Is it Illegal to Own a Toyota Hilux in America?
While you are more than likely familiar with the Toyota Tacoma, there is another small Toyota truck that the rest of the world gets. The Hilux has been around in some form or another since 1968, although the name was retired in the United States back in 1976. As a midsize truck, the Toyota Hilux is known for its tough-as-nails build quality. But is it legal to drive one in the U.S.?
Can you get a Toyota Hilux in the United States?
Believe it or not, getting a Toyota Hilux truck and legally driving it in the States is possible. There are a couple of ways this can happen. If you are into vintage trucks, you can try hunting down a Hilux built when Toyota sold them here. Although, that is easier said than done. Trucks like this weren’t always taken care of. So if you do find one, you will probably want to have some mechanical know-how.
If you want a newer Toyota Hilux, you can import one under the 25-year rule. This rule states that a vehicle must be 25 years or older to be imported to the United States. You’ll have to deal with things like fees and shipping, but if you really want this midsize truck, that might be worth it.
On the shady side of things, there might be some not-so-legal ways to get a Hilux. According to The Drive, someone managed to get a 2017 Toyota Hilux, which happened in Missouri. But who knows how registering something like that would go.
The Hilux is an almost indestructible truck
OK, so maybe this Toyota truck isn’t totally invincible, but it certainly has that reputation. Top Gear famously put a Hilux pickup through a series of torture tests. One of which included submerging it in the sea, which you can see in the video below.
The guys over at Top Gear tried their best to kill their Toyota Hilux. But doing so was anything but easy. Simply put, these trucks are made to stand up to some seriously harsh conditions. And it is probably why so many folks choose to rely on them. I couldn’t blame you for wanting to experience that here in North America.
Why doesn’t Toyota sell the Hilux in the United States?
The reasoning for this goes back to the infamous Chicken Tax. The Chicken Tax is a tariff on light trucks imported to the U.S., making doing so extremely expensive. Toyota does not build the Hilux in North America, so selling it here would likely cost the company money; hence, why we have the Toyota Tacoma instead.
That said, this Toyota truck is not outright banned here. Because of that, owning a Hilux is perfectly legal here in the States under the right conditions. Your best bet might be importing one. But you could be lucky enough to have a Toyota Hilux in your area. You never know what’s out there.