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If you live in the United States, you are likely familiar with the Toyota Tacoma. As a midsize truck, it often leads its segment in terms of sales. But in the rest of the world, Toyota offers a different truck. And it might be even more legendary than the Tacoma, it is the Toyota Hilux. 

Why can’t you buy a Toyota Hilux?

In the United States, you cannot buy a new Hilux truck like you can a Toyota Tacoma. The Toyota Hilux disappeared back in the 1990s, and it hasn’t been in the States ever since. But if you talk to truck enthusiasts, it does seem like this is the pickup truck that folks want. 

The Hilux is seen as a reliable truck that is nearly bullet-proof. In fact, you might have seen the video below in which the guys at Top Gear attempt to kill a Toyota Hilux and it just won’t die. 

Although this midsize truck is not officially banned in the United States, Toyota does not offer the Hilux here. Changing emissions standards and safety regulations led to the Tacoma replacing it. And if Toyota did want to sell the Hilux in the States, it would actually have to build it here. 

We’ve talked about the Chicken Tax before. It’s essentially a 25% tariff that impacts light trucks not built in America. It is because of that tax that pickups like the Hilux wind up not coming to the United States. It just gets too expensive to justify. 

The Hilux is a rugged truck 

One of the reasons the Toyota Hilux is so popular is that it’s a rugged and durable pickup truck. The current generation was introduced back in 2015, so it is starting to show its age. But that’s something fairly common for Toyota to do. The reason the brand has such high perceived reliability is that it is slow to make changes. 

Think about how old some Toyota models are here in the States. The Toyota 4Runner feels absolutely ancient, yet it remains one of the hottest SUVs on the market. The same can also be said about the Tacoma midsize truck. 

A 2009 Toyota Hilux midsize truck sits in front of some water.
2009 Toyota Hilux | National Motor Museum via Getty Images

Now, Toyota did give a facelift to the Hilux in 2020. There’s now a GR Sport version, and that is something that I would love to see here in the United States. But unfortunately, it’s unlikely that Toyota will introduce the Hilux here. It’s not financially feasible, and with the Tacoma, there’s probably not room for another midsize truck.

Can you import a Toyota Hilux?

According to The Drive, it is possible to import a Hilux to the United States. But, you will need to find one that is over 25 years old. There are import regulations that restrict what all you can bring here. And that means the easiest route is to go with an older version of this pickup. 

A Toyota Hilux midsize truck shows how tough it is at a rally.
Toyota Hilux | EVARISTO SA via Getty Images

That said, there are companies out there that handle most of the importing process for you. And that will keep you from having to do as much legwork if you really want to experience the Hilux. You can also go about it yourself, which might be cheaper.