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Tough, reliable, well-equipped and super popular, the Toyota HiLux is seemingly everything the average Aussie ute-buyer could ever want. Except that it’s not, because just about no one has a stock-standard HiLux – it being one of the most modified utes in Australia. And that’s a double boon for everyone after Toyota HiLux aftermarket accessories; there’s a massive market for the industry, and therefore a copious amount of choice for the consumer. Whatever you want to do with your Lux ute, can be done, and probably bought off the shelf.
So, for a curated guide to the best HiLux accessories and modifications, for work or play. Read on.
Overview: These days, bull bars are as much fashion statement as they are frontal protection, and especially for the HiLux, there’s no shortage of options. If you want a lightweight, custom-look, hoopless, high-clearance, winch-compatible bar, you can order something like the Hamer King Series bar online.
If you just need a traditional alloy, three-hoop bar for a couple of driving lights, there are numerous options, but few as well suited to the HiLux than the genuine accessory option from Toyota. Of course, all the major aftermarket manufacturers have great steel bars. Whatever you do, make sure you’re not buying a bar that will compromise the front axle loads, or consider a suspension kit that increased that allowable load (more details below).
Cost: The Hamer King bar costs around $1900, plus fitment. An ARB Summit Bar will set you back $2926 including fitting.
Where to Buy: Toyota Genuine Accessories, ARB, Hamer King Series Bar
Overview: The HiLux is so good off-road it’ll never get stuck, right? Even so, a winch is pretty good for recovering Nissan Navaras and Volkswagen Amaroks when they get stuck down a track, or so I’m told.
If you need a good winch, the choice isn’t as easy as it once was when Warn was the only name worth mentioning. Today, there’s stiff competition, and previously unheard-of brands, like Runva and Sherpa, which are gaining recognition, while many aftermarket brands like TJM and Ironman 4x4 have their own versions.
In my personal experience, you’ll use a winch far less than you anticipate (I’ve only ever used one once in anger after a 4WD on a trip rolled, and never to recover myself), so unless you’re actively seeking out really tough terrain, you can probably save $1000 or so and go without one.
Cost: Although you can get a winch for less than $500 these days, budget about $1000-$2000, depending on the brand you think fits best.
Where to buy: Runva, Ironman 4x4, TJM, ARB
Overview: If your frontal protection needs don’t involve a high risk of an animal strike or a desire to increase frontal clearance, a nudge bar might be the best bet. These simple loops of steel or alloy are also great for holding auxiliary light bars or an aerial for your mobile phone range extender or UHF.
Cost: The genuine alloy nudge bar from Toyota for the current model HiLux costs $830. From East Coast Bull Bars, an equivalent version begins at around $860.
Where to Buy: East Coast Bull Bars, Toyota Genuine Accessories
Overview: Gaining an extra couple of inches clearance under the HiLux is almost essential if you’re planning some off-road touring or camping trips. It’ll reduce the likelihood of damage, help many off-road camper trailers and caravans ride more evenly behind your vehicle, and make it look cooler.
Search ‘lift kit for Toyota Hilux’, though, and you’re peppered with options – everything from mild to extreme. Given the proclivity of Aussie tourers to carry as much luxury as possible with us when we want to act rugged, look for a kit that includes a GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) increase by upping the front and rear axle loads. That’ll give you more scope to load fit a bull bar with all the fruit, and keep a decent load in the tray. Just remember, increasing GVM doesn’t increase GCM (Gross Combination Mass), so if you are towing a trailer, you’ll still have to make a compromise somewhere. Because you can load more into the tray, you’ll have to stick with a lighter trailer or caravan so as not to overload the combination.
ARB’s Old Man Emu Suspension kits will lift the current HiLux 40mm, and then enable it to certify a GVM increase to between 3150 (stage 1) and 3465kg (stage 2). Lovells also offers a lift kit and GVM upgrade to 3300kg, as do other suspension companies like Ironman 4x4 and Pedders.
Cost: For Lovells to redo your HiLux suspension and GVM upgrade, allow at least $5000. For ARB, budget around $2500 for its entry-level Old Man Emu Nitrocharger 3150kg upgrade, plus about 4 hours labour. The ARB increases can be applied retrospectively (if you already have the suspension fitted, for example), beginning at $300. Regional prices might vary slightly.
