We knew it was coming, but here's proof - the Toyota HiLux 2018 model range is set to expand even further with the addition of new Rogue, Rugged and Rugged X models.
Two out of the three models - the Rogue and Rugged X variants - are set to slot in above the current flagship SR5 dual-cab 4x4 model, while the Rugged model might be priced alongside or just below the regular SR5 due to offering fewer of the luxury items.
Aussie buyers will be able to see the new HiLux models for themselves sometime in the second quarter of 2018, and pricing and full specifications will be confirmed in the coming months.
But for now, we can tell you the following: according to Toyota Australia, the new Rogue, Rugged and Rugged X models "will extend the 'unbreakable' reputation of HiLux with features that boost off-road protection, recovery and functionality".
The new top-end offering the HiLux range is the Rugged X, which the company claims is "primed for adventure". As such, it cops a bunch of different accessories including a high-tensile alloy bash plate and a winch-compatible streamlined steel bullbar - and crucially, those are both compatible with the vehicle's airbags and other safety systems.
It's not just that stuff that differentiates it: the Rugged X also adds a black honeycomb grille with a gloss black surround, not to mention a snorkel, LED driving lights, high-strength front and rear recovery points, rock rails to protect the underbody, a load-ready sports bar and more.
Below the Rugged X sits the regular Rugged model, which is also aimed at offering HiLux buyers who spend a lot of time off-road with plenty of additional equipment, such as a premium steel bullbar. Body cladding and alloy wheels are included, too, but the Rugged model doesn't sport LED headlights.
Perhaps the most attractive HiLux to date in this generation is the HiLux Rogue, which gets a new hexagonal grille, new front bumper and revised fog-lamps. It sports more aggressive alloys, but forgoes the wheel-arch cladding. Still, a hard-lid cover for the tub, black sports bar and side-steps all add up to a sportier looking option, one that is arguably more cohesive than the TRD option pack that was offered before.
Toyota Australia vice president of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, said there is big demand for more options out of the HiLux stable.
"HiLux buyers increasingly demand additional features - in fact, they spend more on accessories than any other vehicle in our range," Hanley said.
"These new vehicles will enable them to make a statement with advanced toughness, added capability, practical comfort, first-class safety and the in-built strength that makes HiLux the indisputable No. 1," he said.
Importantly for buyers, all new models added to the HiLux range will be certified to Australian Design Rules, and will be covered by Toyota's standard warranty plan.
The new models are almost certain to help Toyota extend its run as the top-selling vehicle in the country. In 2017, the brand sold 47,093 examples of the ute, and that number is destined to exceed 50,000 units in 2018 if supply allows.
The HiLux Rogue, Rugged and Rugged X models won't be on their own in the battle for high-spec ute buyers in 2018, though. Ford is set to add the much-anticipated Ranger Raptor model as well as a refreshed and facelifted entire model line-up, while Holden is fighting hard with its Colorado and will add the new HSV Colorado SportsCat as its new range-topper, too.
Are these new HiLux models enticing to you? Or are you waiting for something else from a different ute maker? Tell us what you think in the comments below.