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Off-Road Kalashnikov
October 21, 2010 11:29 AM   Subscribe

"It’s the vehicular equivalent of the AK-47. It’s ubiquitous to insurgent warfare. And actually, recently, also counterinsurgent warfare. It kicks the hell out of the Humvee." It may suck to drive, but the tough and agile Toyota Hilux is the insurgent's vehicle of choice in Afghanistan. U.S. Special Forces prefer the comparable American-built Toyota Tacoma.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot (83 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
A "cartel grade" armored Hilux is featured prominently in Gibson's latest, Zero History.
posted by rusty at 11:33 AM on October 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, where does an insurgent go to get these serviced under warranty? And does it is cover running like hell from enemy fire?
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:34 AM on October 21, 2010


So once I've got my Hilux, an AK-47, a Casio F91W, and a Nokia 1100, what's next for my Cheap 'n' Indestructible Third-World Chic collection?
posted by theodolite at 11:36 AM on October 21, 2010 [21 favorites]


Reality is a strange one.
[C]ounterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen ... began to notice a new tattoo on some insurgent Afghan fighters. It wasn’t a Taliban tattoo. It wasn’t even Afghan. It was a Canadian maple leaf.

When a perplexed Kilcullen began to investigate, he says, he discovered that the incongruous flags were linked to what he says is one of the most important, and unnoticed, weapons of guerrilla war in Afghanistan and across the world: the lightweight, virtually indestructible Toyota Hilux truck.
A series of twists that would seem ridiculous in a work of fiction, but there you go: Canadian Pride from insurgent Afghan fighters, because of legit Toyotas.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:39 AM on October 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


theodolite: you'd certainly need a rocket launcher and some Scuds.
posted by bardophile at 11:40 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, where does an insurgent go to get these serviced under warranty? And does it is cover running like hell from enemy fire?

A warrantly would be a waste of their money. The blokes on Top Gear tried their best to destroy one - they drowned it, they burned it, they hit it with a wrecking ball, but the truck just. Wouldn't. Die. Short of blowing it up, it seemed to be indestructible. A few (dozen) bullet holes are but a flesh wound.
posted by daniel_charms at 11:41 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


So once I've got my Hilux, an AK-47, a Casio F91W, and a Nokia 1100, what's next for my Cheap 'n' Indestructible Third-World Chic collection?

A router.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:41 AM on October 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure where you make the leap from Maple Leaf to Hilux.

Regardless, someone should tell Gibson, he could incorporate it into his next book.
posted by Keith Talent at 11:43 AM on October 21, 2010


theodolite: "So once I've got my Hilux, an AK-47, a Casio F91W, and a Nokia 1100, what's next for my Cheap 'n' Indestructible Third-World Chic collection?"

How about some malaria fighting Gin & Tonic?
posted by pwnguin at 11:46 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aw man, this makes me miss my '94 Toyota Pickup. The 22RE engine is practically indestructible*. Now I have a Prius. It's nice and all, but not the same.

*Unless your timing chain slips off and sprays metal shards into the engine, of course.
posted by electroboy at 11:54 AM on October 21, 2010


An experiment conducted by British TV show Top Gear in 2006 offers one explanation. The show’s producers bought an 18-year-old Hilux diesel with 190,000 miles on the odometer for $1,500. They then crashed it into a tree, submerged it in the ocean for five hours, dropped it from about 10 feet, tried to crush it under an RV, drove it through a portable building, hit it with a wrecking ball, and set it on fire. Finally they placed it on top of a 240-foot tower block that was then destroyed in a controlled demolition. When they dug it out of the rubble, all it took to get it running again was hammers, wrenches, and WD-40. They didn’t even need spare parts.

