Mercedes-Benz X-Class Power 2018 ute review: snapshot
The flagship model in the Mercedes-Benz X-Class 2018 model range is the Power.
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Three new models. Three! That’s the number of new variants that have been added to the 2018 Toyota HiLux range.
This is a bit of a smackdown for the ute market, surely? With the Rugged, Rugged X and Rogue models, Toyota is asserting its dominance in the dual-cab pick-up market.
Hell, if the Japanese company was a dog, it would have just cocked its leg while standing near the “Australia” sign and bared its teeth to all the other dogs in the park, particularly that uppity Ford Ranger. “This is my market. Mine!”
That’s because even without these three new variants, the Toyota HiLux was the country’s best-selling vehicle in 2017 for the second year running. It’s on track for a third-straight year in 2018, and the Rugged, Rugged X and Rogue models will only add to its appeal.
These three sit at the top of the regular model range, and they bring the tally of different versions in the HiLux range in Australia to 34 … that’s before you consider alternate transmissions, too.
So, with all-new utes like the Mercedes-Benz X-Class hitting the market, and new derivatives being added to different competitor model lines, do the Toyota HiLux Rugged, Toyota HiLux Rugged X and Toyota HiLux Rogue models offer something worth considering if you’re in the market for a new ute?
|Toyota HiLux 2018: RUGGED (4x4)|
|Engine Type||2.8L turbo|
How much does each of the new models in the HiLux range cost? Well, here’s a price list - a guide to the price of each model (plus on-road costs, or the RRP / list price) which will hopefully make it easy to do a models comparison in your head.
Every HiLux comes with central locking, a digital clock, cruise control, power steering, electric windows and Toyota’s world-renowned ice-cold air-conditioning. There’s a sound system with six speakers (no subwoofer), plus a touch screen with radio, CD player and MP3 capability, plus USB and Bluetooth. DAB digital radio is fitted, but you can forget smartphone mirroring technology.
Now, clearly these models have been shopping in the Toyota genuine accessories catalogue, with a heavy-duty hooped premium steel bullbar fitted to the Rugged model (forget the nudge bar, hey?), along with a snorkel, plus there are 17-inch alloy rims with Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tyres.
The Rugged model also gets a heavy-duty steel rear bar with integrated step, a towbar, towball and tongue (and seven-pin flat trailer wiring harness), rear recovery points, side rock rails, black body side mouldings, a snorkel, a black sports bar with multiple tie-down points, a tub liner with tailgate protection, a black tailgate handle, plus dark grey badges and Rugged decals.
Being based on the high-spec SR5 it has features like smart key and push-button start, dual-zone climate control AC, plus LED headlights and LED daytime running lights (they are great if you do a lot of driving at night - better than HID or projectors, for sure - and definitely an improvement on the halogens in the Rugged). And gone is the chrome sports bar of the SR5, in favour of a black one.
Inside, the Rugged X and Rogue share the same interior - that means new black perforated leather-accented seats with seat heating and electric adjustment up front, plus metallic black ornamentation, a black roof headliner, front and rear carpet floor mats, a new instrument cluster design with white illumination and orange needles.
You can tell a Rugged X from the outside by its 17-inch alloys (identical to Rugged), heavy-duty steel front bar and bash plate, revised grille design, LED light bar and spread beam driving lights, front and rear recovery points, heavy-duty steel rear bar with integrated step, side rock rails, snorkel, towball and tongue (with seven-pin flat trailer wiring harness).
It also has black wheel-arch and body side mouldings, a black sports bar with multiple tie-down points, a tub liner with tailgate protection, gloss black exterior mirror caps and door handles, matte black tail lamp surrounds, a black tailgate handle and dark grey badges and Rugged X decals.
While the Rogue model isn’t quite the TRD special of last year, it could be considered like a sports pack for the SR5. Sadly, no model is available with a sunroof, even as an option.
The Rogue model is auto only, and is priced at $61,690 - and comes with an identical interior to the Rugged X - but it is visually differentiated a lot more on the outside.
The Rogue wears model-specific 18-inch rims, a 'premium new style' front bumper and revised grille, grey-painted rear bumper with larger step, towball and tongue (with seven-pin flat trailer wiring harness), a black sports bar with tie-down points, body-coloured hard tonneau cover, marine-grade carpet tub liner (great if you’re a keen fisherman or boating enthusiast) gloss black exterior mirror caps and door handles, plus a black tailgate handle and dark grey badges and Rogue decals.
Colour options for the HiLux Rugged, Rugged X and Rogue models at launch are: Silver Sky, Graphite (grey), Crystal Pearl White, Eclipse Black and Glacier White. You can’t get these models in Nebula Blue or Olympia Red at the moment, and there is no green paint option available.
Design changes are the big differences for this trio of new models - and the new-look versions could be enough to spur sales along.
Let’s start with the Rogue model, which has - in this writer’s opinion - the most attractive exterior design to date in this generation.
