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Toyota HiLux MK6 (1998-2004)

Toyota HiLux MK6 (1998-2004)

4.2 from 33 reviews

Perfect in the right scenario

Bought a 2003 non-turbo diesel (5L-E) dual cab model back in 2017 so by this stage it's a 15 year old vehicle that's likely seen some work in its life. Indeed, it's sitting around 300,000km now, which isn't a huge problem for a diesel, but I had to look for one in decent shape inside the cabin.

I bought it as a second vehicle, to lug stuff around and do some camping. As it turns out, I'm driving this old workhorse more than my twin turbo sedan just because it's more fun!

Worth noting:
- It's a slow vehicle, and doesn't overtake at speed, so I'd be wary of doing long distance trips, which is a pity.
- it's noisy at speed, but that's partly to do with the engine and partly the all terrain tyres I've got fitted.
- fitting a child seat requires using an adaptor, as it doesn't come with everything standard. But it can be done, and my 3 year old loves riding in "the truck".

No reliability issues in the 18 months I've had it. Changing oil, oil filter, air filter and fuel filter are all very easy once you've done it a few times, and the oil is a necessity. The vehicle is noticeably different after a change.

I've heard people describe this non turbo diesel engine as bullet proof, and I've not seen any reason to doubt it. It's under stressed, and pulls well for it's age, although it was never a powerhouse to begin with (71kw/200nm). All of that is available around 2000 rpm though, so it works well.

I've installed a new stereo head and UHF radio, both tasks were really easy given the simple nature of the dashboard and engine bay (for wiring through UHF radio antenna).

Some people install an after market turbo to get a bit more go out of it, but for urban load lugging it's completely fine. It's the slowest vehicle I've ever owned but also the most engaging.

Note that there is a turbo diesel engine available in this model, but it looks exactly the same from the outside. It's got a bit more hair on its chest, but costs a few grand more as well.

Purchased in August 2017.

Build Quality
Value for Money
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
TransmissionManual
BoughtUsed
Year2003
Performance
Acceleration / Power
Handling
Braking
Suspension
Gear Shifting
Fuel Efficiency
Design
Interior Design
Boot Size
Features
Comfort

Like Father like Son

My Father had a second gen Hilux back in the day, then he bought me a 1990 extra cab SR5 4x4 which I still drive, then in 2003 I bought a SR5 dual cab 4x4 in silver. I’m telling you Hilux’s are with out a doubt the best all round vehicle on the market. My extra cab has 4460000km
And my 2003 has 342000km and neither has ever had a mechanical failure or let me down, also using them for work and play driving them in the city and county and getting respect from all the other tradies on site (you know Andy the guy that drives the Hilux”)
I drove the extra cab all through my P plate stage and as you probably know P platers are not the most cautious of motorists but ist still going strong, one of the thing that my Father Instilled in me was servicing your vehicle! Every 5000km change the oil and filter even if you need to go without food! Ha ha
If your looking for a good second hand Hilux look at the owner you will know if he or she really loves their Hilux and treated it like their child and not just a vehicle. I’ve still got that feeling every time I turn the key!!!

BadgeSR5
Engine Size3.0L Diesel
BodyUte
CabDual Cab
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedAug 2003
Drive4WD

Good Ute. :) But needs more power.

Reliable 4x4 ute. :) Bit slow, but snorkel and extractors opened it up so it would sit on 110kms on the highway, but not much faster than that. Mine has 300,000kms and still goes strong.

Yes, i would buy another. But would go for the V6 or 3ltr turbo diesel just for that extra over taking power vehicles.