...wow.
posted by contessa at 11:55 AM on October 21, 2010 [19 favorites]


That Top Gear segment is incredible.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:58 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


So you're saying these trucks, they're practically indestructible?
posted by gottabefunky at 11:58 AM on October 21, 2010


The Top Gear episodes with the Hilux are fantastic. They also drove one to the North Pole, and across a field of several-hundred-degree lava (with improvised water cooling for the tires). The smashed-but-working Hilux from the demolition episode is now a permanent backdrop on their set.
posted by miyabo at 12:00 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


A warrantly would be a waste of their money. The blokes on Top Gear tried their best to destroy one - they drowned it, they burned it, they hit it with a wrecking ball, but the truck just. Wouldn't. Die. Short of blowing it up, it seemed to be indestructible. A few (dozen) bullet holes are but a flesh wound.

You forgot about putting it on top of a high rise that was then imploded. Skip to about 2:30 for a crowning moment of heartwarming and awesome.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:00 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Curse you, contessa!

*shakes fist*
posted by zombieflanders at 12:01 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


When they dug it out of the rubble, all it took to get it running again was hammers, wrenches, and WD-40.

No, they didn't. The video didn't show any such demolition, and getting it running from the ocean required hosing out the engine compartment. I'm also really surprised they put a oily engine and fuel tank in the ocean and didn't get smacked with a major fine.

My brother drove our Ford F150 into the farm lake one summer, and didn't own up to until dad asked where the truck was at the next day. Fucked up the water supply and we had to run it through some improvised filters. The truck still ran fine, but the seats took months to dry out.

Pretty much any vehicle will still be drivable after the front end damage they show; you can see this all the time on the roads around here.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:03 PM on October 21, 2010


Is it JUST me, or are some of you REALLY looking into the Hilux right now as an option?...you know, if we were to become douchebag SUV owners.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:06 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


They are also often referred to as technicals.
posted by phyrewerx at 12:07 PM on October 21, 2010


No, they didn't. The video didn't show any such demolition

Yes, it did. There's multiple cameras inside and outside the Hilux showing it going down with the rest of the building, as well as footage of it buried in the rubble and being dug out.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:09 PM on October 21, 2010


The award for best link to a non-existent wiki page goes to...

phyrewerx!
posted by Mister_A at 12:11 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Four door trucks just make me sad. If you can't carry a 4x8 sheet of something either in or on the rails to the bed without having a quarter of it hanging out the back, you've got a insipid look-I'm-a-tough-guy vanity vehicle, not a truck (yes, I am aware of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy, thank you). The mere fact that the big complaint is that their automatic transmission is lousy just goes to show you how dilute and adulterated the old mainstay of people who do stuff™ has become.

What I'd give to have a small diesel Hilux in America with which to carry the salvaged materials I'm carting out to WV to build my rustic Joe-capsule...but god forbid anyone look like they're working folk. It's the era of bling, of endless plastic cladding, all striving for the meanest, ugliest look possible, with the most effete accessory list to match. You just can't get a plain ol' truck anymore, at least in the USofA, which is odd, because we sort of made the truck our national vehicle.

Mind you, my truck is an MX5 and a trailer, but I happen to enjoy hypocrisy.
posted by sonascope at 12:12 PM on October 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm on my second Tacoma. Neither has ever needed any repairs except for consumable parts, like tires and brake shoes. Neither has ever broken down or failed to start. (I'd probably still be driving the first one except that Toyota recalled it because the frame was not properly coated, making it susceptible to rust. They paid me far more than market value for it, so the second truck was almost a freebie.)

When I bought the first one in the mid 1990s, the salesman actually told me it was the terrorist truck of choice. It is still the only pickup truck they sell (it's a used-car place) because they never have to deal with dissatisfied customers returning them.

I think terrorists should start rating other products. What's their favorite refrigerator? Lawn mower? Dehumidifier? Computer? Blu-ray player? (Which are all things that have prematurely broken down on me lately.)
posted by Camofrog at 12:13 PM on October 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


You know terrorists could probably give you great recommendations for, at minimum, sturdy laptops and camcorders.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:19 PM on October 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is it JUST me, or are some of you REALLY looking into the Hilux right now as an option?...you know, if we were to become douchebag SUV owners.

