Seats are an often overlooked, but essential item in your car or ute, and especially so in a 4×4 with touring in mind, or a working car where driving thousands of kilometres is par for the course. In many vehicles especially older ones, a seat upgrade can make a world of difference in terms of comfort and driving enjoyment. For the Toyota HiLux there is a load of aftermarket options available that will bolt straight in to replace the original bucket or bench.
Seats That Fit a Hilux
Australian brand Autotecnica have a range of seats to suit most tastes, from their basic, cloth-covered front bucket with quick forward reclining (for easy rear-seat entry), PU-leather covered options with lumbar and back adjustment, heating, and armrests ideal for tourers and extended time driving. Low bolsters ensure easy entry and exit, superb fit and finish, comfy, and priced very competitively. Every seat option is also ADR approved. You can choose either black or grey for the material for each model.
Autotecnica also sell adapters specifically for various Hilux models (along with other Toyota models), making installation and eventual engineer’s approval an easier exercise. The seats will therefore more or less bolt straight in.
4WD Systems is a slightly more expensive option. Their Super Comfort Seat comes with similar features like forward reclining, back adjustment, and a rear map pocket, while adding an adjustable headrest to the orthopaedic design for taller drivers. The one downside is aesthetics; the only combination you can have is grey velour.
The seats come with a 3-year, unlimited kilometre warranty and ADR approval, which is terrific peace of mind, and a range of adapters to bolt to the existing rails in your Hilux.
Recaro is one of the most famous names in the automotive world, and their range of seats means almost any possible requirement is covered. As OEM and aftermarket options, the quality of fit and finish is without peer.
Each model comes in a small, medium, or large, electric adjustment and airbags are optionally available (on the Ergomed models), as well as various materials and colours to fit with any style, be it leather, cloth, or alcantara. Some of Recaro’s seats, like the Expert series, come with adjustable side bolsters, and all have the ability to tilt forward for rear-seat access.
ARB and TJM are the big dealers in Australia for Recaro, and offer a range of services including adapters and installation. They cost more than most other seats on the market, but they are the most premium option.
Hilux Aftermarket Seat Buyer’s Guide
ADR Compliance is the most important consideration when changing seats in any vehicle. The seats and any adapters or rails, and seatbelt mounting modifications, must meet minimum safety and engineering standards. ADR approval is normally available on all seats, as well as some rails.
It isn’t simply enough to choose an ADR-approved front bucket that will fit in your HiLux. Your state’s vehicle registration authority will need the installation to be verified by an engineer for safety and adherence to state and Australian standards.
What is checked? The seat itself (if it is ADR-certified that’s normally enough) but the adapters or seat rails and how they are secured or mounted. Other factors that need to be checked include seatbelt mounting and side airbags, if installed. Recaro sell seats with side airbags, which are an option for newer vehicles that require side airbags as a minimum safety standard.
Most states will install a modification plate with the appropriate code that proves the car has been inspected and therefore safe to drive. Below are the appropriate state-based authorities outlining what is required and allowed when installing aftermarket seats.
This is, unsurprisingly, an important point to dwell on because while aggressive, body-hugging seats with high bolsters may look good and keep you secure, ingress and egress are naturally going to be much more difficult, especially if your HiLux is lifted and already difficult to climb in and out of.
Likewise, if your weekends are only about 4×4 parks and extreme off-roading, buying a seat that doesn’t keep you firmly in place is just a waste of money and time. Find seats appropriate for the task.
When going to the effort of installing aftermarket seats, knowing the dimensions of the driver (and partner/other passengers) will help narrow down the choice of finding something that is comfortable. Seat width, cushion length, back height, and the amount of adjustability all play a part in determining what option is best. You want a seat that will fit you as perfectly as possible.
Most insurance providers want to know about modifications to your car and, if they go undeclared, any insurance claim may be void. Best to call your insurer to make sure any modifications are allowed for your policy.
If you surf, camp, or have kids, simple car seat covers go a long way towards protecting your seats, new or old. The various options are endless, many are tailored for individual seats and depending on the material, can be a comfy alternative to replacing your seats if they are simply worn.
Lastly, if in any doubt, contact your transport authority directly before going ahead and buying your new seats.