The Toyota 4Runner, or the Toyota Hilux Surf as it is known in some markets, is the passenger-car derivative of the Toyota Hilux pickup truck. The Toyota 4Runner (Toyota Hilux Surf) was sold in the UK from 1992 until 1995, when it was replaced by the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado.
Toyota 4Runner and Toyota Hilux Surf history
Toyota first experimented with passenger versions of their pickup trucks in the early 1980’s, when the Japanese manufacturer formed a partnership with Winnebago to develop a passenger version of its Toyota Hilux pickup truck, called the Toyota Trekker.
Following the successful trial of the Toyota Trekker, Toyota brought production in-house with the launch of the Toyota 4Runner (which was marketed as the Toyota Hilux Surf in some countries). This vehicle was manufactured from 1984 until 1989 in Japan’s Tahara factory, and proved to be a big hit in Australia, New Zealand and the US.
Toyota 4Runner and Toyota Hilux Surf UK launch
In 1989, the second generation Toyota 4Runner and Toyota Hilux Surf were launched. This model featured a special full steel integrated body (as opposed to the adapted pickup truck body of the previous generation), while the front and rear solid axles with leaf spring suspension was replaced by independent coil-spring suspension.
However, it wasn’t until 1992 that the vehicle was launched in the UK. Under the bonnet was a 3-litre turbo-diesel straight-four engine (1KZ-T), which produced 125hp at 3,600rpm and 295Nm at 2,00rpm. There was a five-speed manual transmission and, although front-wheel drive models were offered in some markets, all UK models were rear-wheel drive.
Toyota 4Runner and Toyota Hilux Surf today
The Toyota 4Runner was replaced by the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado in the UK in 1995, but sales have continued in many major markets around the world like the United States and Japan. Despite not being popular at the time, the Toyota Hilux Surf and Toyota 4Runner (now into its fifth generation) have quite a following in the UK, and a few hundred are imported each year, mainly from Japan.
To discover more pickup trucks and 4x4s from yesteryear, visit our classic pickup trucks page.