Monday, August 18, 2014

Used Car Review - Toyota Hilux (1998-2004)

Before buying this pick-up truck, Myk Belmonte spills out the details.

1998-2004 Toyota Hilux

Pick-up trucks are known to be indestructible, especially that they can hack the worst things which may happen. We know the Hilux being destructed several times by Jeremy Clarkson and his gang at Top Gear and it became an instrument on disposing Libyan dictator Muhammar Gaddafi out of Chad in 1987.

First made available in 1997, the sixth generation Hilux can be had in regular, extended, and crew cab flavors with this generation being the basis of the 4Runner/Hilux Surf SUVs (the last of it to based upon) and the Thailand exclusive Hilux Sport Rider which the Fortuner replaced it. Except for North America, it was sold internationally and interestingly enough, the last generation of Hilux to be sold or produced in its hometown market of Japan.

While it was a product of durability, the Hilux name isn't a popular choice among consumers back then preferring those trucks from Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Nissan, and even Ford. It remained in Toyota's line-up until 2004, with the seventh generation model (third in our shores) introduced in December of that year which became a market success. Variants available include the DLX in both 4x2 and 4x4 versions, XS 4x2, and SR5 4x4. A J variant which adds leather seats, spray-on bed liner, and window visors can be added in the SR5 and XS.

Value and Costs
As with Japanese pick-up trucks sold during the early 00s, prices of Hiluxes can range between P370,000 to P480,000.

Since there is no CRDi technology present here, maintenance costs would be on the low side. But then, it would be prudent to check if the tail pipe emits black smoke.

Exterior and Interior
Unlike other trucks of today which has some funny lines, the Hilux has clean and straight ones which produces a handsome profile. Non-DLX models get body stickers and alloy wheels while 4x4 models have side step boards as standard equipment.

The interior can be described as basic, but it is functional at the long run with the type of plastics being used are of the durable type. Except for the base DLX 4x2, all models come with complete power amenities.

Both the 2L 2,446cc having 83hp at 4,200rpm and 162Nm at 2,400rpm and the 3L 2,779cc carrying 88hp at 4,000rpm and 185Nm at 2,400rpm from Toyota's L engine family aren't exactly known for their miraculous pulling power or top levels of refinement, especially with the 4x4 system being activated. There are hubs and knobs for the usual off-road jaunts standard in the upper models. While it can pull you adequately, this is no sports car.

Driving Impressions
If you wish a smooth ride, you have read the wrong article especially the suspension is meant to be for hauling and not for comfort, good thing it wouldn't give up on you. Driving dynamics aren't also similar to a sedan, so do not expect too much.

Planning to buy a truck which can hack the bushes without breaking anything down? Then this second generation Hilux is for you. However, if you really want a truck for personal usage then we suggest that you head to its competition.
The Good:
  • Can hack the worst situations
  • Reliable
  • Simplistic engines
The Bad: 
  • Unrefined
  • Crude interior
  • Basic as it gets
The Pick: XS 4x2

Engines: 2,446cc 2L and 2,779cc 3L I4 diesel
Power: 83hp @ 4,200rpm (2.4), 88hp @ 4,000rpm (2.8)
Torque: 162Nm @ 2,400rpm (2.4), 185Nm @ 2,400rpm (2.8)
Fuel Consumption: 6-8km/L (city), 10-13km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Suspension: Front double wishbone, rear leaf springs

Price (New): P550,000-P1,1000,000
Price (Now): P370,000-P480,000
Rivals: Ford Ranger, Isuzu Fuego, Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Frontier
On Sale: 1998-2004

Toyota Manila Bay - (02) 581-6168

Photos from


  1. Hello. Would you say a HIlux Surf as a good buy? Saw one being marketed as a U.S. version, that is, with manual transmission and unconverted. Just wanted to know your take on this. Thanks!

    1. Good afternoon! The Hilux Surf you're referring to is called the 4Runner in the US. Although there are some Japanese Hilux Surfs here, with no possible local Toyotas that have the same parts I think you're better off not going with this one since parts are hard to come by.

  2. Thank you very much for your inputs sir!