Unbreakable Hilux now rugged too

Chris HiLux Rogue profile

What is it?

Toyota’s kitted up Hilux range called Rugged, Rugged-X, and Rogue.

Mechanically identical, Toyota says they are three new models, not merely special editions.

All three are powered by the same 2.8-litre four cylinder diesel donk, with manual and auto available with Rugged, and auto only for the more urbane Rogue.

Tested were the Rugged-X and Rogue, both with an auto and four-wheel drive.

Development of the range began back in 2015, with the ultimate goal of installing the trio at the top of the range — above the existing SR5.

The diesel produces 130kW of power at 3400rpm and 450Nm of torque between 1600 and 2400rpm, in combination with the six-speed auto.

Fuel consumption isn’t great, nor is it frightening.

Combined consumption for the Rugged-X is 7.9L/100 and in an urban environment, 8.8L/100km.

The Rogue gets 8.5L/100km and 10.9L/100km respectively.

Tank size is 80 litres and both were tested in the urban jungle, with the Rugged-X finishing on 9.7L/100km and Rogue sat at 10.5L/100km.

They come with Toyota’s standard three-year warranty and service attached.

Chris HiLux Rugged X off road 1

What’s it cost?

The Rugged-X manual and Rogue auto clock in at $61,690, with the auto adding another $2000 to the price of Rugged-X. These prices are not inclusive of on-road costs, nor any options or extras.

What you get for your hard earned are two Hilux four-door utes with off road capability, and with differing body styles — most additional parts are fitted here in Australia after they leave the Thailand factory.

The Rugged-X gets a complete nosejob, with an Aussie designed and fitted steel front bar, and integrated LED light bar.

The Rugged-X also has a black-out decal with bespoke logo.

Both are fitted with bash plates underneath and full length side steps, although Rogue’s steps protrude further.

Both also feature a bolt in roll bar with nameplate attached.

A tow bar is also fitted, and the Rugged-X gains four recovery points, two at the front and another two at the rear — as well as a snorkel for water crossings.

LED driving lights are incorporated in the headlight cluster.

At the rear the Rugged-X has alloy matt black covers for the rear lights and a polyurethane tub lining, while Rogue scores a hard, lockable tonneau cover with marine grade carpet lining.

Rogue has a completely different front bar to Rugged-X, a full depth plastic unit that features driving lights in an angled niche at each corner, in a design not unlike Kia’s Sorento from three or so years ago.

Inside both cars have full black trim, with leather seats front and rear, and fronts seats that are heated but with one setting only.

DAB radio and satnav come with one of the market’s less user-friendly touchscreens.

There’s also 12V and USB points tucked away, a powered driver’s seat, and twin white-backlit dials in the dash bracketing a full colour LCD info display (which also plays a short Hilux animation on startup).

The tiller is leather wrapped and all windows are one touch up and down.

There’s rubber mats for the Rugged-X, cloth mats for the Rogue.

A reverse camera with guidelines is fitted as standard, but rear sensors are not.

That’s a huge safety oversight. You can fit them as an option — but you shouldn’t have to.

Autonomous Emergency Braking and any form of lane keeping assistance aren’t fitted either, although they’re apparently available in Euro spec vehicles.

Toyota say the Rugged-X is aimed at those that go off-road and the Rogue is moreso for the urban, upper level tradie or business owner.

The styling and body additions are certainly indicative of that, with the test Rogue in pearlescent white while the Rugged-X was a subdued grey.

There are more tarmac friendly tyres on the Rogue too, with Dunlop Grand Trek 265/60/18s on black painted alloys.

Rugged-X has 17-inch alloys and more off-road oriented Bridgestone Dueler rubber.

Interior packaging is standard Hilux. There’s adequate room front and rear, but basketball players may prefer to ride in the rear tray as legroom is not great for people over 180cm.

That’s a curious given the ute’s 3085mm wheelbase, and 5350mm/5345mm length.

The tray is 1569mm long, 1645mm, with 1109mm between the wheel arches. It’s 470mm deep and the sports bars are 25mm in width. 

Chris HiLux Rugged X off road 2

What’s it go like?

Straight up both suffer in performance and fuel economy due to their weight.

Rugged-X tips the scales dry at 2252kg, Rogue is 2174kg. It begs the question: why does the latter have heavier fuel consumption?

Ride and handling are noticeably different. The Rugged-X, being more for the dirt driver, is softer, spongier and floatier. The steering is rubbery on centre and a half turn is required before a change of direction is noted.

The brakes need more activation with nothing but a soft feel from start to finish. Turning circles are cruise-liner like, with at least 13 metres required for a safe circle.

Although the Rogue features the same disc/drum brake combo, it feels more confident in the braking department. The ride is harder but not teeth-chatteringly so, and handling is noticeably crisper.

Both have a double wishbone with stabiliser bar front and a leaf sprung rear — but they have specific damper and spring tunes.

The transmission is smooth with light pedal pressure. Go harder and there’s a noticeable change as it moves through the six ratios. The Rogue particularly was caught out in the gears after going from 50 km/h to a braking turn.

The gearbox became confused momentarily, before flaring and dropping back a cog or two — with diesel rattle becoming noticeably more audible.

Off-road though, the Rugged-X showcases exactly why it’s fitted with the body kit.

There’s a proper four-wheel drive system with high and low range, along with a differential lock and hill descent control.

Tested on an easily accessible fire trail that has equal mixes of rock, gravel, mud, sand, puddles, inclines and descents, Rugged-X ate these up as easily as a hungry teenager gobbles junk food.

The on road indecisiveness gave way to a sure-footed, confident and competent off-roader, with the torque of the diesel four working precisely in combination with a more adept auto.

The Dueler tyres are wonderful at gripping varying rock and gravel surfaces, and power though depths of up to 12 inches with nary a sneeze.

There’s 28 degrees approach angle for the Rugged-X, 30 for the Rogue. Departure angles are 21 and 20 degrees respectively.

Ride height also points towards the expected market usage, with Rugged-X at 251mm and Rogue 216mm.

Both have a 3200kg braked towing capability, but actual cargo carry capacity is well under the magic tonne — at 826 and 748kg for Rogue and Rugged-X.

Chris HiLux Rugged X bash plate

What we like?

  • Typical Toyota fit and finish inside and out
  • Proven and demonstrable medium level ability off-road
  • DAB and satnav standard

Chris HiLux Rogue wheel

What we don’t like?

  • Rugged-X not overly tarmac friendly ride and handling
  • Fuel economy figures in a non-tradie load environment
  • Interior packaging

Chris HiLux Rogue seats

The bottom line?

Given the identical mechanical package but more urban friendly driving habits of the Rogue, it’s the pick. But as either are suitable for rural usage, it’s a small win. Looks-wise Rugged-X certainly backs up the name.


Chris HiLux Rugged X dash

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Toyota Hilux Rugged X and Rogue, priced from $61,690
  • Looks - 7.0/10
  • Performance - 6.5/10
  • Safety - 5.0/10
  • Thirst - 6.0/10
  • Practicality - 7.0/10
  • Comfort - 7.0/10
  • Tech - 7.0/10
  • Value - 7.5/10

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