4 min read
30 Jul

Ladies and gentlemen, hold on to your hats because we're about to dive into a review of the unbreakable 1988 Toyota Hilux – possibly the toughest pickup truck ever made. Interestingly, the Hilux isn’t officially sold in the country renowned as the home of pickup trucks

Yes, it says a lot that the Hilux has enjoyed market resilience for decades despite its absence from the North American market. If you're in the market for a vehicle that can take a beating and keep on trucking, the Hilux is the answer to your prayers. 

Related Reading: The 2024 Ford Ranger Is Coming To A Dealership Near You: Everything We Know So Far 

How The Toyota Hilux Earned The Reputation Of Indestructible

The unbreakable pickup truck - 1988 Toyota Hilux via Bring a Trailer.

Let's start with the basics. The Hilux has been around since the late 1960s, and since then, it has built a reputation as a workhorse that can handle any terrain, any load, and any challenge. 

It's not just tough - it's practically indestructible. And that's not just hyperbole, folks. The Hilux has gotten subjected to some of the most extreme tests imaginable, from being driven up a volcano to being dropped from a building, and it has come out on top every time. 

So what makes the Hilux so tough? For starters, it's built like a tank. The body is of high-strength steel, and the frame got designed to withstand serious punishment. 

The suspension system is also top-notch, with heavy-duty components that can handle even the roughest terrain. And let's not forget about the engine - the Hilux is available with a range of powerplants, from a fuel-efficient diesel to a burly V6. 

No matter what your needs are, there's a Hilux engine that can get the job done. 

The 1988 Toyota Hilux’s Four-Cylinder Powertrain Is Beside The Point

Th indstructible pickup truck - 1988 Toyota-Hilux-LN65-engine via Canary Island Rover.

Now, we won’t bore you with all the technical jargon, but let's just say that the Hilux came with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that could really pack a punch. And by "pack a punch," we mean it could probably outrun a tortoise on a good day. 

But hey, don't let that fool you! The Hilux was a trusty workhorse that could handle just about anything you threw at it. Need to haul some heavy loads? No problem. Want to take it off-road? You got it. Want to impress that cute girl down the street with your rugged, manly truck? Well, maybe not, but you get the idea. 

We decided not to dive into the technicalities because the ‘88 Hilux used various engine capacities ranging from 1.8-liter petrol to 2.8-liter diesel inline-4s. There were a choice of 4- and 5-speed manual gearboxes and a 4-speed automatic across the range. 

The point is, the most powerful mill for the 1988 Hilux was a 1.8-liter petrol inline-4 that could churn out a whopping 82 horsepower. Halleluiah. 

All in all, the 1988 Toyota Hilux was a solid performer that could get the job done. And if you're lucky enough to still have one, we say hold onto it for dear life and never let it go. Or, you know, sell it for a cool million dollars and retire early. Your call. 

It’s The Chassis, Baby! It’s The Chassis!!

The unbreakable pickup - 1988_toyota_hilux chassis via Bring a Trailer.

The 1988 Toyota Hilux chassis and frame? Now that's a topic that gets our motor running. This bad boy had a frame that was tougher than a two-dollar steak. It got built to withstand all kinds of abuse, from hauling heavy loads to bouncing around on rough terrain. 

You could practically drive it through a brick wall, and it would still come out the other side with a smile on its grille. And the chassis? Don't even get us started. It was like a rock-solid foundation for the whole truck. 

You could stack a mountain of cinder blocks on the bed, and the chassis would just shrug it off like it was nothing. It was like the Hulk of truck frames, only with better gas mileage. In short, the 1988 Toyota Hilux chassis and frame were built to last. 

They were like the Energizer Bunny of truck components - they just kept going and going and going. So if you're looking for a tough, reliable truck that can handle anything you throw at it, you’re making a mistake by overlooking that weathered ‘88 Hilux in the barn. 

Just don't be surprised if it starts flexing its muscles and challenging other trucks to arm-wrestling contests. It's a little full of itself, but we love it anyway. 

How’s The Interior In The 1988 Toyota Hilux?

Indestructible pickup - 1988_toyota_hilux_interior via Bring a Trailer.

