Toyota Hilux Years To Avoid (Best and Worst)

Toyota Hilux Years To Avoid – Since its inception in March 1968, the Toyota Hilux has carved a reputation as an indestructible workhorse, enduring extreme conditions and proving its mettle across diverse terrains.

Renowned for its resilience, this pickup has stood the test of time, especially in challenging environments like Africa, where its robustness has been thoroughly tested.

However, not all years of the Toyota Hilux exhibit the same level of reliability and durability.

Navigating through the various generations of the Toyota Hilux, pinpointing the most reliable and resilient years becomes an essential task for potential buyers. Our extensive market research delves into each generation, shedding light on the years to avoid and the ones worthy of investment.

Toyota Hilux Years To Avoid

The Toyota Hilux has seen several iterations since its inception, with each generation showcasing distinct characteristics. When considering reliability, particular years stand out as less favorable for prospective buyers.

The Toyota Hilux generations to avoid encompass the 1st (1968-1972), 2nd (1972-1978), 3rd (1978-1983), and 6th (1997-2004) generations.

During these periods, certain models exhibited issues that impacted their overall reliability and durability, making them less advisable options for purchase.

Conversely, certain periods shine brighter in terms of dependability and sturdiness. The 4th (1983-1988), 5th (1988-1997), 7th (2004-2015), and 8th (2015-Current) generations of the Toyota Hilux stand as beacons of reliability within the lineup.

These iterations boast improved engineering and design, offering enhanced performance, durability, and fewer inherent issues compared to their less favorable counterparts.

Knowing the best and worst years can significantly impact your decision-making process.

Make a well-informed choice and drive confidently with a Toyota Hilux that ensures reliability, durability, and overall satisfaction for years to come.

Toyota Hilux Years To Avoid

For decades, the Toyota Hilux has been a symbol of reliability and endurance in the world of pickups. Its legacy of robustness has made it a popular choice for various purposes, from overlanding adventures to commercial use.

However, not all generations and production years of the Hilux offer the same level of reliability and performance.

Here’s an in-depth analysis of the Toyota Hilux generations and the years within them that you might want to avoid:

1st Generation (1968-1972)

The inaugural Hilux generation, the RN10, was a replacement for the Toyota Stout. While it served admirably in its time and garnered a following among classic car enthusiasts, later models significantly outshine it in terms of performance and specifications.

The 1.6-liter engine, while commendable for its era, pales in comparison to the advancements in newer models.

With later tweaks, the horsepower increased, but the foundational design limited its competitiveness.

The RN10 retains a charm for classic car enthusiasts and loyal Hilux aficionados. Yet, its ranking diminishes against newer iterations that embody Toyota’s continuous improvement and refinement.

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2nd Generation (1972-1978)

The transition from the first to the second generation marked a significant improvement in the Hilux’s reliability, comfort, and performance. Known initially as Toyota Truck/Pickup, the N20 rectified some issues that plagued its predecessor.

Despite being a dependable work truck suitable for daily use, flaws persist in the second generation, making it less preferable among the options available.

Although Toyota enhanced the cab’s interior and aimed for a more comfortable ride, the overall comfort level remained below expectations.

This generation’s shift in design, however, allowed it to function as both a work truck and a personal vehicle.

3rd Generation (1978-1983)

The third-generation Hilux, embodied in the N30 and N40 variants, marked the introduction of 4-wheel drive. This enhancement expanded the vehicle’s capabilities, especially for models equipped with higher engine capacities.

While it possesses durability and longevity if properly maintained, finding one in good condition might prove challenging due to potential rust issues or component deterioration.

Functionally basic yet reliable, the third-generation Hilux prioritized utility over comfort. Its larger cab size is aimed at practicality, aligning with its primary role as a dependable work vehicle.

6th Generation (1997-2004)

The N140, N150, N160, and N170 models constituted the sixth generation, offering two distinct lines catering to business and personal use. Despite minor design enhancements for comfort, this generation lacked significant mechanical changes from its predecessor.

