2023 Toyota HiLux Rogue review (video)

Mitchell Jones

For years now, Ranger and HiLux have slugged it out for the number one position in Australian new vehicle sales. Despite the all-new Ranger being launched, HiLux actually grew its overall sales lead in 2022 , though it’s hard to argue against the Ford now having overall supremacy for the class.

While the Ranger is a global, yet quintessentially Australian vehicle at its roots, the HiLux has long benefited from input from engineers and designers in our own backyard too. But it would not be a stretch to suggest that Toyota may have been a bit complacent with the current generation HiLux, and the DPF saga certainly did it no favours.

In a bid to steal the new Ranger’s thunder, Toyota has re-launched its flagship Rogue with significant chassis and eye-catching visual enhancements. As you’ll discover in this review, the HiLux outshines its arch-rival in a few key areas.

2023 Toyota HiLux Rogue – THE SPECS

[column width=”47%” padding=”6%”]Engine: 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder
Output: 150kW@3400rpm / 500Nm@1600-2800rpm
Transmission: Six-speed auto
Drive type: Part-time RWD/4WD
Wheels: F & R: 18×7.5, 265/60
ANCAP: Five stars
Tare weight: 2196kg
Power-to-weight: 14.64:1 (kg:kW)
Official fuel economy: 8.4L/100km
Economy during test: 10L/100km
Fuel capacity/Type: 80L/Diesel[/column] [column width=”47%” padding=”0″]Power efficiency: 17.85kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 4.73 seconds*
0-100km/h: 10.68 seconds*
60-110km/h: 7.80 seconds*
1/4 mile: 17.56 seconds at 130.5km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.700g*
100-0km/h braking: 3.40 seconds at 43.21 metres*
Max deceleration: -1.057g*
Decibel at idle: 47*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 81*
Priced from: $70,200[/column][end_columns]

* Figures as tested by PerformanceDrive on the day. Factory claims may be different

2023 Toyota HiLux Rogue – THE PACKAGE

Having dispensed with the Rugged and Rugged X models, the Rogue serves a dual role of maximum luxury and maximum toughness, at least until the 165kW/550Nm HiLux GR Sport arrives later this year.

At 5320mm long, 2020mm wide and 1870mm high, the HiLux is a big unit but the headline act here is the revised suspension, with a 140mm increase in track adding to off-road ability, as well as 20mm of extra ground clearance. Repositioned rear dampers, a wider rear axle, and a HiLux-first rear stabliser bar are new additions to improve the driving manners compared with the outgoing HiLux Rogue.

Ventilated rear discs replace the drums of the outgoing model, too. Discs measure 338mm at the front with four-piston calipers, and 312mm at the rear with single piston calipers.

Visually, the new model has a more aggressive and purposeful stance thanks to flared wheel arches, and brings in 18-inch dark alloy wheels wrapped in 265/60 tyres. Finished in Oxide Bronze, we think this test vehicle looks awesome, bringing a sophisticated elegance without turning it into a mere show pony.

The carpeted tray seemed a questionable addition at first, but it is marine grade so it is sturdy against the elements. We would’ve liked to see a tub-liner underneath, as it is removable. The integrated roller shutter operates superbly via two buttons on the outside of the tray.

Do any of these additions impact the usability of the HiLux Rogue? Not at all. It still manages a gross combination mass (GCM) OF 5850kg, with up to 3500kg of braked towing capacity. The payload is a respectable 794kg, but that is short of some rivals.

The 2023 HiLux Rogue boasts a five-year/ unlimited km warranty, with the first service coming up at 5000km or six months – whichever occurs first – and then every 10,000km or six months thereafter. Toyota’s renowned Capped Price Service Advantage keeps costs down to as little as $290.

Powertrain wise, it’s the same trusty 2.8-litre turbo-diesel motor that powers most of Toyota’s workhorse range, generating 150kW between 3000-4000rpm and 500Nm between 1600-2800rpm. This is fed through a six-speed automatic transmission. The fuel tank is 80L in capacity, with official average consumption pegged at 8.4L/100km, resulting in an on-paper range of 952km.