I'm not a big truck fan in general, but damn...if the shit ever hit the fan I'd kinda want one of these in my garage.
posted by contessa at 12:23 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Previously mentioned in this amazing AskMe thread: Cheap but bombproof.
posted by swift at 12:27 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dear god, that guy reviewing the Hilux just doesn't get it, does he?

The three things he slates it for are the steering (which may well be valid), the plastics and the gearbox.

How can you base your review on the vehicle's indestructable reputation and then complain because the dashboard is indestructable? It's made from solid, long lasting plastics that are designed to be washed down with a mop and bucket, not a bottle of seal tears and a cloth made from mermaid hair.

And he complains that the thing has an Automatic gearbox. I'll give him that. Toyota should know better than to put a fucking slushbox onto a vehicle that's actually supposed to work for a living. Get hold of one with a proper gear box and try again.

I know I have a deep seated hatred for autos, but an auto on a workhorse...? Really?
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 12:29 PM on October 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Consumer Terrorist Report is a magazine waiting to be published.
posted by Cranberry at 12:30 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


We had a red 1987 single cab, with swooshy white stripes down the sides. A classic. Feeling very nostalgic right now.
posted by carter at 12:32 PM on October 21, 2010


These are diesel trucks. We cannot get small diesels here in the good ol USA (in a truck). Which is the total shits. My FJ62 Land Cruiser would get 23 mpg with the turbo 6 diesel that was available overseas, as it is with the 6 cyl gasser, 12 FMPG (that's effing miles per gallon). Why no one will offer a utilitarian small diesel truck here is beyond my comprehension.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 12:35 PM on October 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Toyota holds a small but special part in Australia's history. Landcruiser was first imported into Australia in 1958 to work on our most famous engineering feat.

It immediately gained a reputation for being a very reliable vehicle – better than anything around - and it played an important part in helping develop Australia's mining riches in extremely remote areas.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:38 PM on October 21, 2010


What I'd give to have a small diesel Hilux in America..

I'm interested in the Mahindra, which is supposed to start selling in December 2010 (although they've been saying that for a couple years now). 30 mpg turbo diesel, 7 foot bed. There's really no one making a small truck these days, except for Ford, and the Ranger has a reputation for being awful.
posted by electroboy at 12:38 PM on October 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


zombieflanders: Yes, it did. There's multiple cameras inside and outside the Hilux showing it going down with the rest of the building, as well as footage of it buried in the rubble and being dug out.

Not in the video linked. Are you referring to some other video?
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:40 PM on October 21, 2010


Previously mentioned in this amazing AskMe thread: Cheap but bombproof.

I.. I think I just posted that thread from my time machine.

seriously - I was typing up an almost identical AskMe when I saw this comment.
posted by theodolite at 12:43 PM on October 21, 2010


A childhood friend bought a Toyota FJ40 diesel over 30 years ago. It's needed a body re-do, but it's still running well.

I really wish they'd import small diesel-powered trucks into North America. As others have stated, all you can get is oversized, Americanized show-trucks.

Disclaimer 1) I once owned a Lada NIVA. great, nimble little vehicle design, but built like shit. leaky differentials, camshaft carved uo after 30,000km

Disclaimer 2) I currently have a 2000 Xterra 6-cyl. Before the eco-police fire up the potato cannon, please note that it's not a daily driver; it was purchased and only gets used for towing a sailboat, hauling tools and stuff, and for really snowy days. our daily driver (when we need it) is a Honda Civic.
posted by Artful Codger at 12:45 PM on October 21, 2010


My Ford F150 blew out a spark plug a couple of years ago. Stripped out the threads, right out of the head. Turns out it's a common flaw, a serious design defect. Ford won't honor repairing it under warranty, as they disingenuously claim that replacing spark plugs is routine maintenance. Through some clever legal gymnastics, they headed off a class action lawsuit that would have likely bankrupted them.