Well, We can paint you a picture: imagine a world where plastic is king and beige is the reigning color of choice. That's right, the Hilux interior was a veritable palace of beige plastic. But hey, at least it was easy to clean. 

The seats were about as comfortable as a park bench, and the dashboard was as basic as they come. You had your standard gauges, your radio, and... well, that's pretty much it. If you were lucky, you might have some air conditioning, but don't count on it. 

But you know what? The Hilux didn't need fancy gadgets or plush seats to get the job done. “Comfy cabin” isn’t how it earned the title of “indestructible.” It was a truck, damn it, and it was proud of it! 

It didn't care about creature comforts or fancy features. All it cared about was hauling stuff, going off-road, and getting the job done. 

So while the 1988 Toyota Hilux interior might not have been the most luxurious or stylish, it was functional and reliable. And really, isn't that all that matters in a truck? 

Plus, you could always spice things up with some funky seat covers and a few air fresheners. Who needs leather seats when you've got a pine-scented tree dangling from your rearview mirror? 

Related Read: Meet The Small But Mighty 500-Horsepower Telo Truck MT1, A New Electric Pickup By US Startup Company 

What About Fuel Economy?

1988_toyota_hilux fuel economy via Bring a Trailer.

First, let's talk handling. Now, we’re not saying the Hilux was a sports car, but it could certainly handle its own on the road. 

Sure, it wasn't the most nimble or agile truck out there, but it could take a corner like a champ. Just don't expect to win any races against a Ferrari. 

As for fuel economy, let's just say that the Hilux wasn't exactly a Prius. It was more like a thirsty camel in the desert, always on the lookout for its next drink of gasoline. You could practically hear the engine slurping fuel like it was a milkshake. 

It had an EPA-estimated 20 MPG of combined city and highway driving, although Fuelly found a combined average MPG of 18.26, based on data from three ’88 Hiluxes. But hey, our watchword here is “unbreakable,” not fuel efficiency. 

The Hilux got built to work hard and play hard, and it didn't care about silly things like fuel efficiency. Okay, fine. Fuel efficiency isn't "silly." In any case, the 1988 Toyota Hilux was all about getting the job done, no matter how much gas it took. 

So if you're looking for a truck that can handle itself on the road and doesn't care about fuel economy, the 1988 Toyota Hilux might just be the truck for you. 

Just be prepared to make friends with your local gas station attendant. You'll be seeing a lot of him. Fuelly reported 139 trips to the gas station in 36,251 miles of driving. How bad or how good is that? Depends on the driver. 

The Modern Hilux Is Built For Work And Play

Toughness is just one part of the Hilux equation. This truck is also incredibly versatile, with a range of features that make it perfect for any job. 

Need to haul a heavy load? The Hilux can handle it. Need to go off-road? The Hilux can handle that too, with features like four-wheel drive and a locking rear differential. And if you need to tow a trailer, the Hilux has got you covered - it can tow up to 3.5 tons without breaking a sweat. 

But the Hilux isn't all work and no play. This truck is also surprisingly comfortable and well-appointed, with a range of features that make it a joy to drive. 

The interior is spacious and well-designed, with plenty of room for passengers and cargo alike. And with features like a touchscreen infotainment system, climate control, and even heated seats, you'll feel like you're driving a luxury vehicle. 

The 1988 Toyota Hilux Refuses To Die

The unassuming profile of the midsized pickup truck known as the ‘88 Hilux contributes to the astonishment of its legendary strength. This could very well be the toughest pickup truck of the 20th century, considering the willful abuse it’s been subjected to just to test its limits. 

The BBC’s Top Gear intentionally collapsed a 23-story building on it, rammed it into a tree, sank it in the sea, set it on fire, and did a couple of other devilish things to the ‘88 Hilux – all in a bid to see how much the unbreakable pickup could take. The Hilux responded by emerging from each ordeal with a devilish grin. 

Yeah, we all love the modern Toyota Hilux. They look much cooler and have gotten impressively smarter. However, the 2023 Toyota Hilux could never jostle for the "indestructible" crown with the 1988 model that's worked in farms and fought wars everywhere, from the Middle East to Australia to South Africa. 

You can now scroll back to watch that YouTube video of the guys at Top Gear abusing the truck.

* The email will not be published on the website.