2021 Toyota HiLux Rogue Review
Is this HiLux a loveable Rogue?
The Toyota HiLux is renowned the world over for being rugged and unbreakable. Year after year, model after model, the HiLux tops the sales in Australia and with the 2021 facelift, nothing has changed. This is the “Rogue”, which is Toyota’s posh version of the dependable HiLux. It sits below the top-of-the-line Rugged X and above the popular SR5+ models in the lineup.
In recent times at the pointy end of the charts, though, there has been some jousting with the Ford Ranger. So, the Rogue aims to serve some competition to the popular, more premium Ranger model, the “Wildtrak”.
All that said, there are now several very competitive utes in this segment which are creeping up the sales charts and are poised to give both of these established utes a run for their money in the not-to-distant future.
It costs $68,990, making it $6,570 more than the SR5+ that sits below it.
Is the 2021 HiLux Rogue worth the extra investment?
What extras does the Rogue get?
To begin to unpack this, we need to look at what extras you get, and while there are quite a few, the majority of them are cosmetic.
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Electric tray cover
- Prominent wheel arch cladding and styling highlights inspired by the North American Toyota Tacoma
- Rear sports bar
- LED tail lights, headlights and Daytime Running Lights
- Privacy glass
- Proximity entry
What’s it like inside?
With all these external aesthetic changes, the inside of the Toyota HiLux Rogue has been left largely untouched. So it is still rugged with touches of premium splashed around.
There are hard touch plastics, which are good for when tradies are hopping in and out, but these are also accented by an ash grey timber-look plastic insert. Configurable ambient lighting also bounces around the interior pleasingly.
For your $68,990 you also get leather seats all-round and the front row gets a heating function, while the driver benefits from electric adjustment for their seat. If you are tossing up whether to get the Rogue or the SR5+, it is worth noting that these can also be optioned on the SR5+ too.
Behind the wheel is the same 4.2-inch digital display that sits between the speedometer and tachometer. As you’d imagine, it can cycle through a range of information from trip meters to warnings and DPF regeneration updates.
There is a single-zone air conditioning system and, while there isn’t a second (or third) zone, passengers in the back do get directional air conditioning vents. There are no USB ports though, in fact there is only the one up front.
At first glance, it might seem like a small annoyance that there is only one USB port. But with a device plugged in to use the Apple CarPlay Android Auto, that means no one else can charge their phone.
On the topic of smartphone connectivity, the Rogue comes with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The native system itself is easy to use, but can be laggy and is perhaps behind the times when it comes to graphics. There is also DAB+ radio accessed through the native display.
Another inclusion that is new for this 2021 HiLux Rogue is a superb 9-speaker JBL® sound system that is hooked up to the infotainment system. Not only does it help break up the interior with speakers sitting atop of the dash, but it produces crisp sound and generates some serious bass.
Seats in the rear row can be lifted to reveal extra storage underneath, and given its rather obscure positioning is an ideal place to hide valuables (or expensive power tools) you don’t want found. Around the cabin there is plenty of more obvious and accessible storage with door bins and cup holders for four commuters.
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Headroom in the back is tighter than the front, thanks to a bubble in the roof which affords front passengers more space. Knee room in the back is tight too, with my knees touching the seat in front when configured in my driving position. It is more than adequate though for young families, but with a few big burly blokes in the back, it's going to be awkwardly cosy.
What is the 2021 Toyota HiLux tray like?
The tub hides beneath a tray cover that is carpeted as standard in the Rogue. Operated by two buttons on either side of the tub, the cover electronically closes and retracts, and while this is a handy feature, it is a touch slow - and I wonder if it would get on the nerves with repeated use.
Toyota have also ensured that the tray is water and dustproof, with rubber seals around the openings of the tray. This is a nice touch as it surprisingly isn’t standard practice in the industry. While we are big fans of the Isuzu D-Max, we remember a trip with an X-terrain where the tub was full of dust. Luckily we weren’t carrying anything susceptible to dust ingress in the tray.
