Toyota Hilux Engine - A Brief History

The Toyota Hilux engine has changed many times since 1968 when the Hilux first debuted. Back then, it was powered by a small, 1.5 litre 4-cylinder. It has since evolved many times over with some models maintaining a 4-cylinder engine although now they're bigger, more powerful and even turbo or diesel powered (or both) while some models made a jump to larger displacement V6 engines. This article will provide a brief timeline into the history of the Toyota Hilux engine.

Toyota R Engine


The R engine was the first family of engines to grace the Toyota Hilux. The R engine was a 4-cylinder petrol (gasoline) that was used in various forms from 1968 to 1995. The 2R, 3R, 8R, 8R-C, 8R-E, 12R, 18R, 18R-C, 18R-E, 20R, 22R, 22R-E, and 22R-TE were all the variations of the R family of engines to be used in the Hilux. In the beginning, the 2R was a 1.5 litre that grew and had various factory modifications through the 2.4 litre 22R-E used in 1995. The 22R has a reputation as one of the best Toyota Hilux engine ever used for longevity and reliability of easily being able to clock 500,000 kilometers (300,000 miles).

Toyota VZ Engine

The VZ was the first family of V6 engines ever used in the Toyota Hilux. The VZ engine ran on petrol (gasoline) and all versions featured electronic fuel injection. The Hilux made use of the 3VZ from 1988 to 1995 at which point it used the 5VZ. Displacement increased from 3.0 to 3.4 litres and power jumped from 112 kW (150 hp) to 142 (190 hp). The 5VZ (or the 5VZ-FE to be exact) has been touted as the best V6 Toyota Hilux engine ever used for its reliability, light weight, and excellent fuel economy. Hilux owners with the 3VZ engine often seek out a 5VZ to install rather than rebuilding or replacing a 3VZ with problems or high kilometers.

Toyota RZ Engine

In 1996, some models of Hilux went back to 4-cylinders with the RZ. The RZ was a family of 4-cylinder engines that consisted of the 1RZ-E, 2RZ-FE and 3RZ-FE. Their displacements were 2.0 litres, 2.4 litres, and 2.7 litres respectively and they produced 78 kW (105 hp), 106 kW (142 hp), and 112 kW (150 hp) also respectively. The 1RZ saw limited production mostly in Japan and select parts of Asia. The 2RZ first came to life in 1995 and ceased production in 2004 (2004 being the last model year this engine was used in a Hilux). Like the 2RZ, the 3RZ also came to life in 1995 and it's still in use to this day.

Toyota Hilux Engine - A Brief History

You can review a thorough history of the Toyota Hilux engine as well as gain knowledge for reading Toyota Hilux engine numbers and it's also recommended to read about all diesel and petrol (gasoline) Hilux engines that Toyota used from 1968 to present.

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