The thing just quit on me last year, just quit running while driving down the road. Had it towed. Next day, the mechanic couldn't find a thing wrong with it - and he is a really, really good mechanic. Can't fix what you can't find, though.

There are various things wrong with the thing, minor things, but it's going to start nickel and diming me. I am not thrilled with it - I like it well enough, but it gives me a little anxiety.

We have had a couple of Toyotas. The retractable radio antenna broke on the Forerunner, a very common problem on them. That's it, though. Toyota is the best damn vehicle manufacturer on the planet, hands down, bar none. Second is even close.

I would love to trade in my Ford for a Toyota, but I am going to have to wait for awhile.
posted by Xoebe at 12:47 PM on October 21, 2010


Not in the video linked. Are you referring to some other video?

Yes. The one I linked to in my 1st post in the thread.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:52 PM on October 21, 2010


This thread has moved me to rename my truck (1991 Dodge W250) "the Technical."

sonascope: If you're looking for an honest old-fashioned truck, check out some 1980s/1990s Dodges. The styling and (lack of) amenities really doesn't get any more "Hey Fuck You I'm a Truck" than those.
posted by rusty at 12:54 PM on October 21, 2010


Great. Now I'll have to listen to the local nutjobs telling me how I should boycott Toyota because they provide trucks to the terr-ists.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:58 PM on October 21, 2010


I never owned a Toyota pickup, but I did have an '84 Nissan that was their version of it. I put nearly 280K miles on it, and it was still running when I traded it in for a Volkswagen Fox.

Worst car buying mistake I ever made.

That truck had such a bad case of rust that I had to put in some plexiglass to replace the floor that had been completely eaten through, and I still managed to get it up to 120 on a deserted interstate racing my friends '74 Dodge Dart. I once had an electrical fire under the dash and was pulling fuses with my leatherman, while still driving it. It never died.

I miss that truck. It was the transportation which shuttled me from being a punk teenager to being a productive adult.
posted by quin at 1:04 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had a Mazda B2600 pickup that went 180K on one clutch, tires, and brakes. Never another repair. Much of that was longhaul roadwork (I was a musician) so I didn't shift all that much.

It died only when a 60 foot alder tree blew over and flattened it. I bet it would have given me 250K.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:36 PM on October 21, 2010


Somewhat related, a fascinating Fresh Air interview about the Kalishnikov.
posted by Camofrog at 1:43 PM on October 21, 2010


Not in the video linked. Are you referring to some other video?
Yes. The one I linked to in my 1st post in the thread.


Buried mid-way down the page, and not part of the OP. Explains why I missed it.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 2:00 PM on October 21, 2010


Heh, as along time Toyota truck owner and modifier, I say, "Neat post."

I drank the Toyota truck Kool Aid some years ago. I have a 1986 Toyota 4x4 pickup (as the Hilux was sold in the U.S.) with a factory turbo EFI motor, now heavily modified and stupidly fun; I actually host a forum dedicated to the turbo Hilux, rare beast that it is. I'm also have a 2002 Tacoma Double Cab PreRunner, which I'm converting from automatic to manual and from 2wd to 4wd -- the manual trans and the transfer case are in and working, and the front drivetrain is being prepped and will go in shortly.

So, um, yeah: these are great and incredibly reliable trucks. It's a damn shame we never saw the great diesel powerplants the rest of the world saw, but even with the gasoline motors, these are fine little beasties.
posted by mosk at 2:00 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


electroboy: Alas, it looks like the Mahindra won't be coming after all.

The basic four cylinder stickshift Ford Ranger is actually quite a nice little truck. It's reliable and durable, but gets pilloried in the pathetic automotive press here because it hasn't been "upgraded," restyled, or otherwise fancied-up in a long, long time. God forbid you come up with a simple design that does its job for a long, long time without being constantly restyled to suit social fads. This is why, when I do buy myself a little truck to support myself as a gentleman craftsman and raconteur electronique, it'll either be a Ranger or a Citroën fourgonette (depending, of course, on how successful I am as a gentleman craftsman and raconteur electronique, because fourgonettes are expensive as hell in the US).
posted by sonascope at 2:07 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ford won't honor repairing it under warranty, as they disingenuously claim that replacing spark plugs is routine maintenance.

Replacing spark plugs is routine maintenance. I'm not sure why you think that claim is erroneous. In addition, re-tapping spark plug holes really isn't a big job if you have the right kit.

Not that I'm saying the F150 should be excused it's faults.
posted by Brockles at 2:07 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


sonascope wrote: "Four door trucks just make me sad. If you can't carry a 4x8 sheet of something either in or on the rails to the bed without having a quarter of it hanging out the back,"

The extended cab F-150 has the same bed length options as the crew cab. I got one as an "upgrade" from Avis last year, and it felt more like driving a tall Crown Vic than a truck. It towed pretty well, though. But then, so did the FJ Cruiser.
posted by wierdo at 2:22 PM on October 21, 2010


It's been known for decades that the humvee wasn't cutting it as a Fast Attack Vehicle - too thirsty, too big, doesn't carry enough stuff in its standard config because the drivetrain's in the way.

Ironically, with the Jeep's new "upsized" Wrangler, it's too big and thirsty, too... the Tacoma probably is the best option out there for a FAV - holds four plus all of their crap plus a few days supply, can go pretty much anywhere, is rock solid reliable under all conditions and easy to wrench on.
posted by Slap*Happy at 2:46 PM on October 21, 2010


Robert Fisk quoting an unknown Afghan fighter:
"There can be no Jihad without Toyota".
posted by fingerbang at 3:00 PM on October 21, 2010


It's been known for decades that the humvee wasn't cutting it as a Fast Attack Vehicle - too thirsty, too big, doesn't carry enough stuff in its standard config because the drivetrain's in the way.

I nearly fell over when I saw how minute the inside of a military Hummer was for the first time. How do you make a vehicle that big but have zero room inside?
posted by Brockles at 3:02 PM on October 21, 2010


Sonascope, depending on your state laws, you might find a Japanese Kei Pickup to be eccentric (and practical) enough for you.

A few thousand $ can get you 4x4 with locking differentials and hi/lo range. And you're taken with the simplicity of the Hilux, then you'll love the interior decor. ;)

I've got a microvan and love it. It's no afghan warlord-mobile, but it gets the job done.
posted by anthill at 3:11 PM on October 21, 2010


Surprised it got this far down for someone (me in this case) to mention that Toyota utes were so ubiquitous and useful that they got a goddamned war named after them.
posted by wilful at 3:16 PM on October 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


So once I've got my Hilux, an AK-47, a Casio F91W, and a Nokia 1100, what's next for my Cheap 'n' Indestructible Third-World Chic collection?

You obviously need yourself an RPG-7.
posted by pompomtom at 3:20 PM on October 21, 2010


Is it JUST me, or are some of you REALLY looking into the Hilux right now as an option?...you know, if we were to become douchebag SUV owners.

A Hilux is NOT and "SUV", it's a UV, this is not a vehicle for fat faux cowboys. This is a truck for real cowboys.
posted by atrazine at 3:56 PM on October 21, 2010


hal_c_on: Is it JUST me, or are some of you REALLY looking into the Hilux right now as an option?...you know, if we were to become douchebag SUV owners.

