DRIVE: HILUX ROGUE, RUGGED, RUGGED X

HILUX GETS TOUGH WITH NEW OFFROAD-FO­CUSED EDI­TIONS.

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

TOY­OTA has launched a three­p­ronged at­tack on the 4x4 du­al­cab mar­ket with the re­lease of a trio of new Hilux ‘halo’ (or hero) mod­els – Rogue, Rugged and Rugged X – that will sit above the SR5 in the Hilux range. The trio is launched as Hilux cel­e­brates 50 years on the mar­ket, and is aimed at the prospec­tive buyer who is look­ing for a ve­hi­cle that is ready to go off the beaten track straight from the show­room floor, with each model fea­tur­ing in­te­grated tour­ing ac­ces­sories that buy­ers would other­wise have to go to af­ter­mar­ket sup­pli­ers for. In terms of driv­e­train, the Hilux’s 130kw 2.8TD pow­er­plant and six-speed auto and man­ual gear­box carry over into these new mod­els.

The two Rugged vari­ants (both avail­able in man­ual and auto form) are the re­sult of three years of devel­op­ment and are aimed at the bush tourer, while the au­toonly Rogue vari­ant tar­gets the bur­geon­ing lifestyle/fam­ily mar­ket, and thus in­cludes fea­tures unique to that buyer. The Rogue is the ur­ban ad­ven­turer’s choice, ac­cord­ing to Toy­ota, and was de­signed in Aus­tralia but en­gi­neered in Thai­land for a global mar­ket.

Toy­ota is con­fi­dent of sell­ing 6000 of these new mod­els (roughly 60-70 per cent Rugged vari­ants, 30-40 per cent Rogue), and is con­fi­dent they ad­dress the cur­rent mar­ket’s de­mands. The ad­di­tion of the Rogue was part of a dual strat­egy from Toy­ota, where one model would ac­count for the style and so­phis­ti­ca­tion of the ur­ban­based buyer, while the other was for those keen to get well off the beaten track.

The de­ci­sion to of­fer three new ve­hi­cles was in­flu­enced by Toy­ota’s re­search into dual-cab ute sales, where it was found that the top-end SR5 ac­counted for one-quar­ter of all Hilux sales, with buy­ers spend­ing an av­er­age of $2000 on fur­ther ac­ces­soris­ing their rigs af­ter ini­tial pur­chase.

Each of the three new Hiluxes of­fer a dif­fer­ent mix of equip­ment, with the two tour­ing-ori­ented ve­hi­cles shar­ing many, while the Rogue of­fers a more se­lec­tive list, as well as some unique ad­di­tions.

RUGGED X AND RUGGED

THE top-end model Rugged X is based

on the pre­vi­ous range-top­ping SR5, with a raft of equip­ment added as stan­dard. Pric­ing starts at $61,690 for the six-speed man­ual and tops out at $63,690 for the auto. The Rugged X fea­tures plenty of stan­dard off-road goodies – all Aussiedesigned and en­gi­neered – in­clud­ing a low-pro­file steel front bar with in­te­grated 660mm LED light bar punch­ing out 120 Watts, 20W LED driv­ing lights, bash plates, rated re­cov­ery hooks front (8000kg) and rear, chas­sis-mounted side rock rails, snorkel, sports bar, steel rear bar, tub liner, front/rear all-weather floor mats, tow­ball and tongue (tow rat­ing is 3500kg for man­ual, 3200kg for auto), re­vers­ing cam­era, leather seats (pow­ered driver seat) and black-ac­cented ex­te­rior mods. The 17-inch al­loy wheels are shod with Dun­lop Grandtrek 265/65R17 rub­ber.

To com­pen­sate for the ad­di­tional weight up front with fit­ment of the bar, bash plates and re­cov­ery hooks, Toy­ota has in­cluded up­rated front springs. These springs are the same ones that have been used by Toy­ota pre­vi­ously for fit­ment to Hilux mod­els that own­ers have added fac­tory bull­bars to, so are well proved. All up – and in short – it’s a bush-ready fit-out by Toy­ota that you can drive from the dealer with full fac­tory war­ranty cover on all equip­ment.

The new equip­ment is more than cos­metic; the low-pro­file front bar on the Rugged X is man­u­fac­tured by Bris­banebased Front­line 4X4, while the side rock rails and re­cov­ery hooks are ARB de­signs. The idea be­hind the front bar was to en­sure that front over­hang – and thus, ap­proach an­gle – was not un­duly af­fected, while the fit­ment of the in­te­grated light bar pro­vides a much ti­dier ap­pear­ance. The Rugged X ap­proach an­gle is 28 de­grees, but it is the side/cor­ner ap­proach an­gle that has been most af­fected – in a pos­i­tive way. The stan­dard Hilux cor­ner ap­proach an­gle is 35 de­grees; the Rugged X bar’s ag­gres­sively cut-in cor­ners lifts this up to an im­pres­sive 49 de­grees. The steel rear bar is also a – ex­cuse the pun – rugged unit that keeps the over­hang short and the ute’s rear well pro­tected.

