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Toyota HiLux Rogue Vs Toyota HiLux Rugged



We pit two HiLux variants against one another to work out whether the cheaper more off-road biased Rugged is a better buy than the town-oriented Rogue.

Toyota HiLux Rogue Specifications

Price $61,690+ORC Warranty five-years unlimited kilometres Servicing 6 months/10,000km Safety five-star ANCAP (2015) Engine 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel Power 130kW at 3400rpm Torque 450Nm at 1600-2400rpm Transmission Six-Speed Automatic only Drive Part-Time 4×4 with low-range Turning Circle 12.6m Ground Clearance 210mm measured Angles 30-degrees Approach, 20-degrees Departure Dimensions 5345mm long, 1855mm wide, 1815mm high, 3085mm wheelbase Weight 2147kg Towing capacity 750/3200kg GVM 3000kg Spare Full-Size Alloy Fuel Tank 80 litres Thirst 8.5L/100km claimed combined

Toyota HiLux Rugged Specifications

Pricing Rugged $54,990 (+$2000 auto) Warranty five-years, unlimited kilometres Safety five-star ANCAP (2015) Engine 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel Power 130kW at 3400rpm Torque 420Nm at 1400-2600rpm (man) Transmission six-speed manual Drive part-time 4×4 with low-range drive Dimensions 5415mm long,1885mm wide, 1815mm  high, 3085mm wheelbase Turning Circle 12.6m Ground Clearance ???mm Towing capacity 750/3500kg Kerb weight 2235kg Payload 765kg Spare Full size Fuel Tank 80L Thirst (combined) 7.9/100km

On the surface, it might appear as if these two vehicles are aimed at different buyers. At least that’s what Toyota would like for you to think but the truth is they’re both HiLuxes…

And that means, if you’re interested in one then you’ll be interested in the other. And it’s not as if the cosmetic-pack Rogue, which Toyota says is aimed at ‘urban adventurers’ is suddenly comfy, premium ute. It isn’t.

Okay, justification out of the way, let’s get into this.

What’s the price and what do you get?

Based on the HiLux SR5 ($56,440+ORC), the Rogue adds $5550 worth of accessories and bumps the price to $61,990+ORC. The Rogue is an automatic-only model, the other variants offer both manual and automatic transmission options, and is the only one of the three that is being offered in markets beyond Australia.

Toyota HiLux Rogue Review

So, what does the extra coin get you? It features a revised front bumper and grille, and additional equipment over HiLux SR5 includes a grey rear bumper with wider step, tow bar, load-rated sports bar, hard tonneau cover with integrated light, tailgate dust-sealing kit, marine-grade carpet tub liner, 18-inch ‘Rogue’ alloy wheels, and the same interior features and trim as the Rugged X.

Toyota HiLux Rogue Review

While the Rogue is based on the SR5, as is the Rugged X, the Rugged is based on the SR and, so, is quite a bit cheaper than the Rogue even when accounting for the almost $10,000 worth of ‘practical’ extras it gets.

Toyota HiLux Rugged Review

The Rugged, claims Toyota, is aimed at buyers who need the protection of a more traditional steel bull bar, and it costs $54,990+ORC with six-speed manual gearbox (the auto adds $2000), which is a $9930 premium over the $45,060+ORC HiLux SR Double-Cab Pick-Up on which it’s based.

Toyota HiLux Rugged Review

In addition to a stock HiLux SR, the Rugged has a redesigned grille, a winch-compatible steel bull bar, steel rock rails, snorkel, heavy-duty steel rear step bar, tow bar, rear recovery points, new load-rated sports bar, tub liner, 17-inch ‘Tough’ alloy wheels satnav, DAB+ radio and front and rear all-weather floor mats.

Toyota HiLux Rugged Review

What about safety features?

The HiLux carries a five-star ANCAP rating from when it was tested back in 2015.  Standard safety features included across the HiLux Rugged X, Rugged and Rogue models include seven air bags, vehicle stability control, active traction control, hill-start assist control, trailer sway control and reversing camera.

Despite the price, the HiLux lacks the active safety features appearing on the latest versions of its key competitors, like the Ford Ranger which, in Wildtrak trim, offers autonomous emergency braking and more. Because the HiLux lacks active safety, if it was tested today by ANCAP it would fail to achieve a five-star rating.

What about ownership?

Toyota recently announced it was upgrading from its market-lagging three-year warranty to a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty. It also announced that if one of its vehicles was deemed undrivable within the first 60 days then it would be replaced. Toyota offers capped price servicing on the HiLux capped at $240 up to the first six services for three years.

What’s the interior and practicality like?

The interior is one of the areas where there are a handful of differences between the Rogue and the Rugged but this is mainly because one’s based on the top-spec SR5 and one on the SR. The Rogue’s interior mirrors that of the Rugged X and offers more extensive use of gloss black trim panels, gets a larger information screen set between the analogue dials and has leather seats and a more modern climate control interface.

Toyota HiLux Rogue Review

But this doesn’t mean, it feels like a premium machine. Not by a long shot. If anything, sat side-by-side with the Rugged, the Rogue’s interior comes off feeling brassy. And the greater use of shiny plastic means there’s more of the dashboard that shows up the dust that seems to cling to the Rogue’s interior like on no other car I’ve driven.