Badge(No Badge)
Engine Size3.0L Diesel
BodyUte
CabDual Cab
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedJan 2017

Has been legendary

2001 model bought used 2003 ex govt vehicle, 2.7 motor nearly done 300,000 ks. Has been a great truck, reliable only problems I have had have been starter come loose ages ago, couple of cv boots, centre bearing, replaced clutch after 210, 000 other basics , like shocks and ball joints as well as an AC issue that were easily repaired. Mainly daily driver and every year go beach camping a couple of times, tows a boat. Poor old 2.7 starting to get tired, even though truck and motor has been awesome I do wish I had bought a turbo diesel from the beginning. Would have been more suited to what I use it for. Easy to work on and nice and simple keeps cost down. Get another couple years out of it, but most likely get a newer diesel truck but will miss this one when the time goes. Most likely if I had bought a TD diesel i would have rebuilt motor and kept this one going.

BadgeBasic Ute
Engine Size2.7L Petrol
BodyCab Chassis
CabDouble Cab
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedJul 2003
Drive4WD

this old Hilux is best ever!!

This car is never die. it is 1998 model with 2.7L dual cab. Very good working ute, at same time, can fit more people as well. If service can be done regularly, the engine is so good and realible. small parts need to be changed (eg alternator when comes to 230,000km), driver seat needs to be changed when it comes to 210,000km. other than that. it is awesome car.

BadgeWorkmate
Engine Size2.7L Petrol
BodyUte
CabDual Cab
TransmissionAutomatic
Date PurchasedAug 2011

Tough and powerful

This car isn't very fuel efficient, however, it is a very reliable and powerful car. It's towed my dad's Navara and camper trailer at the same time across the whole of Moreton island when the sand was too soft for them to cross. This car has never given me any trouble and I would buy it again, but the next car I will definitely be getting a turbo

BadgeSR
Engine Size3.0L Diesel
BodyUte
CabDual Cab
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedOct 2010
Drive4WD

Best Utility Ever!!!

We purchased this Hilux so I would have a tow vehicle & independence to take my horses away riding with my friends. Since purchasing this ute it's done allot of hard work & it now has 373,000km's on the clock! Although it's not a powerful towing vehicle it does the job in a sure steady manner & has NEVER let us down! Although the engine is getting pretty tired now & it's definitely lost some of its power especially on hills it still continues to perform reliably never missing a beat. Fuel economy is the only thing that's not great...I only manage approximately 450k's per tank & this is predominantly highway traveling 98+ kilometers per day to work & back. If I'm towing I'd easily lose 50 to 70 kms of fuel economy. The only other thing I'd mention is the metallic paint has oxidized badly but that's just cosmetic & of little concern to me at its age. It's still nice inside, velour seats, comfortable & tidy. Air conditioning is still working a treat! I really love this utility!!!

BadgeSR5
Engine Size2.7L Petrol
BodyUte
CabDual Cab
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedDec 2014
Drive4WD

Best vehicle ever

It is the best its anyone could buy. The engine has heaps of power. It has really bad fuel economy. I get about 350-400 km for a 60 l tank. The manual gearbox is so smooth. I would recommend this vehicle to everyone. There isn't anything I would change about it.

Badge(No Badge)
Engine Size3.4L V6 Petrol
BodyCab Chassis
CabDual Cab
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedJul 2015
Drive4WD

just keeps going

hilux 2.7 lt 2000 model done over 400,000 km ,got it just over 200,000 km,spent only on tyres,just replaced pads,exhaust,shockers,treat it like crap and just keeps going,used in farm,boat ramps,had it in salt water front wheels,no problems, get around 450-480 km on a tank,is a rough ride,seats needed to be better,handles like a set off ice skates on a wet road,tows anything,love this old car very happy custmer apart from fuel cost,ride

BadgeWorkmate
Engine Size2.7L Petrol
BodyUte
CabDouble Cab
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedMar 2006
1 comment
update,over 420,000km spent only on tyres,brakes pads/shoes,exhaust,front and back shockers,fuel pump,recently new rear drums and pads due to salt water rust due to towing boat at ramps,really needs new seats and better suspension best thing is no electric windows,air bags,trac control etc,all that electrionic crap to go wrong,if you dont care about safety sticking to petrol motor easy n cheap to fix