Here's the thing - SUVs are simply playing at being this tough. They're all the idea of being suburban bad-ass, but with nothing to back that up. SUV owners are seen as pretentious because they have big, expensive vehicles that don't get taken off-road for fear of getting their toy messy. Those sort of people wouldn't buy a Hilux because they're ugly trucks (seriously, do any of these look appealing?). (I'm only speaking of people who buy SUVs for the appearance, not because they need to have high clearance and enclosed space for a bunch of kids and the associated stuff.)
posted by filthy light thief at 3:59 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


You just can't get a plain ol' truck anymore, at least in the USofA,

That's not really true. For about $20k or a bit less you can buy a Ford Ranger or a single cab Tacoma, both in 4wd and low on amenities. The Nissan Frontier can be bought with a 4 cyl engine and 4wd in the same price range, too.

So sure, none of them are diesels, and they are designed for normal American uses and legal requirements, as compared to the Taliban models sold throughout the developing world. But they are straightforward vehicles with rugged drivetrains and decent ground clearance, and can maintain modern highway speeds (which my old 22RE-powered Toyota never could).
posted by Forktine at 4:07 PM on October 21, 2010


Extended cab can be useful for farmers, when they run labor-intensive operations. We used an extended cab F-150 to get people and potatoes in and out of the fields. More practical than bringing a 2nd vehicle. I do agree with sonascope that a truck with a 5-1/4' bed is impractical for many uses though (but your 4x8 is going to hang 2' off the 6' bed of the regular-cab tacoma).
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 4:49 PM on October 21, 2010


There's even a conflict named for this vehicle: The Toyota War - the last phase of the Libyan invasion of Chad.

I remember this series of battles from my war-nerd childhood when it happened. A numerically superior Libyan army with the best equipment oil money could buy was completely outmaneuvered and defeated by Chad and their forces in Toyota trucks.

The battles and tactics used were especially interesting. The Libyan base assaulted by hundreds of these trucks, driving 50-60 mph down the flat desert, too fast for the Russian tanks of the period to get a decent firing solution, launching slashing attacks and then disappearing and then reappearing on another flank, until the Libyans completely panicked and lost any semblance of order.
posted by honestcoyote at 5:32 PM on October 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Until this thread I had no idea that you can't get a light diesel truck in the states. What the hell, America?
posted by keratacon at 7:01 PM on October 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm interested in the Mahindra ... There's really no one making a small truck these days, except for Ford, and the Ranger has a reputation for being awful.

Yeah, so what you want is an Indian truck.
posted by Dasein at 7:01 PM on October 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's the thing - SUVs are simply playing at being this tough.

Except the SUV based on the Tacoma - the 4-Runner. That's a tough truck.

Until this thread I had no idea that you can't get a light diesel truck in the states. What the hell, America?

Diesel engines are more expensive, and emissions standards are tougher in the U.S. Without needing serious hauling power in smaller trucks, and with cheap gas, it hasn't necessarily made sense. That might change in the future.
posted by Dasein at 7:06 PM on October 21, 2010


Brand new from Toyota:
Cup holders for soda
To sip while you cruise the land;
A pipe to pollute from;
Four doors you can shoot from,
Should foreigners happen to stand.

Behold the new pickup:
Designed for the stick-up;
A tailor-made getaway car.
A criminal's dream;
A reason to scream,
And to scurry away from here, far.

The Toyota Hilux:
A Humvee for pilux
To drive to the latest war;
A target to hit;
A sweet chariot,
Disguised as a four-by-four.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:21 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


So once I've got my Hilux, an AK-47, a Casio F91W, and a Nokia 1100, what's next for my Cheap 'n' Indestructible Third-World Chic collection?

Grinding poverty
posted by the noob at 8:32 PM on October 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


can maintain modern highway speeds (which my old 22RE-powered Toyota never could

Something must've been wrong with your Toyota. I never had any trouble maintaining 75 or so in mine.
posted by electroboy at 9:04 PM on October 21, 2010


The Toyota Hilux is also responsible for making Bugger the official swear word of New Zealand and promoting the sort of driving you don't see in ads anymore.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 10:12 PM on October 21, 2010



Something must've been wrong with your Toyota.