Developments to the suspension, which we will discuss later, have resulted in a slight payload reduction The 2021 HiLux Rogue is capable of carrying 819kg, 5kg less than the previous model. A 3.5-tonne braked towing capacity is inline with rivals.
Speaking of weight, the tailgate doesn’t get any ‘easy-lift’ hinges like the Ford Ranger, so it is quite heavy. Not a problem for a builder, but if you’re buying this as a daily driver, it might bug you.
What’s it like to drive?
The 2021 HiLux Rogue is still powered by a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine, however the engineers at Toyota have been able to extract an extra 20kW of power and 50Nm of torque out of it this time around. The unit now produces 150kW and 500Nm, which are channeled through a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Toyota says that this new transmission has been reworked for improved acceleration and cooling performance, especially whilst towing.
A new Diesel Particulate Filter is also fitted in order to more efficiently and regularly. It can also be manually triggered too, which is a must have for those who spend a lot of time around town.
The beefed up 2.8-litre engine has a claimed fuel consumption of 8.4-litres per 100kms on a combined cycle, however during our time with the 2021 Rogue, our fuel consumption sat at 9.6L/100km.
Nothing has changed in terms of the body-on-frame, ladder chassis construction, why would it? It’s the segment standard. Suspension and steering development had input from a number of markets including Japan and Thailand.
This feedback has resulted in the use of a longer leaf-spring in the rear, as well as wider spacing to reduce vibration and improve stability.
Toyota has also retuned the spring rates, shock absorbers and suspension bushes around the vehicle in order to have a more compliant ride, while retaining its ability to handle a large payload.
As a result, ride comfort is improved for the 2021 HiLux Rogue, with the rear being noticeably less busy over rougher surfaces. It still isn’t the best riding ute in the segment, and can still feel quite firm.
With a lot of manufacturers moving to electronically assisted steering racks, Toyota has remained loyal to their hydraulic steering rack. It has a noticeable weight at low speeds so around town can be a bit of a workout, especially with the length of the vehicle. I say this despite Toyota having added a variable flow control power-steering pump which they say should reduce effort when parking.
A reversing camera and parking sensors at the front and back do make maneuvering the Rogue in tighter areas, like carparks, a bit less daunting.
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Off Road capability
There has never been any doubting the off-road credentials of the HiLux and the 2021 Rogue is no different.
Fitted with both a low and high-range gearbox, you are able to select two-wheel drive high range, four-wheel drive high range and four-wheel drive low.
If you plan on doing some serious offroading there is also a locking differential in the rear, as well as hill descent control, a system which is essentially cruise control for steep descents.
It also benefits from 247mm of ground clearance, which is more than the 232mm offered up by the Ford Ranger Wildtrak, the 220mm offered by the Mitsubishi Triton and 7mm more than the Isuzu D-Max.
Approach and departure angles are 29 and 27-degrees respectively, which are broadly comparable with the best in the segment, while it can also wade through 700mm of water.
How safe is the 2021 Toyota HiLux Rogue?
Safety in the new HiLux range has been beefed up and the Rogue gets the following and more:
- Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection (day & night) and cyclist detection (day time)
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Lane-Departure Alert & steering assist
- Road-sign recognition
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Reversing camera
Along with seven airbags, there are two ISOFix mounting points on the two rear, outboard seats and two top tether points.
When it was tested back in 2019, the HiLux scored a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.
With a refined ride and extra power, HiLux fans must be licking their lips. The HiLux is consistently a best seller in Australia and an obvious choice if you are in the market for a reliable, tough-as-nails vehicle that is capable of taking you anywhere.
The Rogue adds some extra kit, and a bit of plushness inside, without going overboard and completely undermining the rugged nature of the HiLux - but does cost a $6,570 premium over the highly capable SR5+.
In summary, the HiLux is as tough as they come with a proven reputation, but it isn't the most refined ute in the segment. If you aren’t into the hype the HiLux generates (and mostly deserves) or want something that rides a bit nicer, you might consider the Isuzu D-Max or new Mazda BT-50.
For your consideration
Towing capacity (Braked)
Combined fuel economy (claimed)