Toyota is highly regarded in the United States for its trucks like the Tacoma and Tundra, but there’s one truck in the Toyota lineup that American drivers can’t afford. The Toyota Hilux was once considered one of the most innovative trucks on the road. The truck gained a positive reputation for its comfort and space at a time when most trucks were hard-working. But, it is not available in US stores. What gives?
Other vehicles are banned in the United States
The Toyota Hilux is just one interesting vehicle that has been banned in America. Several other desirable cars have also been banned, including the Land Rover Defender and the Nissan Skyline GTR.
While the word “ban” has connotations of scandal, most of these vehicles are only banned because of a law called the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act, or IVSCA.
According to Slash Gear, the IVSCA states that if a car can’t be bought in the United States, then it can’t be exported either. Because there are no Land Rover Defender models sold at Land Rover dealerships in the United States, a driver cannot simply import one.
The IVSCA does not apply to classic vehicles, though, and it defines classic vehicles as 25 years old. If your dream car is a classic exotic car, you won’t have to wonder how IVSCA does.
If you have a newer foreign car that you really want, you can take advantage of another exemption if you claim the car as a car for show and display. To do this requires a driver to drive the car only 2,500 miles per year, though.
Why you can’t buy a banned Toyota Hilux in the US
The Toyota Hilux is a revolutionary truck, but since the 90s, it has not been available in the United States. Toyota first sold the Hilux in America in 1969, and it was a well-thought-out truck.
Pickup trucks during that era were not designed with everyday driving in mind. The typical truck owner used his truck to help with farming or other tasks. The Toyota Hilux, meanwhile, offered more cabin space and a more comfortable ride.
Today, trucks are common everyday vehicles, but in 1969, the Hilux would be an anomaly. If it was seen as a private vehicle, then why was it banned? The main reason for the Hilux’s exit from US dealerships is the launch of another Toyota truck, the Tacoma.
In many ways, the Tacoma provided the same experience as the Hilux. It was designed to be both functional as a work truck and comfortable for everyday driving. So the Tacoma replaced the Hilux in the US and Toyota hasn’t sold the Hilux in America since.
Features of the new Toyota Hilux
Outside of the United States, the Hilux is still a popular Toyota model, and Toyota continues to produce the Hilux today. The Slash Gear article also points out that if a buyer really wants to drive a Hilux in the US, it’s still technically legal, but it comes at a huge cost. Imports like the Hilux come with a 25% surcharge, and since the Hilux is considered very similar to the Tacoma, paying the extra for the Hilux may not be worth it.
The Toyota Hilux isn’t the only renamed Tacoma, though, and it has plenty of features that continue to make it a modern pickup. According to HotCars, the Toyota Hilux is powered by a 204-horsepower 2.8-liter turbo engine. Unlike the Tacoma, the Hilux offers a diesel engine option.
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