There were many things wrong with my Toyota. My truck had had a hard life before I got it, and owning it was a non-stop series of minor and major fixes. I liked it, and have had other (newer) Toyota trucks since then. But even a well-running Toyota of that vintage was working pretty hard at 75. It's not what they were built for, and compared to a modern vehicle they have a lot of shortcomings. (Try towing with one, for example.) For what they are, they are amazing trucks. But it's also easy to remember the good parts and forget the bad.

I've used recent Hilux's for project work overseas, and they are great trucks. For what they are designed for, they are really ideal; there's no mystery why the Taliban drive them.
posted by Forktine at 10:48 PM on October 21, 2010


In the mid to late 90s this road had corrugations so bad that it resembled a red dirt mogul ski slope. They called it a dancing road, because you couldn't help flopping about in your vehicle like you were moshing.

It was only really UN and military trucks, motorbikes and hiluxes that drove it. In many sections it was so bad that it was actually preferable to drive through the minefields alongside the road.

The first time my driver did that, I just about exploded. He turned to me with a huge grin, and said "These meen.. only small meen. But this hilux. Small meen take off one wheel only!"
posted by Ahab at 11:01 PM on October 21, 2010


My FJ62 Land Cruiser would get 23 mpg with the turbo 6 diesel that was available overseas, as it is with the 6 cyl gasser, 12 FMPG (that's effing miles per gallon). Why no one will offer a utilitarian small diesel truck here is beyond my comprehension.


Don't feel bad. My '83 FJ60 gets about 12 FMPG too. City, highway, towing, new carburetor, whatever. If I had to drive appreciably I'd drop it like a hot rock, but it's reliable and cheap for the odd days I'm not biking. Wish I could fix the rust though. I remember seeing the Landcruisers all the time during the first gulf war.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 11:03 PM on October 21, 2010


I love my f-150 4x4 and use the hell out of it As A Truck. .

The sides are scratched and dented from driving through the desert at unreasonable speeds. The bed looks like concrete alligators were wrestling in it. It's towed over-limit loads through miles of washes-that-I-got-confused-and-thought-were-roads with no complaint. It's towed an uncounted number of people stuck on roads they didn't belong on out.

But once the computer randomly went wonky for no reasonable explanation, and when I put the key in the lights in the cab would flash randomly. It happened while I was out of cell range and hundreds of miles away from home. A series of days involving a dealer telling me it would be fixing shortly led me to being stranded away from home for days.

When the truck inevitably catches on fire and dies a real death (since I've long said "I'm going to drive that truck until it is literally on fire", especially to the jackass salesman who tried to convince me to lease instead of buy because he clearly doesn't understand what a truck is for)...

I'll buy a Tundra.

(Cause I need 50 inches between the wheel wells. A tacoma won't cut it.)
posted by flaterik at 2:10 AM on October 22, 2010


Toyota should know better than to put a fucking slushbox onto a vehicle that's actually supposed to work for a living.

Don't knock automatics. Lots of real world heavy-duty equipment uses automatic gearboxes. Examples: The M1 Abrams weighs 60 tons, has a 1500 hp gas turbine and uses an Allison automatic transmission. The 500 hp, 50 ton Volvo L330E loader has an automatic. I can't comment on the specific Toyota transmission here, but automatic gearboxes are certainly not toys.
posted by Harald74 at 3:55 AM on October 22, 2010


Ahab wrote: "In the mid to late 90s this road yt had corrugations so bad that it resembled a red dirt mogul ski slope. They called it a dancing road, because you couldn't help flopping about in your vehicle like you were moshing. "

I have driven on far worse "roads" than that in my early 90s Accord. I should post a picture of the oil "pan" sometime. It's not very pan-like anymore. If you're nutty enough to drive fast enough, you can get a smooth ride on almost any road and plow through almost any depth of water. I am that nutty, and my undercarriage is a testament to that.
posted by wierdo at 6:43 AM on October 22, 2010


Alas, it looks like the Mahindra won't be coming after all.