The rear tub’s sports bar is more than just a tacked-on vis­ual ac­ces­sory; Toy­ota en­gi­neered this bar to cope with a ver­ti­cal load of up to 75kg, or a se­cured (tied-down/ at­tached) load of 200kg. The bar is a sturdy four-piece job­bie that is floor-mounted for the ad­di­tional strength needed for these load rat­ings. Clever, we reckon. Just as clever is the stan­dard rock rails; dur­ing the launch pro­gram, we were asked by Toy­ota to drive over a large pile of rocks to test the rails’ ef­fec­tive­ness and they per­formed per­fectly. The rails’ strong flat sec­tion slid the Hilux over the ob­sta­cle eas­ily, while the up­swept outer tub­ing was barely touched, mak­ing them a huge step-up from the stock items on reg­u­lar Hilux mod­els.

Cos­met­i­cally, the Rugged X cops a blacked-out bon­net (com­plete with love ’em or hate ’em RUGGED let­ter­ing across the front of it), while all bar work and rock rails are pow­der­coated black. The black­out theme con­tin­ues with the rear mir­rors and door han­dles in black gloss, with black matte tail-light sur­rounds fin­ish­ing it off. The Rugged X gains a model-spe­cific colour – In­ferno Or­ange – on top of Glacier White, Crys­tal Pearl, Sil­ver Sky, Graphite and Eclipse Black, all of which are avail­able across the three mod­els.

Hop in­side the Rugged X and its more black; leather-ac­cent seats, black dash, metal­lic black high­lights on doors, gear lever, con­sole and steer­ing wheel, and the head­lin­ing is also black. Bat­man would be all over it…

In­stru­men­ta­tion is, yep, blacked-out to an ex­tent as well, and in­cludes tacho, speedo and a multi-info read-out. The in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem utilises a 7-inch screen and fea­tures sat-nav, ra­dio, Blue­tooth, CD player (yes, re­ally), and the Toy­ota Link app that gels with your smart­phone.

The Rugged model is based on the Hilux SR and priced at $54,990 for the man­ual, with the auto a $2K pre­mium. The Rugged loses some top-spec fea­tures such as rear pas­sen­ger air-con vents, power-

ad­just driver’s seat and leather-ac­cented pews, while adding a lit­tle bit more to the bush-tough side of the ledger, mainly in the pro­tec­tive sense. The steel front bar on Rugged is unique to this model and in­cludes a tubed top sec­tion for max­i­mum front-end/head­light pro­tec­tion, with Toy­ota aim­ing this bar de­sign specif­i­cally at hardcore out­back tour­ers and ru­ral own­ers.

The Rugged also has a slightly dif­fer­ent rear steel bar, but shares the same up­rated front springs, side rock rails, black body mould­ings, snorkel, sports bar, tub liner and rear-view cam­era as the X. In­stru­men­ta­tion is a tad more ba­sic than X; although, the Rugged still gets sat-nav, Blue­tooth and in­fo­tain­ment setup.

ROGUE

TOY­OTA be­lieves the auto-only Hilux Rogue, at $61,90, best ad­dresses the emerg­ing ‘ur­ban adventurers’ buy­ers’ mar­ket for a ve­hi­cle ca­pa­ble of the ‘big trip’ but ac­tu­ally spend­ing most of its time in ur­ban en­vi­rons. As a re­sult, the Rogue’s de­sign and style is fairly well re­moved from its ‘rougher’ sta­ble­mates.

Stan­dard fea­tures dif­fer sig­nif­i­cantly from the Rugged vari­ants. Gone are the steel bull­bar, rock rails, and steel rear bar, but the clever sports bar stays, as does the tow­bar/tow­ball and seven-pin wiring setup. A Rogue-only fea­ture that, sur­pris­ingly, is not an op­tion on the oth­ers, is the hard­shell ton­neau cover. This cover op­er­ates on gas struts and in­cludes an in­te­rior light and is se­cured via the ve­hi­cle’s cen­tral lock­ing sys­tem. Up­ping the luxo feel, its tray-liner is marine-grade syn­thetic car­pet ma­te­rial.

Styling-wise, the Rogue of­fers a slightly ag­gres­sive ap­pear­ance, thanks to its bluff front end and the use of black paint ac­cents around the ve­hi­cle. The Rogue’s shorter side-on pro­file at the front also con­trib­utes to a bet­ter ap­proach an­gle – at 30 de­grees – than that of its bush-ori­ented sta­ble­mates (both Ruggeds mea­sure 28 de­grees). The Rogue rolls on 18-inch al­loys and runs 265/60R18 rub­ber, but does have less ground clear­ance: 216mm as op­posed to 251 and 253mm.

The Rogue in­te­rior is iden­ti­cal to Rugged X, with the heated front leather­ac­cent seats (driver power-ad­justable), in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem and rear air-con vents all sur­rounded by plenty of black.

TEST LOOP

THE test loop at the Flin­ders Ranges launch event com­prised a mix of on-road and off-road driv­ing, with the lat­ter a mix of flat out­back roads and rocky tracks, as well as a ded­i­cated off-road loop that in­cluded plenty of short and steep as­cents and de­scents, and the rock rails ob­sta­cle test. As ex­pected the Hilux’s un­changed 2.8TD en­gine does its job ef­fec­tively and with­out fuss – thanks to the am­ple torque on tap low down in the rev range.

It was busi­ness as usual in terms of how these new mod­els drove – a def­i­nite case of when you’re on a good thing, stick to it...

DE­PAR­TURE AN­GLE RAMPOVER AN­GLE AP­PROACH AN­GLE WAD­ING DEPTH GROUND CLEAR­ANCE 21˚ N/A 28˚ 700mm 251mm

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