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The Toyota Hilux, 5th Generation

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

5th Generation Toyota Hilux
5th Generation Toyota Hilux

The 5th generation Hilux was produced from 1988 to 1997. Big upgrades were coming!

We've all watched it but It was a 1988 5th generation 4x4 Hilux that was obtained by Jeremy Clarkson and the Top Gear team who had decided to give full vent to their passion for loud explosions and spectacular car crashes on that poor Toyota Hilux.

The Hilux they chose was a diesel which had been nicely run in having 305,775 km on the odometer. The Top Gear team were pretty determined that it would not accumulate many more kilometres on the clock before it arrived at a spectacular expiry date.

The team started out with some low level destructive antics such as driving the Hilux down stairs, something it was designed to do, and then they took it on a wild ride accidentally on purpose side swiping a few buildings, which was the sort of thing that the Hilux could survive quite nicely thank you very much. That’s part of how it came to be called the AK47 of vehicles. Jeremy Clarkson then crashed it into a tree, which also failed to stop it.

The next phase of the destruction derby was to see if it was able to survive a bit of nautical naughtiness. The poor Hilux was tethered to a boat mooring at low tide so that when the tide came in it would be under a few tons of salty seawater.

The tethers failed to hold the Hilux to its mooring, which was not the Hilux’s fault, and so the tide sucked out its windscreen and it finished up half buried in sea and sand, something that children at the seaside quite enjoy but Toyota Hilux's probably don’t. Nonetheless the Hilux was hauled out of the drink and the sand cleaned off. The flooded engine surprised many when it was able to be started and the chirpy little Hilux was able to be driven away.

Frustrated with the Hilux’s durability Clarkson proceeded to drive the Hilux through the Top Gear office, which was a wooden shed, which of course failed to do it any harm although the shed was a bit the worse for wear. They set fire to it – it stubbornly refused to burn, they dropped a caravan on it – it proved tougher than the caravan, and they hit it with a wrecking ball, which did some harm but failed to wreck it.

The final test was to lift the Hilux to the top of a block of flats that was going to be demolished by controlled explosion. When the explosives went bang the building collapsed in a cloud of dust and the Toyota disappeared. It wasn’t finished yet.

A digger was employed to dig the Hilux out of the rubble and the Top Gear mechanic did a bit of wreck side maintenance with the result that not only did the engine start, but they were actually able to drive the persistent little survivor away. You can see all the action in the Top Gear video series below:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

The 5th generation of the Hilux included the N80, N90, N100 and N110 models. The models remained based on the 4th generation but brought in new body styles. The Xtracab was given significantly more space behind the front seats so it could be fitted with rear seats to make it a 2+2, or with enough space for a couple of tool boxes and some golf clubs.

Power trains included some old familiar friends and some new faces. Starting with the most petite, the 2Y-U was a 1.8 liter inline four cylinder producing a modest 78 hp @ 5,000rpm and 100 lb/ft of torque @ 3,200 rpm: an engine for those for whom frugality at the fuel pump. For some export markets this engine was substituted for the equally petite 2Y inline four cylinder 1.8 liter (1,812 cc) producing 82 hp @ 4,800 rpm with 100 lb/ft torque @ 4,800 rpm. Both these engines were in production from 1988 until 1995.

This is our fifth instalment in an eight part series of blogs about the history of the Toyota Hilux right up to the current model. So follow along right here or on our Facebook page. Please share if you're a Toyota Hilux fan.

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Credit to Silodrome for the article.

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