The first production of the Toyota Hilux compact pick-up came in March of 1968. Known as the RN10, it was a short wheelbase model with a 1.5L engine. In 1969, Toyota added a long wheelbase version and a 1.6L engine in 1971.
Through a total of seven generations, the Japanese car manufacturer continually re-engineered and improved upon the Toyota Hilux. The second generation, released in 1972, was the RN20 model. Revamped in 1975, the new version of the Toyota Hilux went through a major facelift and added luxury amenities to the interior. Four-wheel drive was the impetus for the third generation of the Toyota Hilux, with its leaf suspension setup and solid front axle. It was the fourth generation, rolled out in 1983, that saw the Xtracab option for more seating in the cab. Another major modification came in 1986, when Toyota converted the Hilux to an independent front suspension.
By 1988, the fifth generation Toyota Hilux models featured foldaway jump seats for more room behind the cab and Toyota re-badged the Hilux as well as retooled the suspension and engine options for its sixth generation debut in 1995. The seventh generation was unveiled in 2005, with a larger sized vehicle that made its way into the mid-sized pick-up classification. This generation sparked a surge in purchases of used Toyota Hilux cars, because it had constructed a solid reputation as a sturdy ride that was virtually indestructible.
Top Gear, a motoring programme shown on the BBC, featured a 1988 Hilux with 190,000 miles, subjecting it to severe abuses such as driving it into the sea and submersing it completely, dropping a caravan on top of it, crashing head-on into a tree, driving it down a flight of stairs, hitting it with a wrecking ball and setting it on fire. After all that abuse, the used Toyota Hilux was still running even though it was structurally demolished. Secondhand Toyota Hilux models can travel as much as 500,000km with regularly scheduled maintenance.