Johannesburg - South Africans love their double cab bakkies, as they’re great for schlepping toys to weekend playgrounds. But the bakkies themselves can be turned into toys with a raft of aftermarket upgrades available to make them look, sound and ride better.
Leisure Wheels magazine recently took a standard Toyota Hilux 2.4 GD-6 SRX double cab 4x4 and tricked it up with some new suspension, wheels and tyres, free flow exhaust, and decals. Inside, there are racing bucket seats with four-point seatbelts, and a suede-covered racing steering wheel.
The vehicle has been nicknamed the SRS but it’s not a Hilux you can buy off the showroom floor; it’s a showcase for some of the aftermarket products that can be individually bought to beef up your bakkie.
We test-drove it for a few days and the modifications have injected some va va voom into what is a very capable but otherwise unexciting diesel bakkie.
For starters it looks anything but run-of-the-mill. It’s been fitted with high-profile 265/75 R16 General tyres (compared to the standard 265/65 R17s), and rides on raised Old Man Emu suspension. The balloon tyres and jacked-up ride give this Hilux a bit of an arctic-truck vibe while the addition of decals, red racing stripes and red-rimmed wheels complete a picture that wouldn’t make this Hilux look out of place in a Fast and Furious movie.
To avoid any warranty-voiding issues the engine hasn’t been touched. At 110kW and 400Nm that 2.4-litre four cylinder turbodiesel makes one of the gutsiest outputs in its class, but the fitment of a free flow exhaust from Pretoria-based De Graaf gives it a hell-raising voice that cranks up the imaginary kilowatts a good few notches. These are anything but subtle vocals, and this bakkie huffs and puffs like the wolf that will blow your house down.
Apart from the entertaining noise, the modification we enjoyed most was the bump-beating ride of that Old Man Emu BP-51 rally suspension, supplied by 4x4 Mega World. This coilover, adjustable suspension can be tuned for a harder or softer ride and also adds 60mm of ground clearance.
Together with those high-profile tyres it really smooths out the ride. Driving this Hilux on our regular rough-road test route, I laughed out loud when I was able to cruise over humps at normal speeds rather than having to carefully crawl over them as in most vehicles. We also took the bakkie for a spin on a gravel road, where that 60 grand suspension just seemed to get better the harder we pushed it. It’s the single most expensive upgrade on this bakkie but worth every penny, methinks.
To give underbody protection, Front Runner supplied a set of rock sliders to replace the sidesteps, along with a set of aluminium engine protection plates. The headlights are covered in Llumar Professional film to protect against debris on the road, while heat- and UV-reducing Llumar film covers the side and back windows.
Finally, the interior was sported-up with OMP racing bucket seats with four-point racing harnesses, and an OMP racing steering wheel covered in black suede - all sourced from ATS Motorsport supplies.
One standard Toyota Hilux 2.4GD-6 double cab 4x4 SRX: R468 800
OME BP-51 suspension (shocks and rear blades): R59 475
Racing Hart Concepts Dannon 16” wheels (x4): R7 500
General Tire MT 265/75 R16 tyres (x4): R14 800
Front Runner rock sliders and engine protection: R6 995