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The 3rd Generation Surf was introduced in late 1995 for the 1996 model year and ran until the end of the 2002 model year. Available only in the home market of Japan, other market variants whilst essentially the same, were marketed as 4Runners. Engine choices ranged from 2.7L 4-cylinder and 3.0L V-6 petrol's to 3.0L 4-cylinder diesel models, with the diesels having the option of an intercooler.
This 3rd Generation marked a large departure from its roots for the Surf, for the first time it no longer shared its basic chassis design on the hilux pick-up range from which it had evolved and inherited its name. This time it borrows the chassis from the LWB Landcruiser Prado of similar vintage. Whilst visually quite similar to the model it replaced, it does have a large number of differences, all body and interior panels are changed, with greater legroom front and rear and a larger cargo area.
Some of the bigger differences include, Coil sprung suspension all-round. Multi-mode 4wd system. Conventional lift-up tailgate. Rack & Pinion steering. Standard ABS (3-channel). Twin Airbags. 16" wheels
The remainder of this review relates more specifically to the 3.0TD AUTO SSR-G specification
When I came to purchase my used 1996 model it was an easy decision, having some years prior owned a 2nd Generation model.
Living with this vehicle is very easy, with a level of ride comfort you will find hard to surpass in any other comparable off-road vehicle. Access is easy with side steps and internal grab handles should you require them. Once seated, the controls fall easily to hand. Creature comforts are plenty with five electric windows (the window in the tailgate can be lowered too!), Climate control, separate rear heater, central locking, electric aerial etc. If viewing one with a view to purchase however, do not be swayed by any japans fitted fancy stereo of TV systems, as most cannot be made to function satisfactorily in the UK or Ireland, as we use different radio wavelength ranges, a different TV system and you cannot get European discs for the GPS systems, in short, budget for a new stereo.
The tailgate is fitted with a rather large spoiler, which may not be to everyone's taste, but it does do a rather effective job of directing airflow down across the tailgate helping keep the rear window quite clear. It also has another trick up its sleeve, press a button on the centre console, and a portion of the spoiler extends downwards revealing a mirror to enable you to see your rear bumper when reversing. A useful feature slightly marred by the fitment of the spare wheel carrier, which partly blocks the view offered by this mirror. On the subject of the rear wheel carrier, not all models have them, in theory they are only fitted to the range topping SSR-G model, this is the only model to receive the trick spoiler too, however it can be a little misleading quoting the specifications of these vehicles, as many have had optional features fitted from new, so its not unusual to see what should be a lower spec'ed model with all the extras normally associated with a higher model.
The models should go like this (ranging from base to top-spec), SSR SSR Ltd SSR-X SSR-X Ltd SSR-G
Back to the spare wheel carrier, if you need to access the boot area frequently, than the underslung spare may be a better option, save having to swing the spare to the side every time you need to gain access. Many people however, myself included, prefer the appearance of the rear-mounted option.
On road performance from the 3.0TD is excellent, with bags of torque, it never has any difficulty keeping up with whatever traffic situation it may find itself in. Fuel economy is excellent too, rarely varying much from 26mpg. Drive one of these on the road and if you are used to other off-roaders than you should be in for a pleasant surprise, the Surf exhibits very little of the body roll normally found in such vehicles. The road holding and handling are such that it's in many ways more comparable to a normal estate car than other off-roaders. It will cruise all happily all day at motorway speeds, with little wind or road noise, and makes any journey a relaxing affair. One criticism here is the seats, they are not as supportive as those fitted to some prior models, look out for the very desirable Recaro seats option. In short it's terrific on the road.
Yet this does not compromise its off-roading ability. 4wd may be selected on the move both on and off the road on these models. Unlike many of its competitors is has a proper centre diff, allowing permanent 4wd usage if desired. It naturally has a low range fitted and of course a lock for the centre diff. Even fitted with normal road tyres many would be surprised at the ease with which it can tackle mud, gravel, sharp accents and descents. The ground clearance and approach angles are good, although the long overhang to the rear may compromise the departure angle if serious off-roading is called for.
Having now had this model for over 2 years, it has been a joy to own. It had required nothing other than routine servicing and performs all that I ask it to flawlessly. With just over 200,000Kms clocked up, it could easily pass as a much younger example with less than 60,000Kms.
A pleasure to own, it's the second Surf I've had (3rd off-roader in total) and I don't see myself exchanging it for some time to come, when I do it will probably be for another one.
I'm such a fan of the Hilux Surf, both 2nd & 3rd generation models, I even have a site for them at www.hiluxsurf.eu
SpecificationsScale: 1/32Material: PlasticRecommend Paints for this Model (Not ... more
Included)Tamiya Model Paints X-6 OrangeTamiya Model Paints X-11 Chrome silverTamiya Model Paints X-16 PurpleTamiya Model Paints X-18 Semi gloss blackTamiya Model Paints X-23 Clear blueBecause this product is incomplete model, buyers can enjoy the processes of assembling the model and figure painting. The photo is for reference only.This is special edition bundle with RCECHO® Apps license key included for more fun!. RCECHO® is a registered trademarks. Products only distributed by authorized seller.
From the ParkingSignTM Range of Signs Manufactured By Case Graphics. Manufactured using ... more
the same process as UK Road Signs to give original look. On Aluminium composite plate suitable for use indoors or outside. Looks great on your parking spot, garage door etc.... Made from long term outside use materials. Supplied with double sided tape for easy fitting to painted surfaces. Can also easily be drilled for Screw fixing to brick work, posts etc....