When buying a second hand four wheel drive, if it’s a Ute you’re after then it’s likely that you’ll have included the Toyota Hilux on your list of Utes to go and have a look at.  If you’re looking for a bargain, then the 1998 2.7 litre petrol Dual Cab could be just the one for you.   It’s a very capable off-road machine and probably one of the most easily modified vehicle on the market.  Everyone makes accessories for these trucks and without spending too much cash you could have the ultimate off-road adventure vehicle.

The 1998 model is the sixth generation of these trucks.  The first Hilux was produced way back in 1968, so this model of Toyota has quite a long history.

The 98 model fits into the 97 to 2001 shape release and was either a 2.7 litre petrol, which is what we are reviewing today, or you can also get them in a 3.0 litre diesel.  The diesel is great on the dirt and will get you just about anywhere, but as a touring truck, the 65 kilowatts of power and 197NM of torque make it quite sluggish, especially on the bitumen and up a hill.  Now don’t get me wrong, people swear by the diesel, and it is a very reliable motor.  It just needs a turbo to give it that extra bit of power to make it a great motor and many owners do opt to fit an aftermarket turbo.

The 98 Hilux is now 15 years old so it’s important to find one that’s been looked after and typically you’ll find them already fitted with a range of accessories.

This one has a bull-bar with driving lights and UHF Aerial mounted and this is a common accessory and well worth getting one with these all ready fitted.

A snorkel is also a common accessory that you’ll usually find on most Hilux’s.  Lift kits for the Hilux are very popular and they come from a variety of manufacturers and range from 2 inch to 4 inches of lift.

The 2.7 Litre Engine puts out 108kw of power and 235NM of torque.  It’s plenty of power for the average owner, but it is a little thirsty getting between 12 and 16 litres per 100k’s depending on your driving style.

Other typical accessories that you’ll likely get when buying second hand are rear canopies like this colour coded ARB model and of course a good set of roof racks is easy to fit and once again available from many different manufacturers.

This model came standard with steel wheels, but there are a large range of alloys available and a good set of all terrain tyres is an essential for off-road use and it would be unusual not to find these on most Hilux’s on the market.

Rear Bars and many other modifications are often great extras that will add to the value of this age car.  The rear is a live axle setup, but this model has independent front suspension which has restricted its off-road ability a little over the previous models solid front axle setup.

Dual Airbags and ABS were an option on this model, so you’ll find many fitted with these safety features.  If it does have the ABS fitted, The Hilux has a neat off-road function where the ABS is disabled at low speeds to aid in braking on loose surfaces.

The front approach angle is excellent, especially if the front bumper has been replaced with a decent bull bar.  Rear depart angle is OK, but it does bottom out every so often in places like this.  But put a lift kit on and that will help considerably.  However, even at the stock height it will clear most obstacles with ease.

Driving position and driveability of the Hilux is OK, the seats are comfortable enough but if you have adult rear passengers on board you’ll probably need to have the front seats forward for their comfort.

Leg room in the back of the Hilux isn’t fantastic, but it will seat an adult.  I’m not sure you would want to do a long trip sitting in the back, but it would fine for a young family with smaller kids.

We did a few water crossings in this review and even though it does have a snorkel, without one they go quite well over water.  Most of the electrics are well sealed and high up in the engine bay ensuring that water doesn’t become too much of a problem.

15 years old means these cars are going to have a few k’s on the clock and you’d be lucky to get one with less than 250 thousand kilometres.  But in terms of price, in 2013 dollars you’ll likely pay between $7000 and $10,000 depending on condition and accessories fitted.

Remember with this age of car to always be on the lookout for rust and mechanical issues such as torn CV boots on the front suspension.  Make sure you always lock in the front hubs and give it a drive in 4wd before buying to ensure everything is working fine.

Overall though, it’s a great car.  It doesn’t have too many bad points, but a few negatives would have to be fuel economy and also the fuel tank itself, which is only 77 litres.  This means you will probably only get about 500 kilometres out of a tank and for a long trip across somewhere like the desert, you’ll need to take a few Gerry cans.

In the off-road capability area the Independent front end does restrict it compared with the live axle, but not enough to look for an older model in my opinion.

All in all, a great choice for a second hand Ute!