Sure, the Rugged’s dark, scratchy plastic dashboard isn’t too flash either but there’s some trickery with the plastic to make it look like stitched soft-touch stuff. And while the leather seats in the Rogue are good quality, I prefer the cloth seats in the Rugged and that’s because they don’t heat up as much as the leather pews; something you’ll be thankful of if wearing shorts and the thing’s been parked in the sun all day. That said, most buyers planning to use these things in the bush will likely fit aftermarket seat covers.

The climate controls in the Rugged look like they’ve come off a car from the early 1990s but they get the job done. Beyond this, storage is the same on both cars and that means twin cupholders in the front, bottle holders in the doors and split glovebox storage.

Toyota HiLux Rogue Review

In the back, the Rogue gets directional air vents but the Rugged misses out. The seats, front and back, in my opinion, are a little more comfortable in the Rugged, and they’ll hold a child’s seat a little better too. Both variants have ISOFIX mounts for the two outboard seats. And the 60:40 split-fold seat base allows you to fold up one side or the other if you need some extra in-cabin storage.

The two models differ in the try with the Rogue getting a hard, hinged, lockable tonneau cover while the Rugged is open at the back. The Rogue’s tub is carpeted while the Rugged gets a liner which covers the floor but not the sides of the tub. And the tie-down points aren’t located quite where you want them to be…they’re on the tub sides rather than the tub floor. The sports bar on both variants is the same and can be used for lashing items to and bearing a load. As we noted in our review of the Rogue, the tailgate is a heavy thing that needs an assistance strut.

What’s the performance like?

The three HilUx variants are mechanically identical to their donor vehicles and that means they run a 2.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine making 130kW at 3400rpm and 450Nm of torque from 1600-2400rpm. Our Rugged test car was fitted with a six-speed manual transmission and it produces less torque (420Nm at 1400-2600rpm).

The engine isn’t overly refined and nor is the automatic transmission. Personally, the manual transmission is the pick of the two in my opinion and that’s simply because you can be more intimately involved in the car. Indeed, despite being down on torque the manual HiLux feels smoother at lower speeds and quicker too (but this is likely just perception).

The auto-equipped Rogue is easy to drive but the transmission isn’t overly refined, meaning it can be clumsy around town and too eager to run to top-gear at an even speed and then run out of puff on a hill. At which time it’ll slam back a cog to keep momentum.

Regardless of the transmission, the HiLux can be a thirsty beast. Put the air-con on full to cope with an Aussie summer heatwave and drive at 100km/h and you can literally watch the fuel gauge fall. In our testing, which covered off-road, on-road, around town and highway speeds, we averaged 11.5L/100km with the automatic and a lot better at 9.5.0L/100km but that’s only because you’re able to better prepare the thing for the terrain and select the right gear at the right time – something the automatic doesn’t always do.

What are they like on the road?

The Rogue’s ride is firm and that’s in part due to the fact it’s a ute with a cart-spring rear end and because the thing rides on 18-inch alloys with less ‘give’ in the tyre sidewall. The Rugged, however, rides on 17s with a higher sidewall and thus a little more ‘give’ across bumps. It’s also had its suspension tuned to handle the additional weight of the accessories it carries.

And that has made a huge difference to the way the Rugged rides and handles compared to the Rogue. And while I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say they’re chalk and cheese, it’s close to that. The Rugged is more comfortable both on- and off-road and there’s a progression to the way it deals with bumps and indeed its own body weight in corners that the Rogue doesn’t have.

The steering is the same on the two cars and that means its best described as being slow, ponderous and lacking in feel, but it’s less noticeable in the Rugged because of the better ride and body control.

What are they like off the road?

Off-road is where the two cars step away from one another. Again. The Rogue runs road-oriented rubber wrapped around 18-inch alloys. This contributes to a firmer ride and less sidewall to bulge when running lower pressures off-road.


The Rugged, on the other hand, gets Dunlop All-Terrain rubber on 17-inch alloys which are a more sensible package but the rubber’s not as grippy as some other all-terrain tyres you can buy. And this alone helped the Rugged to out-grip the Rogue across the same terrain.

Toyota HiLux Rogue Review

More than that, with its manual transmission offering excellent low-range reduction you can get the thing to crawl along virtually at a crawl. Indeed, the merest hint of throttle is often enough to get it to inch carefully over obstacles. And the throttle response is better on the manual-equipped Rugged than the automatic-only Rogue with its spongey throttle. The Rugged’s pedal doesn’t bounce and there isn’t a lot of feel but the action is more progressive.

And then there’s the slightly tweaked suspension that helps the Rugged to ride better than the Rogue on-road which also helps it to ride better when off-road. The Rugged is just a much smoother, better controlled vehicle smothering bumps on our test track that had the Rogue bucking.

Which one wins and why?

This is an interesting-ish question. If you’re a poser who doesn’t care for driving off-road. At all, then the more expensive Rogue is for you. But, if you’re looking for a cheaper HiLux variant with a whole heap of legwork already done in terms of practical accessories then the Rugged is the much better buy. That it rides better on- and off-road and looks better is icing on the cake.

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober