Not many vehicles can live up to the reputation that the Toyota Landcruiser has built over the span of seven decades. The large 4WD has seen an array of different configurations, all built to withstand gruelling conditions in some of the world’s most inhospitable places – like the Australian Outback. And with the new Landcruiser 300 Series just around the corner, buyers are lining up for one of the most capable large 4WDs that money can buy. Australia has been a favourite destination for the 70 and 200 Series, and their smaller sibling, the Prado. So many are straddling city streets or far-flung corners of the country.
This has been a boon for dealers and aftermarket parts retailers tending to customer needs in providing anything they want and need for their cars. After all, this is the most accessorised and modified Toyota car ever. For most buyers in remote regions, necessities like Toyota Landcruiser bull bar should be at the top of their shopping list. Here, I’ll go through the things to consider when speccing your 4WD with the right bull bar.
Whether you drive a 70 Series ute, a 200 Series station wagon or the Landcruiser Prado, you’ll need some front-end protection. If you bought your car new, you’ll know the premium you paid for reliability and ruggedness. Bull bars will safeguard that investment, while also adding some functionality. If you haven’t specced factory fitted bull bars, there’s a ton available from aftermarket dealers at a fraction of the cost. They’re sturdy, up to the task, and look good.
You can get either full-sized single hoop or triple hoop bull bars. Both cover most of the front end, with the triple hoops offering side protection for the lights. Materials are either lightweight aluminium or heavier steel bars, though weight shouldn’t be an issue on a car over 2 tonnes. Both materials provide adequate tensile strength aided by precision welding. Steel bars are powder-coated, meaning better protection against corrosion. For the seasoned off-roader, there’s the full array of safety additions like integrated recovery points for attaching and mounting high jacks or tow straps if you get bogged down. There’s also the option of fitting a winch into the winch cradle. Integrated lights and indicators are found on many models. Other features include mounting points for fog lights or antennas.
You can install bull bars on your Landcruiser with the provided mounting brackets and fittings. Some stores can also do the installation for you if you want a professional fit. All bull bars sold in Australia are compliant with ADR regulations, meaning they are compatible with airbags.
Go for nudge bars in you don’t need full frontal protection. Nudge bars will clear smaller items off the road but don’t extend to the height or width of traditional bull bars. They’re better suited to urban settings like avoiding damage when parking, or possible collisions in heavy traffic. There are lightweight versions made of aluminium or coated stainless steel. You can mount antennas or light strips for a complete look.
Brush or scrub bars are attached to bull bars via clamps that fit in points in the bull bar and connect to side steps. They’re good for avoiding damage to front and side panels from branches, trees and smaller animals. Most will complement the look of bull bars, so a good idea will be to go for the same materials and colours. Brush bars are made of high strength steel. They’re often sold as complete kits, with the added side steps.
Rear bars replace rear bumpers and can be fitted to all Landcruisers. Steel rear bars are the norm, with most having integrated tow bars and space for accessories like swing arms for carrying extra wheels. Wiring for cameras is also a given. Rear bars give better ground clearance over stock bumpers, protect rear panels, and add functionality. Like bull bars fitted to the front, they’re compatible with rear collision sensors in activating airbag systems.
Additional Items to Consider
If you’re heading out in the bush, a decent setup is a bull bar up front, and a rear bar at the back. Removing stock bumpers will give you better approach angles when tackling steep inclines, going over larger rocks, or in river crossings. To avoid any surprises, get a set of decently thick bash plates to protect the underbody, including the transmission, the differential and the oil sump. Aftermarket bash plates are aluminium or steel, are resistant to corrosion and don’t collect water or mud. Things like rear dust collectors and window visors are good for better visibility and comfort when off-road.
Aftermarket vs OEM products
Although you can fit any of the items above at a Toyota dealer, they’ll tend to be much more expensive. Genuine parts are not necessarily manufactured by the carmaker, but affiliated companies. Aftermarket Toyota Landcruiser bull bars, nudge bars, brush bars and rear bars are all products of equal if not better quality than their OEM siblings, but at a much lower price point. All bars are made of durable, high strength metals, that fit precisely and are easy to install. Look for aftermarket bull bars and accessories in stores specialising in 4WD gear.