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Toyota adds HiLux halo trio

X factor: Toyota’s HiLux range is set to get a new sporty flagship, the Rugged X, to compete in similar territory to the upcoming Ford Ranger Raptor and Holden Colorado SportsCat.

Three HiLux additions to help Toyota cash in on demand for top-shelf one-tonners

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Toyota logo10 Jan 2018

By RON HAMMERTON

JUST a week after hinting that it was planning something special at the high end of its top-selling HiLux range, Toyota Australia has formally announced three new 4x4 variants aimed at weekend warriors.

The new halo variants – Rogue, Rugged and Rugged X – are due to arrive in showrooms in the second quarter of this year, sitting above the current HiLux flagship, the SR5.

These vehicles were largely developed in Australia by Toyota Australia’s Melbourne-based Product Development Division, in league with Thai design and engineering counterparts.

Pricing and exact specifications will not be confirmed until launch, but potential buyers can expect prices to start above the SR5 double-cab 4x4 diesel’s $54,440, plus on-road costs.

Toyota hopes the extended range will help to entrench HiLux at the top of the Australian new-vehicles sales tree for a third year in a row.

The new HiLux variants are expected to retain the standard 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, although the chassis is likely to be modified.

The most dramatically styled variant in the new-look HiLux range, the Rugged X, appears to be Toyota’s answer to rival upcoming sports utes, the Ford Ranger Raptor and Holden-HSV Colorado SportsCat.

Drawing inspiration from the locally developed HiLux Tonka concept shown by Toyota Australia last year, the Rugged X is clearly designed for off-road work, with extra front ground clearance, an alloy bash plate, steel bumper with integrated LED lightbar and driving lights, plus obligatory red-painted tow hooks.

The Rogue – called Rocco in Thailand – looks more of a Ranger Wildtrak competitor, with more conventional frontal design and sports-luxury cues.

The Rugged is a more business-like affair, with a full steel bullbar for better front-end protection, as well as an under-bumper bash plate, snorkel air inlet, side steps, rear tray sports bar and black alloy wheels.

Like the Rugged X, the Rugged gets black trim, including a black-painted bonnet.

Toyota Australia sales and marketing vice-president Sean Hanley said HiLux buyers increasingly spent more on accessories than customers buying any other model in the Toyota range.

“These new vehicles will enable them to make a statement with advanced toughness, added capability, practical comfort, first-class safety and the in-built strength that makes HiLux the indisputable No. 1,” he said.

Mr Hanley said all new components would be fully integrated with the vehicle, certified to Australian Design Rules and have full warranty coverage.

He said they had been developed to Toyota’s rigorous and renowned vehicle standards and were optimised for performance, durability and mass.

Official VFACTS sales figures released last week confirmed that HiLux was Australia’s best-selling vehicle in 2017, with a record 47,093 sales.

However, Ford’s Ranger has been making its way up the sales ladder, finishing second to HiLux last year, with 42,728 sales.

Toyota says more than half of HiLux 4x4 dual-cab sales are the top-most SR5 spec, with many of these getting a number of optional features.

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