Buoyed by news that the Toyota HiLux utility took home the gong for Australia’s best-selling new vehicle in 2017, the Japanese manufacturer will shortly introduce three new model grades to the HiLux’s dual-cab lineup. Coined the HiLux Rogue, HiLux Rugged and HiLux Rugged X, are a response to consumer tastes trending upmarket in the ute segment, with Toyota Australia vice president sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, remarking on the fact Australians spend ‘more on accessories’ for HiLux than any other vehicle in Toyota’s range.
Two of the new nameplates – the Rugged and Rugged X – will focus on increased off-roading nous, while the Rogue model will be pitched as a more premium HiLux offering for those seeking a high-end dual cab. While the Rogue will arrive as a more luxurious alternative, its off-roading capabilities will be the same as the current range flagship, the HiLux SR5. Rumours that the Rogue would sport a large on-road wheel and tyre package have not borne out, with the pre-production model pictured riding on what appear to be 18-inch Dunlop Grandtrek tyres.
The Toyota HiLux Rugged X.
All three models will use the same 2.8-litre single-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine found in most current HiLux models. The 2.8-litre D4D engine produces 130kW of power and 450Nm of torque – capable, but some way off the flagship engines of the class. The Volkswagen Amarok V6 TDI, for example, produces 165kW and 550Nm, while the five-cylinder diesel Ford Ranger make 147kW and 470Nm. In the Toyota, both six-speed automatic and six-speed manual gearboxes are expected to be available on each new model.
The Rugged X and Rogue will be occupy new range points above the HiLux SR5 dual-cab 4×4, which is priced at $54,440 for a six-speed manual or $56,440 for a six-speed auto. We anticipate the Rogue model to be priced around $60,000 in automatic form, and the Rugged X to arrive around $63,000. The second model in the new off-road stream, simply coined Rugged, will be positioned below the SR5.
HiLux Rugged and Rugged X
The new HiLux Rugged, which appears to be based on the existing SR model, focusses on ‘provides off-roading enthusiasts with a vehicle that is ready for action’, Toyota says, and is fitted with a premium accessory steel bull bar that features twin LED daytime running light bars beneath the car’s halogen headlights.
The Toyota HiLux Rugged.
The Rugged features a prominent matte black bonnet decal with ‘Rugged’ lettering, black side steps and matte accentuated wheel arches, a snorkel, a black, heavy-duty sports bar and a bed liner.
Meanwhile, the more premium Rugged X model takes several cues from the ambitious Toyota HiLux Tonka concept that we experienced in 2017. The biggest ‘Tonka’ item to make it to production through the Rugged X is the aggressive front end treatment, structured around an alloy bash plate, a winch-compatible, hoopless steel bull bar with LED driving lights, a horizontal LED light bar and red tow hooks, plus a new grille incorporating the HiLux Tonka’s interlocking honeycomb design cues.
The Toyota HiLux Rugged X.
Further afield, the Rugged X scores the same bonnet decal as the lower Rugged model, plus black side steps, a heavy-duty sports bar, a snorkel and bed liner. The taillights also sport black fitovers in the style of the 2017 HiLux TRD special edition.
Mr Hanley told media the HiLux Rugged X is a “no-compromise vehicle for those seeking adventure” and want to “work hard, play harder”.
Meanwhile, the new luxury addition to the range, the HiLux Rogue, is targetted as “people who want refinement and capability, enabling them to go for weekend adventures and do it in style,” Hanley said.
The Toyota HiLux Rogue.
The Rogue substitutes in an all-new front end design over the SR5, incorporating a more upmarket front bumper integrating LED driving lights. This sits below a larger, blacked-out grille featuring a Tundra-like horizontal crossbar and some of the interlocking honeycomb cues found on the HiLux Tonka and the Rugged X.
Blacked-out alloys complement black side steps and a heavy-duty black sports bar, while the pre-production vehicle was fitted with a hard-shell body-coloured tonneau cover.
The HiLux Rugged, HiLux Rugged X and HiLux Rogue will hit Toyota showrooms “during the second quarter of this year” – or around late March, early April. Specific pricing and specifications will be released closer to that date.