It’s a bit of a city-focused show pony, but not quite the full TRD look (there is no body kit or side skirts) - however, it does get a new hexagonal grille, a new front bumper and revised fog-light. It sports more aggressive alloys, but goes without the wheel-arch cladding.
But it gains a hardtop tray cover for the tub, black sports bar and side-steps. It all adds up to a sportier looking version of the HiLux than anything that has come before it - even the TRD special edition of 2017. This model comes fitted with these goodies straight from the factory. Where is the Toyota HiLux built? Thailand, like the vast majority of utes sold here.
Unlike the Rogue, the Rugged and Rugged X models are put down a sort of production line in Australia, where they are fitted with a range of genuine accessories until they get to the point you see here.
The more affordable Rugged model is based on the SR, and that means rubber floors rather than carpet, and halogen headlights rather than LEDs. But there are a few hardcore elements to the outside that make it stand out, like the steel bullbar, side steps with integrated rock rails, steel sports bar and blackened alloy wheels with Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tyres.
Trainspotters may also notice the outlined Toyota lettering on the tailgate, a few details here and there, and a revised rear bar with integrated tow kit and bright red recovery hooks.
The Rugged X steps things up even further - it’s based on the SR5 model, and gets a few model-specific extras such as a high-tensile alloy bash plate underbody protection and a winch-compatible streamlined steel bullbar - note the lack of headlight hoops, and the addition of LED driving lights and a broad light bar. At the back there are tail-light surrounds, and you can make your own mind up about those.
Like the Rugged it has a black honeycomb grille, a snorkel, body cladding and the same alloy wheels - but this time with Dunlop Grandtrek tyres.
None of these models come with a soft top tonneau cover… in fact, not one of the HiLux models in the entire range has one fitted as standard. All three get a rear step bumper, because they’ve still got to be practical.
The interior remains a bit of a talking point. Toyota took a big step towards SUV-like cabin finishes with the HiLux when it launched in this generation in 2015: there’s a touch screen in every variant, for example.
Because all four are based on the existing dual-cab models, the interior dimensions and practicality remain unchanged compared with the regular versions. But the Rogue and Rugged X gain leather trim which helps set them apart.
Dual cab utes with five seats are relatively family friendly, and these three models are expected to appeal to parents and tradies alike - and these three new models are restricted to this body style - so there won’t be any extra cab / space cab versions, and unless you remove the tub yourself and put an aluminium or steel tray on, you won’t be getting the choice of a flat tray cab chassis, either.
I mean, if you look at it this way, the Rogue with its hard tonneau cover and marine carpet-lined tray is like an off-roader with a lot of boot space, with easily enough space for your tool kit or some luggage. And it could be even more practical if you choose to option a canopy, plus you might want to add roof racks or rails on top.
Let’s talk tub dimensions - the internal size of the HiLux tray is 1569mm long, 1645mm wide (and 1109mm between the wheel arches - less the width of the bars of the sports bar - 25mm on each side), while the depth is 470mm.
The Rogue and Rugged X versions get the same black-on-black-on-black interior, with perforated leather trim, electric driver’s seat adjustment, front seat heating and new instrument cluster dials with an orange and black design. They’re nice, but they clash with the blue/green graphics of the driver info screen, which still lacks a digital speed readout. The top models have carpet flooring, where the more affordable Rugged model (remember, it’s based on the SR) has rubber floors and cloth seats.
There are cupholders in front of the gear selector if you choose an auto (you get one between the seats in the manual models), plus two pop-out cupholders at the edge of the dashboard that are very handy. You’ll find bottle holders in the doors, and every HiLux has a dual glovebox set-up. I like the shopping bag hooks in the front seatbacks, too.
Space for adults isn’t terrific, nor is it terrible. With the driver’s seat set to my driving position (I’m 183cm tall), I had just enough kneeroom, while toe room was a little tight, and shoulder space would be a squeeze with three across.
There are ISOFIX and top tether child-seat anchor points, but taller occupants in dual cab models will need to watch their heads on the grab-handles when going seriously off-road. Rear-seat air vents are fitted to Rogue and Rugged X, but not Rugged.
The touch screen multimedia infotainment system isn’t terrific - there are better examples in the Volkswagen Amarok or Ford Ranger, both of which feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone mirroring, too. You can’t get that in any Toyota in Australia at the time of writing. The Rugged, Rugged X and Rogue all have sat nav / GPS navigation and DAB+ digital radio.
The specifications rundown is easy for these three new models. All of them are 4x4 (4WD) - there’s no 4x2 (RWD) on offer, and each runs the same turbo diesel drivetrain, and therefore the same engine specs.
Each of these HiLux models has the same engine size - a 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel with a single turbocharger and diesel particulate filter. And if you’re wondering whether the HiLux has a timing belt or chain, the answer is the latter.
The Rugged and Rugged X models both come with a towbar and the HiLux has a towing capacity of 750kg for a trailer without brakes, while automatic 4x4 models have a maximum braked capacity of 3200kg. Opt for a pick-up 4x4 with a clutch and you get the class-benchmark 3500kg capacity.
