10 reasons to buy a used Toyota Hilux in 2023

Looking to buy a used Hilux? Curious to know what sets these ancient powers apart from their modern counterparts? From 1969 to 1995, these exceptional models not only graced the streets of the United States, but also continued to win hearts in used cars. little truck market today. In this exploration of 10 reasons to buy a used Toyota Hilux, we’ll delve into its rugged charm, timeless design, and discover how low running costs, excellent reliability, and utility make it a perfect fit for today’s needs.

10 It comes with signature Toyota reliability

Reliability has always been Toyota’s trump card, as the brand continues its dominance as one of the most reliable automakers in the industry. Modern Hilux models also share the same DNA, however, no other pickup truck model exudes more reliability than the old Hilux with leaf springs and rigid axles. One could also argue that these were the standard bearers of Toyota’s original reliability game, where simplicity, high-quality parts and effortless components were the key factors.

However, there are many used Toyota models that are in better condition and ideal for buying a used car. Check out the best model years to buy and the cost of maintaining a used Hilux for the first 10 years below.

Toyota Hilux maintenance costs and best/worst years of purchase

  • Average annual maintenance cost:
    $397 (Repair Pal)

  • Best years to buy:
    1971, 1982, 1986, 1991

  • Worst years to buy:
    1974, 1976, 1980, 1992

9 It is the absolute workhorse

Bring a trailer

Pre-owned Toyota Hilux models are known for being some of the most flexible pickup trucks available in the used car market. The amazing build quality could easily rival modern pickup trucks someday. And the motor itself is very durable. Whether you’re carrying heavy loads or venturing off-road, the Hilux proves its reliability and toughness.

With rugged construction and powerful towing capabilities, Toyota clearly designed these trucks to be a reliable partner in any mission. From hauling gear to heading out on outdoor adventures, the Hilux is here to get the job done. It will do this continuously for up to 250,000-300,000 miles with maintenance. In fact, the longest-running Toyota Hilux has clocked over 387,000 miles using its original engine and gearbox.

8 Provides plenty of cargo space

Toyota Hilux 2016

The Toyota Hilux is designed with practicality in mind. A reliable engine, low maintenance cost and a sufficiently large cargo box were enough to enhance the unparalleled popularity of this Japanese pickup truck. The first generation (1968-1972) Hilux started with a decent cargo bed length of 1,850 mm, payload capacity of 1,000 kg and towing (brake) load capacity of 3.5 tons, which remains unchanged in later model years. Most used Hilux models aren’t suitable for families and small businesses, making them a great vehicle that fulfills requirements for both urban utility and practicality.

However, when buying a used model, remember to carefully check the trunk for any leaks or rust. A damaged or rusty cargo bed can be a serious safety hazard. Also, do not overload your truck, as this can cause engine fatigue.

7 The Hilux is a great project car

A modified black Toyota Hilux is parked
Mecom Auctions

This pre-owned Toyota Hilux is an ideal vehicle for modification enthusiasts. Not only are they inexpensive, but they can easily make a lot of adjustments. It allows a great deal of freedom for individuality and creativity with modifications that people might be reluctant to build on a new or expensive truck.

Whether it’s a camper van built on it, a patrol vehicle or something as extreme as a REDARC-built No Limits Off-Grid, the Hilux can have it all and the extra capabilities are only limited by the imagination. Even the company itself is very interested in restorations and conversions and provides links to many certified Toyota adapters. The Japanese giant is also a major participant in SEMA (Special Equipment Market Association), the largest auto aftermarket show in the world.

6 Lots of powertrain options

Toyota Hilux front end
Mecom Auctions

The Hilux has gone through a lot of transformation over the years but none is more important than the evolution of its powertrain options. The first generation Hilux 1969 available in the North American market was equipped with a 3R 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine producing 84 horsepower. This was changed in 1970 to a four-cylinder SOHC engine that produced a sportier 97 horsepower.

The second generation Hilux in 1972 was equipped with a 18R 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 109 hp. It was followed by the 2.2-liter four-cylinder, emission-controlled 97-hp 20R in 1975. After that, only a few models made it to the US, and that too in limited numbers, including the 1983 version with the 2.4-liter SOHC engine. It produces 82 hp. The 1991 Hilux was built in the United States and used a 2.4-liter four-cylinder diesel engine producing 80 horsepower in a two-wheel drive configuration.









