Cars, computers and lawnmowers – when they go, they are great, when they don’t, they’re
about as useful as a hip pocket in a singlet. That brings me to the HiLux Rogue. Among
the varied dictionary definitions of ‘rogue’ comes ‘an individual deviating from the normal,
usually inferior’.

My time with Toyota’s MY21 top-dog ute had a niggle or two. For a start the Aussie-
designed and developed motorised roll-top tub cover pulled up short, literally, on my first
attempt to store it, jamming inches away from being fully retracted. No amount of pressing
opening and closing buttons freed the pesky piece of apparatus.

A little less annoying was the key fob, which was erratic with its door locking and unlocking
functions activating only when a few metres from the cabin. Equivalent automotive security
systems usually can be operated from greater distance to the vehicle: often handy in a
crowded car park. Over to you, Toyota.

Anyway, enough of this negativity, the Rogue deserves its HiLux ‘halo’ in some respects.
Generally, it’s a credit to local engineers and designers, who were tasked with producing a
combination of toughness, complemented by a more recreational focus for a vehicle
designed to go anywhere and be sold in markets around the world.

Toyota Australia’s role in developing and evaluating the 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel
engine, rear suspension and hydraulic power steering was supported by teams from
Japan and Thailand, as well as representatives from other markets.

The Rogue sells for $68,990, plus on-road costs and options. The HiLux, in general,
continues its reign as the best-selling vehicle in Australia and like all Toyota vehicles is
covered by Toyota Service Advantage, with each of the first scheduled services costing
just $250 each.

Out of Toyota’s Melbourne design studio comes a dark vertical grille that cascades from
the bonnet down to the prominent lower bumper and under-guard. LED headlamps, with
dark internals, combine with bold outer corners of the bumper, which links to strong fog
lamp surrounds.

An aggressive side profile continues the theme with robust fender flares, unique wheel-
arch mouldings and an integrated resin sports bar making its debut. Wheel-arches also are
generous enough to take bigger, fatter alloys than the factory-fitted 18-inchers.

A new sports bar, made from resin, is easier to mould than steel, allowing it to have a
more artistic ‘sailplane’ shape.

Out back are redesigned bumper and tailgate. The tub itself is kitted out, up the walls too,
like a fully carpeted lounge room, with marine-grade , the liner lifting appearance and
coverage. The design makeover is made complete by a chrome Toyota tailgate badge and
new decals on the tailgate and sports bar.

The cabin is dominated by hard surfaces, which is hardly a serious criticism for a hard-
working ute. However, coming to the classy rescue are black perforated leather-accented
seats with grey outboard accents. The front seats are heated while the driver’s seat has
eight-way power adjustments. Front and rear carpet mats are included for Rogue.

There’s a deep cubby in the centre console and a double-decker dash-mounted glovebox,
the upper section cooled. Door storage includes convenient bottle slots.

Pride of place is a larger eight-inch display touchscreen plus control knobs, an upgraded
multimedia system with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and a premium JBL nine-speaker
sound system. One USB point and two AC 220-Volt accessory sockets are standard.

Restyled instruments consist of an analogue speedo and rev counter with blue pointers
flanking a 4.2-inch multi-information display, which now incorporates a digital speed
readout and a pictogram showing the angle of the front wheels.

Satellite navigation is easier to use with enhanced voice recognition, while other additions
include an electro-chromatic rear-view mirror, new ornamentation and blue illumination.

The upgraded 1GD turbo-diesel engine now develops 150 kW at 3400 rpm and 500 Nm
between 1600 and 2800 rpm, gains of 15 per cent and 11.1 per cent respectively.

The six-speed automatic transmission was recalibrated to allow earlier lock-up for
improved acceleration and to ensure Toyota’s temperature tolerances, especially when
towing, were observed.

The HiLux Rogue carries a five-star safety rating on 2019 testing and is equipped with
Toyota Safety Sense, including a pre-collision system with autonomous emergency
braking and the ability to detect pedestrians around the clock and cyclists in daylight.

It is also equipped with high-speed active cruise control, lane-departure alert with steering

Electronic systems include anti-skid brakes, vehicle stability and traction control, brake
assist and electronic brake-force distribution, trailer sway control, downhill assist and an
emergency stop signal (hazard lights).

Like every HiLux, the Rogue is equipped with seven airbags and a reversing camera.

Driving has been made easier than before by work done on the rear suspension,
improving unladen ride comfort while a new variable flow-control power-steering pump
offers more help in low-speed manoeuvres such as parking.

Braked towing capacity has been uprated by 300 kg to 3500 kg, courtesy of the higher-
output engine and a recalibrated six-speed electronically controlled automatic

Toyota claims a combined urban / highway fuel consumption of 8.4 litres per 100
kilometres. The test vehicle worked out at 11.7 litres per 100 kilometres in suburban
streets down to 6.4 litres per 100 kilometres when on the motorway.

Improved ride and handling are all-encompassing with the MY20 Rogue. Leaf springs and
shock absorbers were re-tuned to improve unladen ride comfort without compromising the
vehicle’s ability to carry loads over uneven terrain, while low-friction rear shackle bushes
add to ride comfort. Rear stability benefits from leaf spring front bushes with increased
lateral stiffness.

Revised chassis mounts reduce vibrations and noise transfer to the cabin, particularly on
rough roads. A variable flow control power-steering pump improves steering feeling on
winding country roads and reduces steering effort when parking. Pity about the outsize
12.6 metre turning circle. There’s also a low-range mode for off-road driving.

The Rogue is up against some of the stiffest competition in the premium luxury ute market
(the runaway Ford Ranger Wildtrak springs to mind). It’s fair to say the power roll top
would be considered an important selling point for the Hilux ‘hero’ and the failure of the
accessory on test is not what we have come to expect from Toyota.

Looks: 8/10
Performance: 8/10
Safety: 7/10
Thirst: 4/10
Practicality: 2/10
Comfort: 6/10
Tech: 6/10
Value: 5/10

Toyota HiLux Rogue from $68,990
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota HiLux Rogue 2.8L 4-cylinder diesel, 6sp automatic, AWD
Capacity:2.755 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders inline
Maximum Power: 150 kW @ 3400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 500 Nm @ 1600-2800 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.4 L/100km
Emissions CO2: 220g/km
DRIVELINE: Six-speed electronically controlled automatic, all-wheel drive

Length: 5325 mm
Wheelbase: 3085 mm
Width: 1900 mm
Height: 1795 mm
Turning Circle: 12.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 2231 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 80 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Drum
Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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