The Toyota HiLux is one of Australia’s most popular vehicle segments. But despite being quite an investment, buyers aren’t putting their wallets straight away after driving off the showroom floor. This 4×4 ute is a huge favourite for aftermarket modification, and for a wide range of reasons. Many are looking to take its off-road capability’s to the next level, while others are tricking it up to spend time on the road weeks at a time. Of course, there are also those who just want to look tough around town.
The popularity of Toyota HiLux aftermarket parts and accessories hasn’t gone unseen by manufacturers. Different manufacturers have taken different approaches. Ford, for instance, chased an improved off-road performance and staunch look by massively widening and modifying the suspension in the Raptor, whereas Toyota has taken a different path: bolt-on barwork.
There are three main types of barwork you want to install on your HiLux – bullbar, rear bar and side steps. Steel has been the material of choice for those looking to add some protection to their HiLux, while improving the clearance of the 4×4. Steel is strong enough to withstand big impacts, whether a rock step at a slow crawl or a kangaroo at 80km/h. These Toyota HiLux aftermarket parts and accessories are also designed to improve your approach angle, especially around the wheels. Further, they provide a lot of protection around the important cooling and steering parts of your vehicle.
Sliders also offer a ton of improvement. They’re designed with a wedge shape under, mounting securely to the crossmember and chassis in three spots. Quality aftermarket side steps are the much better option than your stock side steps, in terms of both protection and clearance.
And lastly, the rear step, which although may not change much in appearance, and is also usually made of steel or aluminium, provides you with decent protection, as well as an extra step and a towbar. Many aftermarket bull bars and rear bars come with rated recovery points that are built to safely handle large dynamic loads which come with off-road recovery.
There are many Australians who lose their lives due to a recovery gone wrong, and many count themselves lucky. And when recovery accidents happen, sometimes it’s because the gear used isn’t properly rated or fails. For that reason, it’s highly recommended that you make sure you have safe options for recovery, both at the rear and front of your HiLux. Use a rated bow shackle and other recovery gear to recover in a much safer manner.
The Toyota HiLux has always been good off the road. Its off-road traction control-system is one of the best. Its wheelspin is controlled pretty well, at a wide range of speeds, allowing you to manage your momentum with utmost control. It also has a locking rear differential, but enabling it disables traction control. So while that keeps your rear 100% locked, the front has shifted from very well controlled to totally open. Due to this, and thanks to the traction-control system being top-notch, the rear locker becomes irrelevant. The suspension is also great. It drives well both on and off the road.
Other notable Toyota HiLux accessories that can improve your stock HiLux’ performance are the snorkel, which allows your engine to breathe more of the much needed cool, clean air when you’re tackling dusty off-road trails. Additionally, you’ll have peace of mind when passing through ponds or rivers, knowing that your engine won’t get any water in it.
If you’re planning on going through the Australian outback with friends and family, you might even want to consider adding a roof rack to expand your luggage space. Aftermarket roof racks are made using aluminium so that they don’t impact your vehicle’s load-bearing capacity and mileage too much. It also allows you to bring along sports equipment such as kayaks, bikes, boards or anything in between. Roof racks also let you secure your load safely using straps, and they allow you to store dangerous items outside of your cabin, giving you more overall comfort and better load distribution.
All of this makes the Toyota Hilux one of the most reliable utes that can conquer almost any Australian trail. The wide availability of parts and accessories that you can modify it with allows you to completely customise your experience depending on your personal requirements and preference. So, whether you want to venture off the beaten track, or stick to the concrete, for the most part, you can rest assured there are ways you can improve your HiLux’ performance, protection, mileage, clearance and appeal.
The best place to look for these parts and accessories is online, with Australia having a wide range of vendors offering an even wider range of products suitable for virtually any model, make and year of HiLux out there. Read reviews and talk to other HiLux owners on forums to see what they’re up to, so you can make a well-informed buying decision.