Where to buy: ARB, Lovells Suspension
Overview: Snorkels are more than just for tackling chest-deep Cape York river crossings. By raising the air intake point, they reduce the amount of dust your engine might inhale, and potentially also help bring cooler, denser air into the combustion chamber. They also look pretty cool, which is as good a reason as any.
Cost: A genuine HiLux snorkel costs $460, plus fitting. An aftermarket version from Safari will set you back $477 plus $240 to fit. From TJM, an Airtech black, stainless steel snorkel costs $595, plus fitting.
Where to buy: Toyota Genuine Accessories, ARB, TJM
Overview: Most of the HiLux 4x4 range drive on 265/65 R17 or 265/60 R18 tyres, which measure pretty close to 30.5in in diameter. Conservatively, and legally, you can increase the diameter by 50mm (in most states), meaning you could fit 245/75R17 or 285/60 R18 rubber under the HiLux. Bear in mind, this only increases your clearance by about 25mm, probably has no conceivable impact on your off-road traction, but will affect fuel economy. Before considering a larger tyre, work out if a different tread pattern and a good tyre deflator wouldn’t be better options off-road.
Cost: A decent set of all terrains will cost anywhere from $250 to $500 a tyre in 285/60 R18 size.
Where to buy: Tyroola
Overview: The addition of a canopy to your HiLux ute can be very personal. For some, it’s a way to keep camping gear dry and dust-free, for others a way to keep pets comfortable on long drives. Likewise, a work ute will have different needs to one used for leisure. The most common HiLux canopies are made from fibreglass, although aluminium canopies are increasingly becoming popular for their strength and weight characteristics. Alternatively, custom made HiLux canopies are popular for camping and trade applications, and many metal fabricators focus on this market.
Access is one of the most significant considerations to a canopy, and most of the tub-tray versions will offer sliding or top-hinged windows. Canopies for alloy trays might have larger access doors than the former, and can typically have more specific storage options.
There’s no right or wrong canopy, but consider features like the ability to add racks at a later stage, and how much clearance you’ll need under the roof. Also remember, a canopy’s total weight counts as load, so the lighter, the better without sacrificing strength.
Cost: A deluxe fibreglass canopy from TJM costs $3960. Budget at least $3500 for a simple canopy with lift-up windows from ARB. For an extensive, feature-packed, camping-specific aluminium canopy from Norweld, expect to pay at least $14,300, plus another $5610 for a canopy base tray.
Where to buy: TJM, ARB, or Norweld.
Overview: Although the genuine Toyota Hilux tray options are well proven on thousands of vehicles, many industries and interests have specific needs. Toyota has cottoned onto this, and there’s a long list of genuine accessories focussed on personalising the Hilux tray back, including a bed slide, utility boxes, tray mats, canopies and tonneau covers. There are even mining ute specific options if you talk to the dealer.
The biggest custom tray choice, though, will be to get one in steel or alloy. Steel is strong, and great if you need the structural integrity of something like a small crane, but alloy is lighter, leaving more load capacity for actual load. From there, the options are endless, and if you can imagine it, a metal fabricator can build it.
Cost: Even a basic, Toyota HiLux steel dual cab tray will set you back over $4,000, so start your budget there and add money for every feature you want. A fully custom, off-road-ready alloy camping tray from the likes of Patriot Campers Off Road will be more than $20,000 including a canopy.
Where to buy: Toyota Genuine Accessories, Patriot Campers Off Road
Overview: If you need to keep things organised in the tray and don’t have the sort of budgets required to get a full custom tray, a decent set of drawers is the place to start.
Whether for camping or worksites, a good drawer system is easy to access, can carry everything you need and is built to suit your needs. If you need a large load area above the drawers, consider a side-by-side arrangement. If you will be camping and use a fridge, consider a set of stacked drawer, so the fridge slides from floor level and is easier to get into it.
Cost: A dual drawer system for a dual-cab tub tray from Drifta begins at $1845, but can be customised to your heart’s content. From ORS, a 1030mm long twin drawer system starts at $1800, plus $150 for fitting. Neither fit with a Toyota HiLux tub-liner, so don’t order one with your new ute if you intend on adding drawers.
Where to buy: OffRoad Systems and Drifta
Overview: If your storage needs are more modest than a canopy or full custom tray demands, then a tonneau cover, either soft or hard lid is an inexpensive way to keep your tray secure and dry. Consider a fabric version for flexibility or a hard version for added security or if you need a solid platform for carting bikes around.
