Toy­ota’s “bad boy” HiLux looks tough and, un­laden, bounces big time

AT A GLANCE

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - IAIN CURRY & JULES LUCHT

Toy­ota’s cash­ing in on HiLux be­ing Aus­tralia’s best-sell­ing car, re­veal­ing the ac­ces­sory-laden off-road-ready Rugged and street-tough black­ened Rogue mod­els. Our fam­ily of four tests the showy — and pricey — HiLux Rogue to see if it’s as life­style-ready as it claims.

FIRST IM­PRES­SIONS

IAIN: Toy­ota’s HiLux is go­ing to be Aus­tralia’s best-sell­ing car again.

JULES: It’s not a car, it’s a truck. It shouldn’t count.

IAIN: Re­gard­less, the HiLux is what the peo­ple are buy­ing, in­clud­ing this new Rogue.

JULES: It looks tough with its bad-boy black grille, 18-inch wheels and sports bar. Not cheap, I take it?

IAIN: Try $61,690 be­fore on-roads. It’s got the bits the cool kids want. It’s based on the flag­ship HiLux SR5 and you get leather seats, auto gear­box and sat­nav.

JULES: What’s made this one “go Rogue” then?

IAIN: You get a restyled front bumper and black hon­ey­comb grille, LED fog lamps, grey rear bumper with larger step, tow­ball, black door han­dles and mir­rors — and, the big one, a hard ton­neau cover on gas struts.

JULES: Is this sup­posed to make it more of­froady?

IAIN: The op­po­site. For off-road­ers there are Rugged mod­els with use­ful stuff like snorkels, rock rails and re­cov­ery points.

JULES: Rogue’s for show-offs then?

IAIN: Yep. Toy­ota says it’s a “pre­mium recre­ational ute with a sports aes­thetic”.

THE LIV­ING SPACE

JULES: I like how huge dou­ble cabs are in­side; you’re hardly short of space.

IAIN: The heated leather front seats are bril­liantly comfy but it still feels like a work truck de­spite the $60K-plus tag. There are lots of hard plas­tics and a few to­ken Rogue black bits.

JULES: When is Toy­ota go­ing to get Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto? The seven-inch touch­screen feels small and func­tion­al­ity is a way off ri­vals.

IAIN: Toy­ota says soon but no date yet. You get a CD player as com­pen­sa­tion.

JULES: CDs? Cashed up mil­len­nial tradies will love such cut­ting edge stuff.

IAIN: It’s cool hav­ing key­less en­try and push-but­ton start but there’s no dig­i­tal speedo.

THE COM­MUTE

JULES: Is it just me or does the HiLux not feel as quick as other utes?

IAIN: Some ri­vals have more power and torque. The Rogue’s more than 100kg heav­ier than a nor­mal HiLux SR5, stunt­ing its per­for­mance fur­ther.

JULES: The diesel en­gine is im­pres­sively quiet and cruises well on smooth high­ways.

IAIN: Rogue buy­ers can feel ag­grieved there was no bump in power, but yes, the en­gine is a re­fined thing.

JULES: It made me feel sick when it went over bumps. It’s a bouncy thing.

IAIN: True. Rear leaf springs and no load in the tray means plenty of pogo­ing.

THE SHOP­PING

JULES: Ma­noeu­vring a dual-cab is a night­mare. I had to park with two free spa­ces around me. It’s huge.

IAIN: Pos­i­tively, the lock­able hard cover means you can safely store plenty of tools, equip­ment and goods.

JULES: I still put the gro­ceries in the rear footwells. If a bag of shop­ping moves around, you’ve got to climb into the tray to fetch it from the back.

IAIN: It’s a big rig but vi­sion is su­perb as you sit up so high. The rear cam­era is much needed for re­v­erse park­ing.

SUN­DAY RUN

JULES: It is an ex­cel­lent week­end get­away ute. Un­der­neath the hard ton­neau there’s qual­ity car­pet that’s re­ally grippy.

IAIN: It’s ma­rine grade car­pet, UV and wa­ter-re­sis­tant. Ideal to throw the wet gear on af­ter camp­ing and jet ski­ing.

JULES: You’re def­i­nitely go­ing to see Rogues by lakes tow­ing a boat or jet ski rather than off-road­ing. Or, per­ish the thought, at a work site.

IAIN: It’ll tow 3200kg with this auto gear­box but it’s also prop­erly tal­ented off-road. I’ve tested the SR5 up moun­tains and on deep soft sand. It’s su­perb, in both low and high-range.

JULES: But it should be­have bet­ter on road. It’s wal­lowy and the tyres were squealy in cor­ners. IAIN: It has old-school ute han­dling. You need that fancy new Mercedes dou­ble cab for bet­ter on-road tal­ents. It costs about the same.

THE FAM­ILY

JULES: Loads of room in the back for kids’ car seats and you could fit an adult be­tween them. That’s ex­cel­lent.

IAIN: Thank­fully there are rear air vents, which the kids needed to ward off nau­sea with that bouncy ride.

JULES: It felt much more com­pli­ant with a few hun­dred ki­los of Ikea fur­ni­ture and then logs in the back.

IAIN: The kids’ bikes went in the tray eas­ily and the hard­top closed fine. For such du­ties, a HiLux is bril­liant.

JULES: I felt guilty about get­ting the car­pet in the tub dirty but for clean­ing off mucky stuff it can be re­moved from the vel­cro eas­ily.

IAIN: Fam­ily-wise the econ­omy was ac­cept­able — we re­turned 9.4L/100km — but six-monthly ser­vices are a pain.

JULES: There are plenty of airbags but the Rogue doesn’t have such ad­vanced safety tech as au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing. Not great for fam­ily du­ties.

TOY­OTA HILUX ROGUE PRICE $61,690 plus on-roads

WAR­RANTY/SER­VIC­ING 3 years/100,000km; $1440 for 3 years/60,000km

EN­GINE 2.8-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 130kW/450Nm

SAFETY 5 stars, 7 airbags, rear cam­era, trailer sway con­trol

THIRST 8.5L/100km

SPARE Full-size

PAY­LOAD 826kg

THE VER­DICT

IAIN: The Rogue is a good-look­ing ve­hi­cle. If I were a sin­gle, cashed-up tradie, it’d be ideal for a trip to the snow, moun­tain bik­ing or jet ski­ing. It’s just not as bad boy “rogue” as, say, a Ford Ranger Rap­tor. They are $75,000 though.

JULES: For week­ends, I’d love a dual-cab ute and the Rogue is tough enough. But it’d need to be a sec­ond car. It’s just too cum­ber­some, bouncy and ex­pen­sive for daily du­ties.

ONE CAR — TWO CRIT­ICS

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