodiesel engine this recently serviced and legally imported 4×4 would make a joy to daily drive year-round!
The cabin is a refreshingly modern update from the old Surfs. Dual SRS airbags are an obvious safety upgrade but the quality of the materials was a massive improvement. The dash is in good shape and lacks any cracking or distortion. The view of the road ahead is clear and with its tall ride height you’re in full command of the road since you’re sitting high above the rest of the traffic. Atop the windshield rests a digital gauge suite that includes a compass to keep you on track. Adjacent to that is the power sunroof controls for the glass roof above. This unit power retracts and tilts for better ventilation and delivers a healthy dose of natural sunlight. Additional ventilation is accessible through the power mirrors and the rain guards do a wonderful job of reducing wind noise in the cabin. The A/C blows cold currently and the digital climate system also pumps some serious heat. Power locks and power mirrors are standard although the power-folding function no longer works. The upholstery is a soft, blue cloth that bolsters well on long road trips. They lack any major imperfections such as rips, stains, or tears. A Carrozzaria head unit replaces the dated factory one and works as it should. It even includes an auxiliary input. That’s not to say the interior is perfect as the door cards, headliner, and carpets have a few scuffs and stains. The center armrest console does have a depression and crack from someone’s elbow over the years. Still, the interior condition reflects that the prior owner in Japan cared for it. The rear privacy tint did a fine job of protecting the plastics in the cargo area and the rear tailgate does have power-retractable glass as well.
The benefit to owning this KZN185 is that a version of the truck was sold here stateside. It shares many parts with the 4Runner but admittedly has a better powerplant. This example is fresh off an oil and filter service and turns over promptly with the twist of the key. A new 12V battery should last for another four years and will assist this rig to start up quickly during the dead of winter. The large four-banger idles confidently and is connected to an automatic gearbox. Acceleration is brisk and the 1KZ-TE breaths freely thanks to a new engine air filter. The transmission feels stouter than the gearboxes in the 130 platform trucks, and this one shifts through the gears without any hesitation or clunking. Although 2WD is best for fuel economy, 4WD is available through a selective transfer case. Low gearing is also available and best of all, this SSR-X is equipped with a locking center differential. The brakes slow this truck down confidently and the power steering is helpful in city driving. The suspension feels composed and the alloy wheels are all sporting new Falken all-terrain tires. The new units can handle all the weather you can throw at them and will last for tens of thousands of miles to come; we even replaced the spare in case you find yourself in a bind.