The interior is a handsome overall design, but becoming very dated – particularly in the ergonomics department. Switchgear out of sight below the driver’s eye line betrays the age of the current-gen ‘Luxy. Unless you take time to familiarise yourself with all of the controls, then you’re going to be distracted on the go. We found the cruise control distance control counter-intuitive.

The scratchy, hard plastic dash top can feel very cheap, detracting from the luxury character. But it does seem very hard-wearing and durable, like most controls in here. The front seats are flat and not all that supportive, which can become a nuisance on longer journeys. The lack of under-thigh support is particularly disappointing. At least they’re heated (but not cooled). Nevertheless, there are some subtle attempts to lift the ambience, such as blue mood lighting and instrument cluster design.

On the entertainment front, an 8.0-inch touch-screen with DAB, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as integrated sat-nav is standard fitment. A superb nine-speaker stereo by JBL is an excellent companion for journeys and gives out genuinely premium sound quality. Unfortunately, Toyota expects this may cause additional delivery delays, so it is offering a lesser, six-speaker option to fulfil orders more quickly (with a $750 discount). If you can hold out for the better sound system, it is worth it.

Parking is made easier thanks to a 360-degree camera as well as front and rear sensors, with a minimum turning radius of 12.6 metres.

Safety is catered for with the already solid five-star ANCAP-awarded package, plus Toyota Safety Sense – which incorporates a pre-collision system, that can see cyclists and pedestrians regardless of light, road sign recognition, lande departure warning and steering assistance and adaptive cruise.

2023 Toyota HiLux Rogue – THE DRIVE

Is this the Lexus of utes? Well, yes and no. Cabin refinement is outstanding, the tone of the motor is minimal, power delivery is smooth and there really is no replacement for displacement when it comes to a quick intersection jolt. Compared with lesser-capacity rivals, the benefit of the bigger pistons is noticeable off boost. In fact, we prefer the smoothness and road manners of this engine to that of the Ranger’s 2.0-litre BiTurbo, 10AT combination – which came as a major surprise to us.

In terms of performance, we timed this example across a range acceleration sprints snd witnessed a best 0-100km/h in 10.68 seconds. However, we think this engine is at its best between 0-80km/h, where it can utilise its low-end torque and strong mid-range power.

Toyota’s local engineers have done an outstanding job of creating a great driving experience in terms of NVH that transcends this category. The Rogue’s behaviour over bumps and even around corners exhibits a degree of polish that we really didn’t expect. The additional track (now 1670mm front and 1705mm rear) gives the HiLux a more planted feel.

Off-road, no compromises have been made either. With 265mm of ground clearance, approach and departure angles of 31 and 23 degrees respectively, it has the credentials that have made Toyota 4x4s legendary. 4WD is selected with a simple dial. There’s also a rear differential lock. We took the HiLux Rogue for a jaunt in the Blue Mountains and had total confidence in a variety of conditions and angles.

2023 Toyota HiLux Rogue – THE VIDEO

2023 Toyota HiLux Rogue – THE VERDICT

Toyota has nailed the brief here. It’s a HiLux with excellent road manners and serious appeal. While it is let down by some aspects of its interior, these are not enough to dent its overall strength.

With the newest Rogue, Toyota has added genuine refinement to a tough-as-nails, working-class hero without diminishing its usefulness in any way.

The recently announced Ranger Platinum is Ford’s luxury flagship equivalent and would feel a generation ahead overall – especially the interior – but we think the HiLux Rogue now has a more purposeful and muscular exterior design.

We are looking forward to the GR Sport, which does have a power upgrade and sporty cosmetic enhancements. In our opinion though, there is a yawning gap at the top of the lineup for a true Raptor-fighting hero, powered by a petrol turbo V6. Not since the supercharged TRD HiLux have Australians had the option of a heroic sporting flagship HiLux without compression ignition.

[column width=”47%” padding=”6%”]PROS:
– Looks tough, especially with wider stance
– Smooth, refined and quiet engine
– Solid build quality inside and out
– JBL sound system
– Dependable off-road performance
[/column] [column width=”47%” padding=”0″]CONS:
– Some cheap looking areas in the cabin
– Touch-screen falling behind class
– Flat seats[/column][end_columns]

As always, if you’re thinking about buying a new car don’t forget to click here to speak with our car buying specialists.

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