Cost: A dual cab, fabric tonneau from Toyota costs around $340, while a genuine Toyota Hilux hard lid will set you back about $2400. An ARB Sport Lid for dual cab HiLux will cost around $2100 and can have racks fitted to carry 75kg of gear on top.
Where to buy: Toyota Genuine Accessories or ARB
Overview: No matter how you use your HiLux, some things are just better stored on the roof. As well as the genuine HiLux roof racks, all of the major brands have options, including simple roof bars through to lightweight roof platforms with modular accessories so they can be customised to your heart’s content. Among the best is the Rhino-Rack Pioneer Platform.
Cost: A simple set of roof bars will set you back around $500. A more comprehensive platform will be about $1600.
Where to buy: Rhino-Rack
Overview: Need to lug around something longer than the bed of your tray? You’ll need a tub rack or ladder rack for that.
Cost: A single alloy hoop for the back of your tray will cost around $500.
Where to buy: eBay.
Overview: Nearly every version of the HiLux has been noted for its towing performance, and now that the current crop can haul between 2800 and 3500kg (4WD models) they’re very popular with caravanners.
Toyota’s genuine fitment tow bar is among the best on the market, and for large caravan duties, can be matched with a weight distribution kit. These are essential to maintain effective braking and steering effectiveness with a heavy caravan weighing down the rear end. For a more off-road specific option, the Hayman Reese XBar improved departure angle by about 5°, integrated rated recovery points and rear step to protect the rear bumper. If you are towing something large, don’t forget you’ll need towing mirrors to stay legal.
Cost: Expect to spend about $1200 getting a tow bar and associated wiring fitted. For something more specific, like the XBar, budget $1200 or so for the bar, plus fitting.
Where to buy: Toyota Genuine Accessories or Hayman Reese
Overview: Towing mirrors are a legal requirement if your rear vision is restricted by the trailer you are towing. Most commonly used by caravanners, they’re not the only people who need them. The bee's knees in caravan mirrors are the integrated, telescoping mirrors by Clearview. They extend out when you need them, and can be adjusted by the electric mirror control inside the car. They are expensive, though.
For something cheaper, clip-on mirrors are the way to go but avoid any that only attach to the mirror itself – every truck you go past will blow them into your window with an almighty bang. A set that attaches to the door, like the Coast Door Mount Mirrors, is excellent.
Cost: The Clearview Mirrors for a current HiLux will cost $745. The Coast Door Mount Mirrors cost $140.
Where to buy: Clearview, Outback Equipment.
Overview: For easier access into the high-riding HiLux, nothing is better than a stylish set of side steps. If it’s sill-protection you’re after when 4WDing rough terrain, opt for a set rated to protect your vehicle. Hint, those typical alloy steps are just steps, but something like the Xrox Rock Sliders, are. For something with a good step and decent level of protection, look into the Ironman 4x4 side steps and rails, which are also airbag compatible.
Cost: Xrox Rock Sliders cost $995. Ironman 4x4 Side Steps cost around $775.
Where to buy: Off Road Central, Ironman 4x4
Overview: Dual battery systems are so popular in the HiLux that even Toyota offers a genuine version. Using Redarc’s BC-DC25 as the charging solution, it is limited by the battery’s under-bonnet placement, which means a smaller battery is used. A better solution would be to get the Redarc unit in the aftermarket and fit a larger battery in the tray as part of a more comprehensive solution. For a lower-priced option, consider the Projecta IDC25.
Cost: The Redarc BC-DC25 starts at $609.10. The Projecta IDC25 retails for around $300.
Where to buy: Redarc, Projecta
Overview: If you do any sort of long-distance, remote highway miles at night, additional lighting is really helpful. The current HiLux already has LED headlights in its top-spec models, but upgrades are available for SR, Rugged and below.
The easiest option is LED H7 globe replacements like those from Stedi, which simply swap out the halogen globes for specially designed LED versions. For even more light, LED light bar or LED driving lights are popular additions to bull-bars and roof-racks (check your local rules about roof-mounted lights).
For a lot of very bright light without a considerable price, try the Narva Ultima 215, which is too bright in the suburbs, but perfect in the bush. For a more suburban-friendly light, the Narva Ultima 175 is just about perfect. Toyota Genuine Accessories offers a great LED light bar.
Cost: The Stedi globe will set you back a modest $150. The Narva Ultima 215 LED lights retail for around $500 each light, while a set of Ultima 175 LED lamps will cost about $500.
Where to buy: Toyota Genuine Accessories, Narva, Stedi