1988 Toyota 4Runner SSR


Over all the most dependable and efficient vehicle I've ever owned


The rear window doesn't always work after putting hard top back on.

General Comments:

My 4runner (Surf) is the most reliable vehicle I've owned.

Even after off roading during a typhoon and being submerged for hours it started right up.

No leaks or noises after twenty years of Japanese traffic.

The little four cylinder runs great and keeps up with the Jeeps 4.0 in the mud and hills.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th September, 2008

1990 Toyota 4Runner SSR-Limited Gasoline


The Most Reliable 4WD


I didn't know that this rig is a part-time 4WD when I bought it. I drove in 4WD mode on-road for a long time, and it caused me to pay a lot for repair of the transfer box.

Never drive this car in 4WD mode on dry pavement if you want to keep it for a long time! Also, if you live in cold areas, when you start the engine, give it time to warm up: it improves the performance of the car.

General Comments:

My car is actually known in Japan as Hilux Surf. Mine has 96,000km on the clock. Its engine is a 4-cylinder 2000cc gasoline one.

Underpowered, but pulls through almost anywhere. Shows great performance off-road. Just drive in off-road and see for yourself. Absolutely reliable.

Except for the repair of the transfer box, which was my own fault, I just paid for oil change and gas. I also bought some of the optional accessory parts on the Internet at very low price.

Maintenance is everything with this rig. I change the oil and the oil filter every 2,000km! The engine works like a clock. I highly recommend putting high-octane gas in the tank at every refill. It gives you grater power and fuel economy. Also clean the spark plugs regularly, say, once a year and keep it tuned up.

No blown gaskets yet! No oil leaks, either.

I love the looks of this car. I put a 1994-model grille guard on it, which I believe is available only in the Japanese market. It has turned heads many times. I guess nobody has seen that grille guard on that model before in Japan! I love the big sunroof as well. I bought all the optional visors, including one for the sunroof, and put them on. It really looks great now.

I have owned many cars so far. This car is the only one I really want to keep until it literally dies. I do all the maintenance work myself.

Absolutely no rust on the body. The bumpers have a bit of rust on, but that's not odd considering the age of the car.

It's not a gas guzzler! Just don't hurry catching up with every car at the green light. Give it time to pick up speed, and you'll save on gas! This car needs patience.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th October, 2004

15th Feb 2005, 09:02

I had a 1990 4Runner, just sold it with 365,000 on the clock, now I have a 1995 4Runner with nearly 300,000. Maintenance is paramount-but changing oil every 2,000 is extreme. I tend to drive my vehicles about 150km/day (city driving) and I change oil every 5,000-6,000 km and the engines last forever. Out of curiosity, what is the general asking price for used 4Runners in Japan?I bought my 1995 in Oct 2003 for $3500 tax included (Canadian) with 250,000 km on it.

19th Mar 2005, 08:41

Thanks for your comment.

Yes, I know that changing oil at every 2000 km is a bit extreme, but I do it myself, and I buy quality oil on Web auctions at a very low price so it's not a big trouble, you know.

It's hard to answer your question considering the range of the 4-Runner models and the condition of the vehicles. I bought mine at about 3,000 dollars (US) in 2003, and I thought I had a good deal, but now nobody buys a 1990 model at this price unless it's in great condition and well maintained. The Japanese care about the color and especially about the mileage on the clock. As a rule of thumb in Japan, a 4-Runner (any model) with over 130,000km on the clock won't sell as planned by the seller unless it's black or has some extras on it, say, a hitch member. There are not many 1990 4-Runners on the roads anymore in Japan. The owners sell or dump their rigs due to safety concerns.

If you can read Japanese or have somebody to do it for you, having a look at the car sales section of the Yahoo Japan Auctions site would be the best place to know of the 4-Runner prices in Japan.