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Driven: Toyota lobs new HiLux flagship trio

Tough enough: The Rugged X features a steel front bumper that incorporates LED lighting, a bash plate and red recovery hooks.

Toyota adds Rogue, Rugged, Rugged X variants to HiLux range, from $54,990 BOCs


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18 Apr 2018

TOYOTA Motor Corporation Australia (TMCA) has announced that the new Rugged, Rogue and Rugged X variants added to its HiLux dual-cab pick-up range will be priced from $54,990 before on-road costs when they hit showrooms on April 26.

The manual Rugged attracts a $8430 premium over the SR grade upon which it is based, kicking off proceedings at the aforementioned price, while an automatic transmission adds an extra $2000.

The automatic-only Rogue checks in at $61,690 – $7250 dearer than its donor SR5 grade – while the flagship line-up is topped by the Rugged X, which attracts the same premium and costs $61,690 in manual form or $63,690 in automatic guise.

This pricing structure makes it more affordable than the single-specification $74,990 Ford Ranger Raptor and the HSV Colorado SportsCat line-up, which ranges from $60,790 to $68,990 before options are added.

Mercedes’ incoming X350d and the Volkswagen Amarok TDI580 line-ups are yet to be priced, but the former is expected to hit $85,000 in flagship Power form.

TMCA vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said the average HiLux customer spends more than $2000 on accessories, while 25 per cent go off-road every day, with these points serving as inspiration for the creation of the new variants.

“The Rugged X, Rogue and Rugged are not accessorised special editions, they are fully fledged new HiLux models that our customers demanded, and we can be justifiably proud that they were designed and developed here in Australia,” he said.

As previously reported, TMCA’s Port Melbourne-based product planning and development division was responsible for designing and engineering the trio, consulting customers during their three-year development period.

Significantly, Australian suppliers have been tapped to manufacture every new component for the Rugged twins and most for the Rogue, with these fitted to Thai-built SR and SR5 variants by hand at a Port Melbourne facility operated by TMCA logistics partner Patrick Autocare.

Specifically, Frontline Australasia is responsible for the front steel bumper bar, bullbar and sports bar Brown & Watson International for the Narva lighting products, ARB for the rear steel bumper bar, rock rails and recovery points and ERG Group for the hard tonneau.

The move to involve Australian suppliers on top of the local design and engineering efforts serves as part of TMCA’s legacy following the closure of its Altona manufacturing plant in October last year.

Depending on market demand, TMCA plans to produce about 6000 examples of the trio per year, with 60 to 70 per cent of customers – mainly private buyers – expected to opt for the Rugged twins, while the remainder will purchase the Rogue.

“People at the end of this market really want something special. They don’t want their neighbours driving one, so the relative scarcity of these new models will only add further to their appeal,” Mr Hanley added.

When questioned by GoAuto if the trio would cannibalise sales of the SR and SR5, he indicated that their volume is expected to be mainly additional.

“I think there will be some crossover … (but) these are very different cars designed for very different reasons. So, I would like to think the vast majority of the 6000 sales would be incremental,” he said.

“There will be some movement between SR5 and these cars, no doubt, but it won’t be significant. We’re not planning on a significant movement on existing customers up to these cars, but there will be some.”

TMCA has followed HSV’s lead by leaving the HiLux’s turbo-diesel powertrain alone, meaning its 2.8-litre four-cylinder unit continues to produce 130kW of power, while peak torque is 420Nm when paired to a six-speed manual gearbox or 450Nm if mated to the six-speed automatic transmission.

Mr Hanley stressed that while TMCA has not taken the opportunity yet to offer a more potent HiLux in its current lifecycle, the door remains open for this to change down the line.

“There’s no doubt in the world that there’s a strong appetite in the Australian market towards performance vehicles. So, whilst we have no plans to announce today, these are the things we will continue to examine in the future.

“We’ll certainly look towards any product offerings that offer a sports or performance car, whether it be this car or another car in the future … but if it were to become available, I can promise you Toyota Australia’s hand would be held high.”

As previously reported, the Rugged X focuses on capability, with its steel front bumper incorporating an LED light bar, a bash plate and red recovery hooks, while the front grille is split into two mesh sections.

Dark grey-coloured bonnet and tailgate decals, fender flares, side body protection, side rock rails, a snorkel, a steel rear bumper, matte-black tail-light surrounds, a tub liner and black 17-inch alloy wheels shod in 265/65 all-terrain tyres round out the purposeful look, while corner approach (49 degrees) and departure (21 degrees) angles have been increased.

The Rugged X’s matte black sports bar penetrates the tray instead of being mounted on its side walls – as implemented on the SR5 – with this addition shared by the trio.

Many of these flourishes are also found on the Rugged, which is aimed at buyers who want a full steel bullbar.

It is based on the lower-specification SR grade and misses out on the Rugged X’s front recovery hooks but picks up satellite navigation and digital radio.

The Rogue is pitched as a vehicle that caters towards various lifestyles and it intended for markets outside of Australia, including Thailand where it is known as the Rocco.

Its front end is noticeably different from the SR5 upon which it is based, with changes including a trapezoidal grille and an aggressive front bumper, as well as black and metallic grey highlights.

Upgrades to the rear end are less dramatic, with the large reflective Toyota branding replaced by a small black badge on the tailgate, while the bumper’s chrome accents have made way for metallic grey touches.

A hard tonneau cover, marine-grade carpet tub liner, and gloss-black side mirrors and doorhandles, and black 18-inch alloy wheels shod in 265/60 rubber have been added.

Inside, black leather-accented seats, metallic-black ornamentation, a black roofliner, front and rear all-weather floor mats, and a new-look instrument cluster feature in the Rugged twins.

Rear drum brakes carry over, meaning ventilated disc brakes are found at the front only. However, the front springs for the Rugged twins have been uprated to cope with the weight added by their steel bumper.

Significantly, all of these new components are covered by TMCA’s standard three-year/100,000km factory warranty but will not be sold separately for the foreseeable future.

Braked towing capacity remains at 3500kg for manual variants, while their automatic counterparts manage 3200kg. However, their payload has been reduced by 200kg, to 725kg.

Claimed fuel consumption on the combined cycle test is 7.9 litres per 100 kilometres (manual, up 0.3L/100km) or 8.6L/100km (automatic, up 0.1L/100km) for the Rugged twins, while the Rogue holds steady at 8.5L/100km – matching the automatic SR5.

The HiLux was the best-selling model in Australia last year, with 47,093 examples sold, representing an 11.9 per cent increase over the 41,104 deliveries made in 2016.

It dominated the overall utility segment last year, outselling the Ford Ranger (42,728 units), Mitsubishi Triton (23,605), Holden Colorado (21,579), Isuzu D-Max (17,717), Nissan Navara (16,532) and Mazda BT-50 (14,119), among others.

This momentum has continued in 2018, with 12,634 vehicles finding homes to the end of March, equating to a 22.3 per cent lift over the 10,333 units sold during the same period in 2017.

2018 Toyota HiLux pricing*

Rugged $54,990*
Rugged (a) $56,990
Rugged X $61,690
Rugged X (a) $63,690
Rogue (a) $61,690

*Excludes on-road costs

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