In North America the Hilux saw the use of four wheel drive. It had a solid front axle and leaf suspension. The body saw a redesign that included single round headlights and a less complex body. These trucks became known as first generation 4WDs. It became the first Hilux with automatic transmission.
For the North American market, the 1981 model year saw a vehicle development deal between Toyota and Winnebago Industries (primarily) and two other aftermarket customizers. Toyota was attempting to enter the SUV market. The vehicles which resulted from this collaboration were the Trekker (Winnebago), Wolverine, and the Trailblazer (Griffith). All three employed the Hilux 4x4 RV cab and chassis, and an all-fiberglass rear section (the Trailblazer had a steel bed with a fiberglass top). There were at least 1,500 Trekkers, 400 Trailblazers (only 41 currently registered by the DMV), and an unknown number of Wolverines sold in North America. Research and development work on the Trekker lead to the development of the 4Runner, which was released in 1984. The 4Runner was sold in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia. The 4Runner was called the Hilux Surf in some other markets (e.g. Japan).
1981-1983-2.4 L(2366 cc) 22R SOHC I4, 96 hp (72 kW) at 4800 rpm and 129 ft·lbf (175 N·m) of torque at 2800 rpm.
1981-1983-2.2 L Diesel I4, 62 hp (46 kW) at 4200 rpm and 93 ft·lbf (126 N·m) of torque (SR5 long bed only.).
1981-1983-1.8 L preflow 4 speed manual (Australia)