Exactly What I look for in a car

The first I need from a car is for it to start and go. 2nd thing is that it does this for 20 years (if required). Bought my 2.7L 4cyl petrol 5sp 2003 Dual Cab Hilux (aluminium tray) in 2006 for $18k with 40,000km now has 160,000km worth about $7k. It is not very comfortable when empty. Rear end bounces. I Love the vinyl floors, easy access engine bay, bullet proof mechanicals.
gets about 480-500km city from 55-58L fuel 10% ethan. Its a 60L tank. Not much difference with unleaded. Premium gets better mileage but not by much... maybe 40km more.
Still on the original rear break shoes (drum). Same with front rotors. Change the oil filter always makes a mess, there seems to be an amount of oil above the filter that dribbles everywhere when the filter is removed.
Very happy so far.
unstoppable.

Badge(No Badge)
Engine Size2.7L Petrol
BodyUte
CabDual Cab
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedJun 2006
DriveRWD

2003 Workmate converted to LPG. 130k and no issues. Getting 430km for $30.

Purchased form original owner with very low kms this is my daily hwy drive and often farm ute i service it as needed with mechanic mate as required in the book and have not had and issue. Mine was the very base so I have added 2nd hand AC form a wreck and all good. 4 years ago I fitted top system LPG as this toyota engine is LPG approved (has stickers) and halved my fuel costs. As above I get around 430km from $30 of gas and have dual fuel so twice the range. Starts auto on petrol and once warm converts to gas used LPG crew in Tullamarive. Very happy. Have replaced front shocks as i do long drive with no load and it bounces.

Yes it rides like a truck and having the bench seat sucks but to those who say that is a reason for a poor rating I say, you bought the wrong car. Load it up and rides smooth. I use my ute hard and it is often loaded with a tonne of wood from dozer and still going great. Only wish the new ones converted to LPG as well and I could buy decent 2nd hand buckets!

BadgeWorkmate
Engine Size2.7L Petrol
BodyUte
CabSingle Cab
TransmissionManual
DriveRWD
1 comment
Since review I have secured 2nd hand, same era, Hilux bucket seats for $330 refurbished from Smart Parts Ballarat. Significant improvement in ride comfort.

too many things worng

i only purchased toyota hilux utes for my business which run approx 12 of hilux utes, Toyota had once been hard to beat in product quality for 40+ years. However my experience with hilux utes mainly diesel auto 4wd versions the following issues ive had with little no interest from the Toyota Australia and generally thsy turn thier back on a once die hard toyota buyer. examples over the last 10 or so years include: Diff failing between 80k & 100k, i was told that i spin the wheels, my response was i'll give $100 if you can in the wet that was my 2004 diesel turbo not intercooled - gutless, then we hard Auto transmissions failing and theirs the injectors that need changing at the owners expense - apparently we all buy dirty fuel in Oz. then my landcruiser with its brakes totaling failing due a faulty ABS system but guess who had to pay the $4k to get that fixed yep me. i was told once again that i'm the only one that experienced that hmmmmm thier full of it! guess what i only buy Ford Ranger 3.2 diesel 4wd ute now, so far so good

Engine Size3.0L Diesel
BodyUte

Duraterrible

The good news is that 15 years and 265,000 kms and not a single breakdown or fault with it yet - that is the dura part of the duraterrible verdict. One cannot dispute that it has lasted and lasted well. My parents still have it and I drive it from time to time and the darned thing still goes like I remember it from the time before.

The terrible part is that it is just so god awful to drive - it always was and always will be. I don't know why they bothered with first gear on it when you can start off (from idle) in second and even third with a few revs and a bit of clutch riding. First gear is almost worthless at take off because no sooner than you have got moving you need to change up to second.

The ride and handling is rubbish, bordering on dangerous in corners. The front is set very soft (very bouncy) while the back is rock hard (not bouncy, just jittery and nervous) all this results in an almost comical twisting of the front half of the car while the back steadfastly refuses to follow suit until you hit a bump mid corner whereby you had best be right with God, because you very well could be on your way to meet him if there is an oncoming car in the other lane you now find yourself in.

