The Hilux has gained a reputation for exceptional sturdiness and reliability, even during sustained heavy use and/or abuse, and is often referred to as “The Indestructible Truck”. This was further reinforced on the BBC motoring show Top Gear, when a 1988 Hilux with 190,000 miles (310,000 km) on the odometer was subjected to extraordinary abuse . This consisted of driving it down a flight of steps, scraping buildings, crashing headlong into a tree, being washed out to sea, and being submerged for four hours, driving it through a garden shed, dropping a caravan onto it, hitting it with a wrecking ball, setting its cabin and bed area on fire, and, finally, placing it on top of a 240-foot (73 m) block of apartments that was next destroyed by a controlled demolition. Although it was now suffering from severe structural damage, the truck was still running after being repaired without spare parts, and with only the typical tools, etc. that would be found in a truck’s toolbox, such as screwdrivers, motor oil, and an adjustable wrench, however WD-40 was used to get the engine going after it had been recovered from the sea. The Hilux currently rests as one of the background decorations in the Top Gear studio.
Outside of TV programs, these vehicles have been known to exceed 300,000 miles (480,000 km) with regular maintenance. It is also notorious for being used as an improvised fighting vehicle–a “technical” – by militias and irregular military forces, especially in Third World conflicts. The Toyota War between Libya and Chad was so named because of the use of Hilux trucks as light cavalry vehicles by the army of Chad. These vehicles have also been used in the Iraq war as Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). Militias have been known to outfit this vehicle with stolen, post-Soviet Union missiles and equipment. The Toyota War saw use of the Hilux as a towing vehicle, serving to tow aircraft and tanks, including the T-62 heavy tank from the former Soviet army. There are currently 37 customized Hiluxes used by the People’s Liberation Army in the Southern region of China. The Toyota Hilux has been widely used by Pakistan Army. However, Mitsubishi L200s were bought instead of seventh-generation Hilux recently to replace worn out vehicles. The New Zealand Army currently uses the Toyota Hilux for its troops in Afghanistan, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. US Special Forces also use specially modified Tacoma and Hilux in Afghanistan.
The Toyota Hilux is everywhere .It`s the vehicular equivalent of the AK-47. It`s ubiquitous to insurgent warfare. And actually, recently, also counterinsurgent warfare. It kicks the hell out of the Humvee.
Anecdotally, a scan of pictures from the last four decades of guerrilla and insurgent warfare around the world—the first iteration of the Hilux appeared in the late `60s—will reveal the Toyota`s wide-ranging influence.