If you’re getting your ute new and straight from the dealer, seat covers might not be the first item on your options list. Possibly because everything OEM is a rip-off anyway and there is more choice and affordable prices elsewhere. Or that you just haven’t put much thought into the wear and tear your seats will endure. Compare the condition of the seats after a few years of use, and you’ll soon find out what you’ve been missing. This is more pronounced in cars like 4WDs and SUVs that get battered off-road, or need to carry a range of tools, equipment and gear to the workplace.
Benefits of Having Seat Covers
The obvious reason to have a set of seat covers is protection. You’ll want nothing scraping or damaging the cloth. No nasty spills or cigarette burns will leave an eternal mark, nor will the seats succumb to dust and dirt and which at some point will need deep cleaning. Also think of the colouration that these nasties leave behind, spoiling the look of an otherwise pristine interior. And if your covers do pick up some grime, then a simple wash will make them as good as new. Try doing that to the seat cloth.
Another reason is that covers give a little more comfort and warmth in the winter months and a cooler place to sit in the summer. Seats in utes are rugged and functional at most, and comfort isn’t exactly their calling card. If you’re on the lookout for Toyota Hilux seat covers, or covers for other best-selling utes, you’re also catered to a range of different designs, colours and materials. Some of the best covers are produced right here, and have Aussie tastes and conditions mixed in with the final product.
Types of Seat Covers
There are two broad but distinctive types of seat covers. Universal covers are made to fit most seat sizes but might not be the tightest or best fit on something like the Hilux. Getting the right fit is what they almost get right. But not quite. That’s the reason why they’re typically cheaper to buy. Most also lack compatibility with side airbags, and may impede bags from opening in side collisions. If you find ADR and airbag-approved covers, then you make sure that they also have decent stain and spill resistance, are easy to maintain and clean, and cater to areas like arm and headrests for a cleaner, neater look.
Covers tailored to the exact dimensions of the seats in various Hilux variants offer more comfort, with less crumpling or wrinkling. This allows the best fit. Covers will also be specially moulded to take care of armrests and adjustments in headrests without any issues. They will also be a notch above in terms of quality, the level of stitching and details that enhance interior appearance. And they perform better against water, dirt, grime and the Aussie heat, so a few dollars more spent here means that they’ll last much longer. There’s more thought as to the choice of materials, and this is possibly the most important factor when buying a new set of seat covers for your Hilux.
terials have a big say in the comfort seat covers provided, and whether they last they torture most Hilux owners put their cars through. Hard-wearing fabrics with some degree of padding seem to be the best balance for utes. But you don’t want anything too plain-looking, not in utes in higher trim anyway. To add some personality, some cover makers will throw in custom embroidery for a minimal charge.
Neoprene is a durable, synthetic rubber found in wetsuits. In seat covers, it’s soft to the touch, comfortable and has some flex to them so are also easy to fit. On the plus side, it won’t pick up stains, oil, or water, is 100 per cent waterproof, Comfort is among the best in any material, and neoprene seat covers are well-suited to hotter weather. and won’t fade in higher UV levels. The covers have a non-slip surface so also work well in more aggressive driving, especially off-road.
Canvas seats are best if you use the Hilux for work. They’re some of the toughest materials out there, so are meant to last the longest. Especially up to the mark is how they cope in high heat, being flame retardant. Canvas is also breathable and comfortable in hotter weather and is stain and spill-resistant, so doesn’t quick up dust or dirt as easily as other materials. It’s easy to clean too. Maybe not the cushiest, when compared to the padding in neoprene seats, but still quite good with high-end canvas covers fitted with foam lining.
Leather and Leatherette
If you like the look, sophistication and comfort of leather, then covers optioned in this material can cause some spite with friends. Leather covers are water-resistant and stain-proof, will last for some time with moderate use, and are quite durable. The cons are the high price tag, difficulty in fitting, and that they get hot in the Aussie sun. A more affordable option that mimics the look of leather is leatherette, and this also stays cooler. You’ll be spending more time maintaining them, but if you use your Hilux as a daily driver and exclusively on the tarmac, then this is a more upscale option.
Choosing the Right Covers
Retailers and manufacturers make things easy. Covers specifically for the Hilux are tailored to fit the front and rear seats perfectly, are easy to maintain and easily handle typical Aussie driving conditions. Just make sure to specify the car series and trim to be on the safe side. Additionally, you’ll want consoles on the same cover. All that remains is the hardest part – choosing the material.