4 Most Popular Japanese SUV Import Options

January 27, 2012

If you are looking to buy a Japanese SUV import and have it shipped to the United States, you should consider that a Toyota sold in the US is probably a better choice than a Toyota SUV import, as it already meets US safety and emissions standards. This also applies to any other SUV imports from Japan. However, if you are looking for Japanese SUVs to import, here are four of the most popular models that are exported to the US and Canada to individual buyers.

Mitsubishi Pajero

This Mitsubishi SUV is called the Montero in the United States, and is available mostly as a gasoline powered vehicle here. In Japan, the Pajero is usually supplied with a diesel engine that makes it attractive to many prospective buyers in the US. Although the vehicle is manufactured in Japan, it is very popular because it can be purchased in either a left or right hand driver version, which negates the need to have the vehicle modified for many import buyers.

Many individual importers of the Mitsubishi Pajero report that the vehicle is very reliable and usually only requires a cursory inspection before leaving Japan. Most import buyers find that a simple tune-up is all that is required for the vehicle to meet American emissions standard requirements. The vehicle also retains a high resale value, and models of the SUV produced as far back as 1993 or 1994 still sell for between $8,000 and $12,000.

Toyota Hilux Surf

The Toyota Hilux Surf is another Japanese vehicle that has an American counterpart. The Hilux Surf is marketed in the United States as the Toyota 4Runner. Like the Mitsubishi Pajero, that Toyota Hilux Surf in Japan is usually supplied with a diesel engine. Therefore, fuel economy is usually better than American equivalent Four Runners that use a gasoline powered engine.

The Hilux Surf marketed in Japan is reported to be a little more luxurious than the American 4Runner version, and often includes high end audio equipment as well as other premium features and options. On average, a Hilux Surf will cost between $5,000 and $7,500 more than a 4Runner of the same year model.

Toyota Land Cruiser

The Toyota Land Cruiser that is marketed in Japan usually comes with a diesel engine. The Land Cruiser is usually found only in right hand driver models. Therefore, importing a Land Cruiser may require a conversion before the vehicle can be driven on roads and highways in some states. A Japanese version Land Cruiser also has a very high resale value. Models that are nearly 20 years old still sell for between $15,000 and $20,000.

Suzuki Grand Vitara

The only Suzuki import on our list is the Grand Vitara. Marketed in the United States as the Suzuki Sidekick, the Grand Vitara is also a popular import vehicle for individual buyers in the United States and Canada. This SUV is usually less expensive than its American counterpart. This particular Japanese SUV usually only ships with a gasoline engine, and can sell for between $1,000 and $2,000 less than an American equivalent - even including import duties and taxes.

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