Hilux Rogue designed for people of leisure. But does it make sense?
What is it?
The Toyota Hilux Rogue, one of a trio of new models: the Hilux Rugged, the Hilux Rugged X and of course the Rogue, that have been specially designed by Toyota Australia with backing by Toyota in Japan.
All three models replace the previous ranging-topping SR5. The Rugged and Rugged X are targeted at customers who want to take their Hilux off-road, and the Rogue is designed for people who are jump on the “utes as leisure vehicles” bandwagon, which seems to be growing at a bewildering rate.
What’s it cost?
Only one variant of the Hilux Rogue is available: a 4×4 dual cab version, powered by Toyota’s 2.8 litre turbo diesel – they killed off the V6, remember? – which is matted to a six-speed automatic. The Hilux Rogue is priced from $61,690 plus on road costs.
Standard equipment includes everything you used to get on a fully laden SR5: climate control, push button start, LED headlights, satellite navigation, leather trim with seat heating, a reversing camera, satellite navigation, digital radio Bluetooth audio and phone and so on and so forth.
Unique to the Hilux Rogue are a sports bar, a lockable tonneau cover, a carpeted tub (more on this later) with lighting, black highlights across the bodywork and a smattering of “Rogue” stickers. There are also 18 inch alloys, carpets throughout the cabin side steps and a step at the rear to allow easier access to the tub.
What you don’t get, though, are parking sensors – these should be standard, given the Rogue’s price tag and it’s intended use. Parking sensors are fitted as standard to rivals such as the similarly priced Ford Ranger FX4 as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
What’s it go like?
The Hilux Rogue drives like a full-size dual cab ute. The steering is a little on the heavy side, it leans a little in to corners and the ride is a little firm thanks to that ladder frame chassis set up. It’s not uncomfortable or laborious around town though, although that length may make parking a little tricky for some.
Should you wish to go off-road, the Hilux Rogue is still capable of conquering pretty much anything you throw at it, courtesy of a low range gearbox, a transmission bash plate and diff locks.
Under the bonnet lies Toyota’s 2.8 litre four-cylinder turbo diesel and the engine produces 130kW @ 3400rpm and 450Nm @ 1600-2400rpm. Performance is respectable, offering decent pulling power more or less of the line. That automatic transmission can be a little slow to shift, though, and we thought gearshifts could be a little crisper.
Noise and refinement could be improved, as the diesel clatter and rumble filters though the cabin and they increase as the revs build. Toyota cites an official combined fuel consumption figure of 8.5 litres per 100 kilometres. We achieved about 10.5 litres per 100 kilometres across a mixture of urban and freeway driving.
What’s it like inside?
Let’s start with the tub. Or, more correctly, in the case of the Hilux Rogue, the boot. Yes, that’s right, Toyota has converted the Hilux’s tub into a boot. They’ve lined the tub with carpet – no dirty tools or muddy dirt bikes are welcome here! – and fitted a lockable tonneau cover. Now, the tonneau cover provides excellent protection for your valuables as it’s well and truly secure and there’s even an automatically illuminating boot light for added convenience.
However, a couple of things to note: the back must be unlocked with a separate key, and you must remember to unlock all doors with the main key before unlocking and removing anything from the cargo area, otherwise you’ll set the alarm off. We did this a couple of times. It was rather embarrassing.
Secondly, it doesn’t seem a practical as a conventional Hilux, which allows you to chuck anything in the back – tools during the week and toys on the weekend. The light coloured carpet in the back of the Rogue looks like it may be susceptible to absorbing dirt and stains. And, for this price, why not opt for a Prado GXL. Or for less, what about a Fortuner?
The Hilux Rogue interior is more than comfortable and spacious enough for five passengers. Head, leg and shoulder room are fine all round, and the seats are relatively plush. Fit and finish is fine, although those plastics are still a little too cheap and shiny, especially for this price.
What we like:
- Looks tough
- Lockable lid provides proper security
- Gutsy engine
What we don’t:
- Carpet in the tub reduces practicality
- Tub locking system should be integrated with central locking and alarm
- Questionable value for money
- Utes should be bought as multi-purpose vehicles, rather than fashion accessories.
Sale or no sale?
The current generation Toyota Hilux isn’t a bad thing. It’s tough, relatively comfortable and inoffensive to drive. And, the new Hilux Rogue continues to build on many of these qualities, but there are some aspects that don’t seem very well thought out.