1991 Toyota Hi-lux Surf 2.4 turbo diesel from Australia and New Zealand


A maintained Toyota will be forever reliable


CV boots.

Rear wheel bearings.

Front brake pads.

Blocked radiator.

Injector pump.

General Comments:

Bought this Surf for its clean body and certified head replacement. Being a maintenance fitter, I picked all the little problems. EBay radiator, shocks, CV boots. Replaced a couple of water hoses, wheel bearings and the injector pump. Had the pump re-timed as it was too retarded, causing a lot of black smoke. All fluids and belts changed.

Traveled the Simpson, Adventure Highway, up to Cape York, down the east coast, extensive off-road in Vic high country, Melbourne, Great Ocean Road with lots of detours to get off road, Adelaide to Perth and back, and no oil leaks, break downs, not even a globe blown. Ripped a couple of tyres to shreds, but that's not the vehicle's fault.

The car+ all replacement parts cost less than 5 grand. Missus spits the dummy when I mention selling it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th June, 2012

23rd Mar 2016, 11:00

I have a 91 Surf TD with LP gas injection; the old girl flies.

1991 Toyota Hi-lux Surf 3.0Lt V6 from Australia and New Zealand


Very good



General Comments:

This was a japanese import, and I had no problems with it.

It was very comfy on the road with the hard and normal suspension, and on the motorway you would think you were in a car not a 4X4.

Off road it was good with the V6 motor, but it could do with a limited slip diff.

Fuel economy was the only thing 400km out of a tank for a 5 speed, and about 360km for my friends auto.

The only other thing that may go wrong is the left hand head may crack, as the manifold from the right hand side goes into it and it gets too hot, but a set of headers will sort that out.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th February, 2007

1991 Toyota Hi-lux Surf SSR-X 2.4 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


The only car you'll ever need


Both batteries needed replacing.

General Comments:

I have owned 16 cars since I began driving, and this car, the Toyota Hilux Surf, has by far, been the most versatile, and enjoyable car I have driven.

It is simply huge in the back, and with the rear seats folded, there is enough room to lie out full stretch; great for camping expeditions.

It is a very capable off roader too, and is more than a match for more serious off roaders like the Land Rover Defender. I would liken its capabilities to the Discovery, but with a far better build quality and reliability record.

The 2.4TD is about 100bhp, and is just about adequate for a vehicle of this size, returning about 20-25 MPG.

The auto gearbox is extremely smooth, and has a standard and ECT mode (sports mode). The car runs in 2WD, but can be switched to 4WD whilst driving by a push of a button. Low ratio is only used for offroading or snowy or muddy conditions, although it has an auto 'box, and the gears are still versatile enough to use in slippery conditions. By selecting low ratio and 1st gear, the car will crawl down the steepest of mudbanks at a snail's-pace, utilising the engine braking to full effect.

Reliability hasn't been an issue, and although the 'Surf' is a grey import into the UK, there are a host of specialists who supply parts and accessories for this car. There is even an award winning website dedicated solely to the 'Hilux Surf', that can be seen at www.hiluxsurf.co.uk.

The interior is typically Japanese, with lots of grey plastic and haphazard switches, however it has every conceivable extra, from aircon to electric mirrors, sunroof, windows & rear tailgate; rear heater, multi adjustable front seats, reclining rear seats.

Getting in and out takes some getting used to, as the driving position is sportscar-like, with your legs stretched out straight, whilst sitting on a very low seat.

Insurance costs are surprisingly reasonable, and a host of well known insurers will cover grey imports; 'Tesco' being one of the better known companies. I am paying less than £400 per year fully comp.

This is a 12 year-old car, and it has no signs of rust on the bodywork, it is well built, and has a solid feel.

There are some horror stories about the 2.4TD having cooling problems, leading to cylinder head damage, and neglected examples can cost you dear; somewhere in the region of £800 - £1500 for a new head.

It is better to buy a well looked after Surf that has been in the UK for a while for a bit more money, than to take a chance on a cheap 'off the boat' car with no history. It is worth noting that the 3.0L TD model doesn't seem to have the cooling problems associated with neglected 2.4TD's.

In summary, this is an amazing car, and has surpassed all my expectations, I would definitely recommend it to anyone, and am already saving for my next 'Hilux Surf'.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th September, 2003

4th Nov 2004, 14:54

Hi, yes, you are totally right! I've owned many 4x4s, and the Hilux Surf has to be the top trump. I own a 1991 model; no rust, no dents, looks brand new. I bought her two years ago, and it's coming up to its third year, and its passed both its MoTs.

This year I had to buy a front light lens, which was no problems to find actually off the shelf in stock.

I do a lot of off roading due to the fact I'm a part time game keeper, and once again, I agree with you that they are superb off roaders! Having owned a Land Rover, the Surf is much better in this league!

Anyway, I won't be changing my Surf for many years to come. These are road legal tanks!!!

1991 Toyota Hi-lux SSR LTD 2.4 diesel turbo from Australia and New Zealand


OK if you buy one cheap


Purchased vehicle from auction with no cylinder head, had badly cracked head between valves, replaced with reconditioned head,

1 year latter engine run hot towing trailer has now cracked second head.

Cost of new bare head exceeds $1000.00.

General Comments:

Common fault for Toyota diesel engines wish Toyota had designed better cooling systems for there diesel engines, mechanics love these engines keeping them in bussines.

I just buy these to repair they suck as a real 4x4 a Suzuki jeep will beat one every time, low power about 86 odd HP.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 19th July, 2002

1st Sep 2002, 17:09

Surely buying a vehicle with engine damage should ring alarm bells and most people would steer clear. My SSR LTD is brilliant with only minor repairs needed over the past 3-4 years.

I would have no hesitation in recommending a Hi-Lux Surf to any-one.

I totally disagree with the writer of this article, he was unlucky and just happened to get a rough one.

If we listened to everybody when buying a vehicle, we wouldn't buy anything.

1991 Toyota Hi-lux DX 2.8 from Australia and New Zealand


Nothing so far apart from front wheel alignment going astray.

General Comments:

You ought to open this up to non UK residents & car drivers, I live in outback Australia!.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th May, 1998

22nd Apr 2012, 10:35

I live in Australia too mate. I don't have one of these rigs, but I've been looking for a 4wd for a while, and after looking around, I reckon they're ones to get. These reviews have been really helpful, and I reckon I'll be writing my own review of one very soon.