3R 1.9 liter I-4


18R 2.0L I-4

20R 2.2L I-4

2.4 liter SOHC

2.4 liter four cylinder

power (hp)







fuel type







Related: 5 Best Toyota Engines for the Hilux (5 Common Non-Toyota Swaps)

5 Cheap to maintain

Toyota Hilux 1975 - parked on the road
via Mr. Choppers / Wikimedia

Used Toyota Hilux models are some of the cheapest pickup trucks when it comes to maintenance. Thanks to the range of quality spare parts that are cheap and easily available in the market. You can actually find inexpensive Hilux models on the market, ranging from 1970 to 1995 models. However, it’s not always the low price that makes it a good deal. Models with more miles on the odometer can cost up to $3,000, but are a huge headache to maintain. Ideally, you shouldn’t get more than 100,000 miles on the dashboard, because more miles means more worn components that can cost more in repairs.

According to RepairPal, the cost of maintaining a used Toyota Hilux can range from $95 to $5,916 with an average of $296, which is very reasonable in the world of pickup trucks. Complex repairs such as replacing the motor mount can cost up to $969, while simple repairs such as replacing the brake pad cost around $150 and $55 for parts. We have listed some of the common repairs that Hilux models are subject to and their estimated repair expenses.


average repair cost

Store/merchant cost

Air filter replacement



Windshield wiper motor replacement



Brake rotor replacement



Replace the fuel pressure regulator



Brake shoe replacement



Related: 10 Cheap Pickup Trucks That Are Easy To Maintain

4 The Hilux is built like a tank

Previous Hilux models may not be the most comfortable trucks around, but they leave no stone unturned when it comes to durability. maximum speed, known for its infamous experiments that test the vehicle’s true limits, has run a series of grueling tests on the Hilux. They dropped it from dizzying heights, subjected it to enormous weight and pressure, set it on fire, launched it over treacherous terrain, and even sank it to the ocean floor. Amazingly, even after being mangled beyond recognition, the Hilux’s heart still beat and it could roll on all fours.

So, it comes as no surprise that the Hilux’s ability to withstand such extreme trials reflects its true performance as a resilient and reliable workhorse, conquering the toughest roads with unwavering determination.

Related: 10 things that make the Toyota Hilux tough and reliable

3 The Hilux is affordable

1991 Toyota Hilux Red Front Left Steady

Used Toyota Hilux pickups are some of the cheapest pickups you can find in the market. If you are looking for a second car for your family or business and don’t want to spend big but also want a practical work force, then a used Hilux is the perfect choice.

Prices start at $3,000 but for the older 1970’s that can cost a lot when it comes to maintenance expenses. The price of a used Hilux also depends on the mileage. For example, a 1995 Toyota Hilux with around 20,000 miles can cost $8,845. However, well-stated ones from sites like Cars & Bids can ask for up to $15,000.

Today a brand new pickup truck in the same segment will cost you at least $26,000 to $30,000. Take the Tacoma, a Hilux twin that sells in the US for no less than $37,280.

Related: 10 Affordable Used Pickup Trucks for Budget Buyers

2 Toyota Hilux is tough

Toyota Hilux front quarter yellow

There is no denying that the Toyota Hilux is one of the most durable trucks ever built and is designed to handle the challenges of uneven roads and landscapes. Even the used models come with a suspension that avoids stiffness, and a chassis known for its ability to handle nature’s worst.

Whether you’re cruising through rough terrain or cruising around town, the Hilux shows off its built-to-last toughness. With a rugged design and dependable engine, Toyota has made sure that these trucks can handle anything that comes their way. So, if you are an adventurer looking for off-road fun or someone who needs a truck for everyday use, the Hilux’s durability is a testament to its quality and durability. This makes it a popular choice for anyone looking for a truck that is up to the challenge.

1 Makes it a great daily driver

1977 Toyota Hilux - Parked in the driveway
Via Rutger van der Maar / Wikimedia

The Hilux was designed to be your everyday companion, not something you would gain from if you kept it in the garage. The practical workhorse still gets average mileage around 32 mpg, which isn’t bad for a used minivan. And excellent reliability means fewer breakdowns and a trouble-free life. Ample cargo space, combined with low operating costs and reliability, makes it a great choice for everyday commuters and small businesses that rely on trucks. Its renowned durability and reliability also ensures that you are not only making a practical choice, but also investing in a vehicle that is ready to handle whatever the road throws at it. So, if you are looking for a complete companion that fits in your wallet as much as it does on the road, then the Hilux could be the perfect pick for you.

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