All in all, I can see why Toyota got it's unbreakable reputation - they earned it with utes like this one. However unbreakable does not make it unbearable, which it is to drive.

The new ones while a bit better are not better enough to overcome it's horrid driving dynamics which is why when I went to buy a new ute for myself Toyota missed out on my $$$ given that for the same price Mum and Dad paid for their Hilux in 2000 I was able to get a brand new ute from another brand that drives like a car instead of a wooden pallet with a tractor engine.

BadgeSR
Engine Size3.0L Diesel
BodyUte
CabDouble Cab
TransmissionManual
DriveRWD
Date PurchasedNov 2000

Great Ute

I have both the single and dual cab and enjoy them both I have no complaints the inside driving access is the only issue and only for my two six foot plus sons the rear seat access is very good too, the load carring is good with a lot of weight in it.
reliable quiet powerfull
suspension is harsh when unloaded

Badge(No Badge)
CabDual Cab
Engine Size2.7L Petrol
TransmissionManual
DriveRWD

Great little truck

I bought my 2.7, 2001 cab chassis with ally tray with 40000k's on her and I am just coming up on 200000.. So far I have replaced the battery and tyres ( at 120000 k's by the way) and given her a wheel alignment.. That is the sum total of what I have spent.. Sorry, I replaced the front disc pads as well.. It never ever lets me down and I have worked it pretty hard.. I wouldn't change it for quids..

TransmissionAuto

Bad Service

My Hilux Workmate single cab worked tirelessly for10 years in my work as a landscaper. 2 years ago I went out to go to work and noticed the headlights were on.I tried to switch them off but they would not come off,I had to take the relay off.I took the car to Toyota in Deer Park and they said it needs new stalk and it was going to cost me around $300.About 4 days later same thing happened again.I took it back and they said that they have to get an electrician to look at it and I have to pay for it.I asked them what about the $300 I have paid.they would not give it back.I bought my car there,My wife bought a brand new corolla there as well,but never again in that place.since then I took the car to two different electricians and no one could find the problem.Now even my brake and oil light stay on when I switch off.

bad service

Engine Size2.7L Petrol

Hilux 2003

Drama after drama worse car ever owned. Gearbox had rebuilt twice. Diff go as well as starter motor
Tensioner bearing for timing chain. What next could understand if car had high Kms 200000 on clock.
Disappointed with car would recommend it to anyone over priced piece of [censored word removed]. Spend the extra get a landcruiser or a patrol.

1 comment
Got a 2001 4x4 3L non turbo 420000 on clock uses no oil still drives well no noises in either gearbox or diff I suppose it boils down to how you treat them (oil is cheap)

Issue with Air Bag Light Staying On

My HIlux is a D4D 2.5 liter diesel. It is a double cab, 4-wheel drive. I have been using this in Nassau, The Bahamas which is a fairly small island, so the mileage is fairly low - 45,583 km (28,181 mi). In all fairness, it has run rather well over the five plus years I have owned it since new, but recently the airbag light started staying on after the usual self-test on start-up.

The owner's manual suggested that I take it in to the dealer for a diagnostic test. I dropped it off early morning. By late morning, I received a call from the dealer advising that the test could not find anything. I was asked if I wished to authorize further manual and other checks. (I was previously advised that the computer check cost $65 per hour). I authorized another two hours maximum before being contacted again if nothing was found.

Late afternoon, I started calling the dealer since I was not hearing from them and expected to have the truck back by the end of the day. After about three calls, I was told by the maintenance supervisor that the diagnosis was that the spiral spring from the airbag/steering assembly needed to be replaced. I rushed down on by bicycle in order to beat the closing time.

I received a bill for the diagnosis of US$201.00 and then the bombshell. The spiral spring was not in stock in the parts department and had to be ordered from overseas at a cost of US$480.00. $480.00 for a spiral spring? It would be 14 working days before delivery. Luckily it is not a vital part. The truck is running perfectly except for that light staying on. Since I am old school and drove for many years without an airbag, it did not faze me one bit that it is possible that an airbag might not go off in an accident. But it certainly will affect my resale value since one of the first things that will be noticed is a light remaining on after the engine is started.