These improvements did little to inspire excitement, leading to a less enthusiastic reception compared to previous iterations.

The sixth-generation Hilux showed a move toward contemporary design but fell short of creating substantial differences in terms of comfort and performance, failing to make a notable impact.

By avoiding these less favorable years, buyers can make a more informed decision when investing in a Toyota Hilux that aligns with their expectations for reliability and performance.

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Most Reliable Toyota Hilux Year

Discerning the most reliable year and the finest model is crucial for a satisfying and durable driving experience.

Across various generations, certain Hilux models have stood out, garnering praise for their exceptional reliability, enduring performance, and robust construction.

Let’s explore the standout generations and discover the crème de la crème of Toyota Hilux models:

4th Hilux Generation (1983-1988)

Most Reliable Toyota Hilux Year

The fourth-generation Hilux, comprising the N50, N60, and N70 variants, left an indelible mark as one of the most dependable trucks globally. Recognizable by its distinctive blistered fenders, this generation continues to hold a revered status owing to its extraordinary longevity and reliability.

Available in various engine configurations, including 1.6-liter and 1.8-liter gasoline engines (12R-J, 2Y), 2.2-liter, and 2.4-liter diesel units (L, 2L) for RWD versions, and 2-liter fuel units (3Y-J) and 2.4-liter diesel (2L) for 4WD models, this generation provided an array of options tailored to different needs.

7th Hilux Generation (2004-2015)

Most Reliable Toyota Hilux Year

Embracing larger dimensions compared to its predecessors, the AN10, AN20, and AN30 versions of the seventh generation showcased improved interiors for enhanced driver and passenger comfort.

Part of Toyota’s Innovative International Multi-Purpose Vehicle initiative, this generation aimed to streamline manufacturing while offering robust towing capacity and modern amenities.

Featuring a robust 4-liter V6 engine and a diesel engine capable of holding up to 3 liters, the seventh generation catered to diverse demands, combining power with comfort for everyday drivers and enthusiasts alike.

8th Hilux Generation (2015-Current)

Most Reliable Toyota Hilux Year

The current eighth generation, comprising AN110, AN120, and AN130 variants, redefines the legendary vehicle by integrating cutting-edge technology with the Hilux’s time-tested dependability.

Toyota prioritized safety and comfort during the cab revamp, ensuring a larger and more comfortable driving experience.

Addressing city driving challenges, and improved cab visibility characterizes this generation.

Recognized with the prestigious 6th Worldwide Pick-Up Award for 2022/2023, the eighth-generation Hilux excels in enhancing the overall user experience.

5th Hilux Generation (1988-1997)

Most Reliable Toyota Hilux Year

Despite the introduction of newer generations, the fifth generation remains a pinnacle of reliability and popularity among Hilux enthusiasts.

Comprising the N80, N90, N100, and N110 models, this generation stood out for its robust all-box construction, ensuring unparalleled sturdiness compared to contemporaries.

Notable for its ability to withstand damage from various directions, the fifth-generation Hilux earned acclaim for its simplicity in maintenance and repairs, maintaining its allure as a reliable and steadfast companion on the road.

Investing in a Toyota Hilux requires a discerning eye, and understanding these standout generations and models provides invaluable insight into securing the most reliable and enduring Hilux experience.

Toyota Hilux Problems

The Toyota Hilux, renowned for its durability and robustness, has earned a reputation as a reliable companion on and off the road.

However, like any vehicle, it is not without its set of common issues and problems that owners should be aware of to ensure proper maintenance and timely intervention.

Toyota Hilux Problems

Let’s explore some prevalent Toyota Hilux problems that owners may encounter:

1. Turbo Problems

Among the most reported issues, turbo-related problems in the Toyota Hilux have raised concerns among owners.

