30 April 2021

More than an old car #170: Toyota Hilux Surf


Having left school for a while, I look back at schooling days with some nostalgia. Throughout my time, I have come across old cars of varying shapes and sizes, and this 1993 Toyota Hilux Surf SSR-X was one of the stand-outs just because it was so uncommon...

The Hilux Surf was first conceived of back in 1981 with a prototype conversion done to the Hilux truck known as the Trekker. It was done by the Winnebago company with approval from Toyota and assembled only in the US. In 1984, the Hilux Surf (or 4Runner for the export version) came into being by modifying the short-bed Hilux truck: as such all the Hilux Surfs for the 1st generation only had 2 doors. 

For the 2nd generation, the car featured a freshly designed body although it remained identical from the B-pillar onwards. Almost all units were now available in 4-door format, with very few 2-door units made. In 1991, it underwent a facelift featuring more irregularly-shaped headlights. There were also different special edition models released as well. Interestingly, opening the rear tailgate of the Hilux Surf required one to retract the glass window into the tailgate, then opening the tailgate just like a pickup truck. This differed from its competitors which had the tailgate open upwards along with the glass.

The car was available in various trims from the base 'SSR' through 'SSR Ltd', 'SSR-V' 'SSR-X' and 'SSR-X Ltd' to the range topping 'SSR-G'. Various engines were also offered for the car, but this unit was powered by a 2982 cc 1KZ-TE turbo i4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 155 km/h with an acceleration of 16 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 4490 mm long and weighed 1880 kg, with a fuel consumption of 11.5 litres / 100 km.

Production of the 2nd generation Hilux Surf ended in 1995 with the arrival of the 3rd generation; about 308,549 units had been registered by then. This is a Malaysian unit as none are known to exist locally today, although small numbers were present back in the 90s where they were used as company vehicles. There has been an increasing number of Japanese SUVs being imported here over the past few years, as more people fall in love with its rugged nature. It is likely that similar units may end up here in the next few years (when they are able to get registered). Until then, you will be extremely lucky to see one before that!

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