Ride, Handling & Performance
Interior Comfort & Practicality
Technology & Safety
Value & Ownership
Not all ute buyers are adventure seekers and not all ute buyers are tradies. Surprising hey?
There’s a new breed of buyers that are simply keen on the tough truck look which is now invading driveways around Australia.
If you fall into the above category and want a ute but don’t necessarily want it to get dirty, Toyota has formulated a solution.
Every brand either has or wants a model or models that appeal to the outdoor enthusiast, however, utes targeted towards the city slicker have been largely ignored, until now.
The 2018 Toyota HiLux Rogue is possibly the most relevant of the brand’s new HiLux range that also includes the off-road focussed Rugged and Rugged X.   
The Rogue is the ute for those wanting comfort and practicality prioritised over a battle with Mother Nature.
Before we go any further it’s important to recognise the Rogue is still capable if the urge to explore presents itself. It packs Toyota’s usual off-road credentials including low-range gearing.
The Rogue is priced at $61,690 plus on-road costs, which makes it more expensive than SUV equivalents, but the heart wants what the heart wants.
Toyota refers to the Rogue as its style leader, it’s not really a controversial statement, the Rogue is a good looking ute, especially in black. The black paint and 18-inch black alloy wheels along with a sprinkling of dark grey around the body instead of chrome set a strong tone.
Without a bull bar, the Rogue gives us a proper look at the HiLux’s new front end. Designers have incorporated a trapezoidal grille with a honeycomb insert and outboard LED fog lamps to give the Rogue some presence. BT-50 designers should take note.
While the front nails the brief, it’s the back that sets the Rogue apart. Toyota has equipped the tray with a bespoke hard tonneau cover that turns it into a large boot. The tonneau makes the world of difference when using the Rogue as a daily driver responsible for undertaking family duties.
The ability to securely stow things shouldn’t be undervalued. School runs and shopping trips are no longer at the mercy of the weather if another set of wheels isn’t available. The tonneau is fully integrated with the central locking system meaning it can be locked with the key fob.
Under the cover, Toyota has been clever enough to line the tub with an ultra-durable, marine grade carpet that can be removed for cleaning. A great move that prevents things from sliding around.
Of course, there are some downsides to covering the tray, if large items and large pets need to be transported regularly, the Rogue isn’t the best choice – city focus, remember!
The interior mirrors that of the Rugged X, standard equipment includes leather seat trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel that is much nicer to hold, heated front seats, climate control air conditioning, rear vents, carpet and a bespoke instrument cluster with white illumination and orange needles.
Taking the time to design and install the new instrument cluster has been well worth the effort, the orange needles on the white background looks exceptionally crisp and adds a little panache to the cabin. It’s the little things.
The cluster draws attention as it’s a rare splash of colour in what is a dark interior. While Toyota doesn’t have a history of flamboyant cabins, it wouldn’t hurt to have some contrast.
Another point worth noting is the infotainment system. It’s easy to operate, but the processing speeds are not as fast as the systems used by competitors.
Family buyers with teenagers will lament the absence of rear USB charging point, something that is available in the significantly cheaper D-Max.
Getting on with the drive, the Rogue uses the same 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel from the wider HiLux range. It delivers 130kW and 450Nm, the latter is available from only 1600rpm. The Rogue is an automatic only proposition, in this case, it’s Toyota’s six-speed unit.
Like all HiLux models, it gets around without any issues. The steering is beautifully weighted for a ute aiming to woo the townies. The biggest issue when driving through town is the 12.6m turning circle, it can be annoying.
Turning circle aside, the Rogue is much nicer to drive than other HiLux models. It’s not as high, the Rogue’s ground clearance is only 216mm meaning it isn’t as susceptible to bounce as the taller variants. It also makes entry and egress a more dignified experience. For context, the Rugged X has 251mm of ground clearance and the standard SR5 has 279mm. It makes a difference on country roads.
Reducing the centre of gravity will reduce the types of terrain the Rogue can conquer, however, it will still handle recreational off-road use without any problems.
Buyers who need to tow are covered, Toyota has fitted a tow pack that includes the towbar, towball, tongue and a seven-pin flat trailer wiring harness. The Rogue is rated to pull 3200kg.
We put the Rogue through just about every driving situation families are likely to encounter and in doing so covered 1132km during our test week. Fuel consumption came in at 9.8L/100km which was impressive given the scope of our testing.
For a ute carefully designed to lure family buyers who will use it daily, the lack of safety tech is disappointing. Autonomous braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and blind spot monitoring are all unavailable. It’s borderline unforgivable in any vehicle costing the best part of $70k when all the sums are done.
Service intervals for all 2018 HiLux models remain locked at 6 months/10,000km. Toyota is rectifying this situation as it rolls out next-generation models, the new Camry, Corolla and C-HR get 12 months/15,000km intervals.
Although the short turn around times for servicing can be annoying, Toyota does offer a very competitive capped-price service program. The Rogue’s first six visits back to the dealer are capped at $240 each.
Toyota is presenting a stoic stance when it comes to warranty. The brand is sticking with a three year/100,000km package despite its nearest competitors offering five years. It’s unlikely Toyota heavies are overly concerned, it’s selling nearly twice the number of new cars as its closest rival Mazda. The HiLux is the best-selling car in Australia, so buyers are obviously content with the package as a whole.
What Toyota has done here is put together the most practical and therefore usable ute. The practicality offered by the lockable and carpeted tray make it a good choice as a daily driver.
The Rogue is a ute with a specific buyer in mind, it’s not trying to be all things to all people. It’s a premium ute for those who aren’t overly enamoured with off-road exploration.
Enthusiasts are already well catered for at the top-end of the market, the Rogue brings a balance to the HiLux range by presenting a different option and it’s an option we expect will be popular.
2018 Toyota HiLux Rogue Specifications
Price from $61,690 plus on-road costs Engine 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel Power 130kW @ 3400rpm Torque 450Nm @ 1600-2400rpm Transmission six-speed automatic Combined Fuel Consumption 8.5L/100km Tank Capacity 80L Length 5345mm Width 1855mm Height 1815mm Wheelbase 3085mm Ground Clearance 216mm Kerb Weight 2174kg Turning Circle 12.6m Service Intervals 6-months/10,000km Warranty three year/100,000km
More: 2018 Toyota HiLux Rugged X Review