Symptoms such as a noticeable lack of power, dark smoke emitted from the exhaust, and ominous sounds emanating from the turbo indicate potential issues.

Addressing turbo problems promptly is vital, as they can lead to a drop in boost pressure.

Common causes of these problems include inadequate lubrication, faulty seals, and wear and tear within the turbo assembly.

2. Difficulty in Starting

Owners of Toyota Hilux vehicles have frequently encountered difficulties during the starting process, often attributed to misfires. This issue is particularly prevalent in models equipped with diesel common rail engines.

Signs indicating starting problems may include fuel odors, leaks, engine vibration, or the illumination of the “check engine” light.

Fuel injectors are a common suspect in causing this problem and should be inspected for potential issues.

3. Oil Leakage

Another common concern reported by Toyota Hilux owners is oil leakage stemming from the crank seal. Detecting oil leaks is relatively straightforward, as they often manifest as visible pools beneath the vehicle.

Typically, the crank seal replacement becomes necessary after the vehicle has covered over 100,000 miles (160,934.4 kilometers) under regular driving conditions.

Timely inspection and replacement of the crank seal can prevent further complications associated with oil leaks.

4. Fifth-Gear Shift Difficulties

Drivers of Toyota Hilux models have encountered challenges when shifting into fifth gear, indicative of potential issues with the manual transmission. This problem demands swift attention and diagnosis.

The culprits behind fifth-gear shift difficulties commonly involve malfunctioning synchronizer rings, faulty gear, or issues with the hub gear within the transmission assembly.

Addressing these common Toyota Hilux problems—turbo issues, starting difficulties, oil leakage, and fifth-gear shift problems—requires vigilant maintenance and timely intervention.

Which Hilux should I buy?

The Toyota HiLux SR stands out as an exceptional choice according to Cars Guide’s ratings for the 2019 SR model. Garnering a strong 4/5 rating for both daily driving and professional use (trade), the HiLux SR earns praise as a well-rounded and versatile vehicle.

Why is the Toyota Hilux not allowed in the US?

The absence of Toyota Hilux in the United States stems from several factors, including market dynamics, competition, and regulatory requirements.

Toyota instead offers the Tacoma as its mid-size pickup truck in the US market, catering to the preferences and demands of American consumers and competing effectively with other popular trucks in that segment.

How many miles can a Hilux last?

When properly maintained, a Toyota Hilux has the potential to achieve an impressive lifespan of up to 300,000 miles without requiring major repairs.

Based on average yearly mileage (20,000-30,000 miles), a well-maintained Hilux can last up to 15 years without necessitating significant overhauls, demonstrating its robustness and durability.

Does Toyota Hilux hold its value?

According to Drive’s data from 2023, the Toyota Hilux retains an impressive 80.6% of its value after 3 years. This statistic highlights the Hilux’s strong resale value, showcasing its ability to maintain a significant portion of its initial value over time compared to other vehicles in its class.


Understanding the nuances of different Toyota Hilux generations is pivotal when considering a purchase to avoid potential issues. While the Toyota Hilux has a reputation for durability, certain years and models have encountered common problems.

Turbo issues, starting difficulties, oil leakage, and transmission problems are among the key concerns reported by owners.

Notably, the 4th (1983-1988), 5th (1988-1997), 7th (2004-2015), and 8th (2015-Current) generations have stood out for their reliability and performance.

Conversely, issues in the 1st (1968-1972), 2nd (1972-1978), 3rd (1978-1983), and 6th (1997-2004) generations have been identified, warranting caution when considering models within these years.

Prospective buyers should conduct thorough research, consider maintenance records, and prioritize vehicle inspections to make informed decisions and steer clear of problematic years.

Understanding the critical points of each generation is key to finding a reliable Toyota Hilux model that suits individual needs, ensuring a more satisfying ownership experience. Toyota Hilux Years to Avoid should be approached with careful consideration to secure a dependable and enduring investment.

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