Well, well, was my Toyota brand failing me. I have been a loyal Toyota fan for over 18 years. Thirteen years with a '91 Corolla and five plus years with my Hilux and nothing like this until now.

I started doing some checks on the internet and found out that this problem with the spiral spring and the airbag light staying on are not uncommon with this era of Hilux. And that there are dealerships that have had to deal with as many as 15 Hiluxes over a significantly short period of time with this issue.

Is this is a flaw in the design? Is this is a possibility because of the frequency. If so, why hasn't Toyota done a fix and a recall of the vehicle?

The indomitable, indestructible reputation of the Toyota is being threatened here. Still, I love this truck and would still give it a 4 rating on a scale of 5. But I cannot imagine that something as simple as replacing a spiral spring to get rid of an airbag light staying on is going to cost me nearly $900.00.

I paid attention to the numerous recall of other Toyota vehicles in the recent past and hoped for the best.

Now I cannot conceal my disappointment and hope my brand loyalty remains after this episode.
Reliability, fuel consumption. low end torque, appearance, spaciousness for a mid-size.
Fragility of airbag system over time, no power wing mirrors, no intermittent wiper, weak horn.

TransmissionManual
6 comments
I have 2006 Hilux workmate, the air bag staying on. I took to toyota service. The diagnosis test cost about $AU 200.00 and to get it fix $800.00. Toyota I am very disappointing and recall this hilux workmate and get it fix.I have had same problem, clock spring... Can pick them up for $200 plus $100 to fit but will it stuff up in 2-5 years time also.I had the same problem, Price for the airbag in Aust, nearly $600.00, Price in China for Same part (OEM) A$10.00. Inspected old part and found nothing wrong. Part consists of approx 500mm of ribon wire, 2 brass conections and some plastic extrusions. I'm a Toyota fan but I think they have fallen asleep at the wheel. Bill Ottoman

Excellent

Great for its purpose (cheap vehicle for high mileage use), driver and passenger are comfortable. Have driven 1100klms in one day several times. Tows caravan and box trailer well. Came with good exterior mirrors.
2004 single cab 2.7 petrol converted to LPG
Cheap readily available parts. 206000klms at 1000klms / week, no problems
Powerful reliable, engine sounds good. Great radio/cd sound. Heaps for these around on the road. Runs $10 / 100klms on LPG.
poor turning circle, 2 seater 3rd person is very uncomfortable in the middle seat.

1 comment
I've just bought my 2003 2WD workmate. Only has 80,000km on the clock. Been on LPG only 4yrs. Absolutely love it even though I've stepped down from a Landcruiser. Agree with all the comments good and bad I've read, but it's so versatile and handy. Mine will also turn heads eventually even though it is white. Through networking, scrounging, mates and ebay it's already the best looking little ute of it's type in Warragul, and there's thousands of them there. It's a long way from being finished but a good project. Next step is a set of 27" mud terrains, only Maxxis come in that size unless you go up in rim diameter from 14". Lockright do make a Lokka difflock for the 2WD, it'll help getting around the farm paddocks. Had the exhaust modified to a twin system to make room for 2 more LPG tanks and a 60ltr water tank all under the tray. 2 side bins, 2nd starting battery under the bonnet, 2 deep cycle batteries, jerry can holders, gas bottle holders, 2 spare wheels etc etc

Excellent

Apart from the fact its not good for young kids, and you will have to get a second car for the first 6 months of babies life, its a great ute. Havnt had much problems with it, great for fuel for its size, just cant kill it! Had alot of fun with it and will be around for a long time yet! Definately look to buy another newer one later on, to have this one for the farm, but for another 10 years im happy using it daily!
Just love it. Got a space cab 4x4. Cant kill it! Wouldnt get anything but a 4x4. Great on fuel, doesnt use much extra fuel when towing.
Cant put a baby seat in the rearward facing position


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Questions & Answers

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