Boo. I had high hopes for the Mahindra. The current Tacoma is way too big and the Ranger is a POS.

I suppose it's not a good sign when the North American Mahindra dealers have posted on their website a letter demanding Mahindra start importing trucks or face a lawsuit.
posted by electroboy at 6:58 AM on October 22, 2010


So, for my post apocalypse needs the Hilux is out of reach if I am in the US? I enjoyed one of the YT comments being, "drive a merc until it dies. Drive a Hilux until YOU die"

Well, what are my options and hey, in the post-apocalypse how am I supposed to get gasoline when all the gas station pumps are computer operated?
posted by jadepearl at 7:03 AM on October 22, 2010


Those little manhole covers in the gas station parking lot are for the underground tanks. You can either pump out directly using a hand pump, or lower down a small bucket on the end of a string, like in The Road.
posted by electroboy at 7:44 AM on October 22, 2010


Weirdo, trust me, your Accord would not have made Highway 6 in the nineties. These are pics of the road in 2001, after it had already had a bit of work done on it.
posted by Ahab at 8:56 AM on October 22, 2010


I'll buy a Tundra.

I would recommend against that. They're not built nearly as tough as the Tacoma. Go to your local Ford dealership and they will delight in showing you a comparison video of the F-150 and its competitors over their rough road course. The Tundra's frame flexes so much that the box hits the cab. They didn't get it right with the Tundra. Plus you can get an F-150 with an Ecoboost engine, which will save you a lot of gas in the long run.
posted by Dasein at 9:07 AM on October 22, 2010


I think this is the video.
posted by Dasein at 9:11 AM on October 22, 2010


Ahab, sure it would, with knobby tires, a winch, and speed. ;)

(OK, maybe not, but it will get through a surprising amount of shit..that first pic is nothing..the four foot deep water would be an issue, though)
posted by wierdo at 9:11 AM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


A couple years ago, I sold my L4 2wd regular-cab early-90s Hilux and bought a V6 4wd extended-cab mid-90s Tacoma. Barring some kind of horrible accident (or falling in love with a woman with more than two kids), I doubt I'll ever buy a car again.
posted by box at 10:47 AM on October 22, 2010


Thanks electroboy. I am going to check out those manhole covers to see what it needs to be popped open.
posted by jadepearl at 12:47 PM on October 22, 2010


These are pics of the road in 2001, after it had already had a bit of work done on it.

From a little further down that page:

In all, the [fried] spider tasted better than expected but not as good as the fried frog I ate in Phnom Penh.

I think after the road work they may want to work on the rest stop food.
posted by Forktine at 5:00 PM on October 22, 2010


Don't knock automatics.

Completely agree. It has nothing to do with driving enjoyment. From a reliability standpoint, automatic transmissions are mechanically tried-and-true. They're housed in sealed bulletproof casings. They are cheap to manufacture and easy to fix.

I had no idea that you can't get a light diesel truck in the states. What the hell, America?

The kinds of people that need and use Toyota pick-up trucks care far more about being able to conveniently fill up and get on with their work. And the fact is, until recently if you wanted to get diesel, ideally you would have lived near a major highway with a large rest stop nearby because that'd be your only chance of finding it. Gas on the other hand can be found everywhere.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:14 PM on October 22, 2010


It's possible to find old diesel Chevy Luvs, '70s/'80s Hiluxes and VW pickups (a guy in town has a VW biodiesel conversion with a big fuel tank in the bed. It's really goddamn awesome). All very cool little trucks.

But these trucks are mostly thirty years old or more, and I agree--in the American pickup Venn diagram, there's not a lot of overlap between 'compact' and 'diesel.'
posted by box at 6:41 PM on October 22, 2010


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