Toyota issued a second generation of Hilux Surf and 4Runner in 1989 for the 1990 model year. Known as the N120/N130 series, these models continued their reliance on the Hilux pickup as a basis. It represented a fundamental departure from the first generation model. Instead of an enhanced pickup truck with fiberglass cap, the new 4Runners featured a freshly designed, full steel integrated body mounted on the existing frame. However, the 4Runner did remain virtually identical to the Hilux from the B-pillars forward. It also gained an all new coil spring rear suspension system, which unfortunately proved to be just as prone to sagging as the leaf springs on the rear of the previous models.
Nearly all second generation 4Runners were four-door models; however, from launch in 1989 to May 1993, a two-door model was also produced. These models are similar to the four-door models of the time in that the bodies were formed as a single unit, instead of the fiberglass tops used in the first generation 4Runners. Two-door cars of the second generation are extremely rare. US sales ended in August 1992, but it continued to be available in the Canadian market through 1993, and Japan until May 1993.
Because the drive train was still developed from the same source, the available engines were identical: The same 2.4 L four-cylinder (22R-E) and 3.0 L V6 (3VZ) engines were available in rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive layouts. The new 4Runner used the independent front suspension that had been developed on the previous generation. The older style gear driven transfer case was phased out on the V6 models and they now had a chain driven case. The older gear driven case was retained on the 4-cylinder models.
The Hilux Surf version for the Japanese market was also available with a range of diesel engines, including a 2.4 L turbodiesel 2L-TE I4 up to 1993, followed by a 3.0 L turbodiesel 1KZ-TE I4. Small numbers were also made with a normally aspirated 2.8 L diesel 3L I4, a 2.0 L 3Y I4 naturally aspirated gasoline engine, and 2.4 L 22R-E I4 gasoline engine.The majority of petrol versions of the Hilux Surf received the 3.0 L V6. Various trim levels were offered in Japan ranging from the base model 'SSR' through 'SSR Ltd', 'SSR-V' 'SSR-X' and 'SSR-X Ltd' to the range topping 'SSR-G'.