Fuel tank capacity is generous in all models: 80 litres in size, easily enough to ensure long range between fills.
What about load carrying capacity? Well, it’s a heck of a lot lower than the regular models, because of the extra weight.
The Rogue model is the best for payload, with a capacity of 826 kilograms. That’s about 100kg lower than the standard SR5.
The Rugged is rated at 765kg, while the Rugged X is pretty poorly at 748kg.
The gross vehicle weight / gross vehicle mass (GVM) is 3000kg for dual-cab 4x4 models.
Fuel consumption figures depend on the transmission you choose - but the diesel fuel economy for this 2.8-litre turbo-diesel is decent by class standards.
The 4x4 manual Rugged or Rugged X models are said to use 7.9 litres per 100 kilometres (which works out to 12.6 kilometres per litre), while the auto version of those two grades uses 8.6L/100km (11.6km L).
The Rogue model is auto only, and uses a little less fuel than its siblings: the claim is 8.5L/100km (11.7km L).
For what it's worth, we saw 11.2L/100km (8.9 km L) on a mix of open road, slow crawl and mid-speed gravel testing.
And like I said before - at this level, there is no petrol option. No matter, you’ll get better mileage out of a diesel, anyway. If you’re really into fuel saving, there’s an Eco Mode that dulls throttle response and the air-conditioning ferocity to help cut fuel use, while 'Power Mode' sharpens up acceleration.
The Toyota HiLux scored the maximum five-star ANCAP crash test safety rating in 2015, and it hasn’t changed since. Even with the new front end treatment of each of these models, Toyota says the score remains intact.
Standard safety features across the range include electronic stability control with trailer sway control and seven airbags (dual front, front side, curtain and driver’s knee).
A reverse camera is standard. Buyers will need to pay Toyota’s dealership accessories team to fit rear parking sensors.
Every double-cab HiLux has dual outboard ISOFIX child seat anchor points.
Unlike some competitor utes such as the Mercedes X-Class and Ford Ranger, there is no advanced safety tech - no lane departure warning and no forward collision warning, let alone auto emergency braking (AEB). Oddly, you can get AEB and lane-keeping assist in the European-market HiLux, but Toyota Australia says that hasn’t been adopted here because of model timing. Seems a poor argument, really.
Every double-cab HiLux has dual outboard ISOFIX child seat anchor points - great for a baby seat or two, plus there are three top tether hooks for child restraints.
3 years / 100,000 km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
You really need to look hard and ask around to find out about common problems, faults, automatic transmission problems, injector issues and suspension complaints for the current-generation HiLux. Check out our Toyota HiLux problems page.
Maintenance costs for the HiLux are easy to calculate. Service costs follow a capped price servicing plan, and intervals are set at six months/10,000km - which is a lot more regular than some competitors. Toyota’s Service Advantage capped price plan sees private owners pay $240 per service for diesel utes.
The Japanese company backs its vehicles with the bare minimum three-year/100,000km warranty, which is pretty short - but with the reputation for reliability and durability the HiLux has, it’s easy to see why it’s the default choice. Plus you can expect strong resale value
It’s just like the regular HiLux. Funny, that…
There are no significant changes to the hardware - the drivetrain is the same, the steering is the same, the brakes are the same. Only the Rugged and Rugged X versions get new front springs to help deal with the extra weight of the bullbar and underbody protection.
We spent a lot of time driving on outback highways, with the odd small town (Hawker, Parachilna, Port Augusta) the only urban interludes. On roads like these you’re not typically asking much of the engine, and that was the case here.
When it came to overtaking moves I found out what the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel and six-speed automatic was about. In Eco mode it’s a bit gutless (adding an extra 200 kilograms of bolt-on bits will do that), but in normal or Power mode, the drivetrain is willing and punchy enough.
In the past I’ve found the auto can be a bit fussy at low speeds, in particular when you’re applying the brakes while going down a hill. However, for the most part, the drivetrain is perfectly suitable for this application.
Hey, a bigger engine - or even just a tweak to the outputs - would have been welcome for these special new additions to the range, but if you want a more torque-laden drive, you ought to look at the Ford Ranger, Holden Colorado or Volkswagen Amarok.
Underpinning the HiLux is double wishbone front suspension and leaf-spring rear suspension, and I have to say, the ride is terser than many rivals with nothing in the tray - and the slower you go, the worse it is.
However, as I’ve found, a few kilos in the tub will settle things nicely. Just be careful how many kilos, because the payload is pretty low in these new hardcore models - in fact, the heaviest model, the Rugged X, felt probably the most settled on the road.
As for steering, the hydraulic power steering is pretty well sorted, with good weighting and nice response. It isn’t as quick or easy to twirl as a Ranger, but nor is it as heavy as, say, a BT-50, or as slow as a Navara or X-Class… it’s a nice middle ground.
The 17-inch alloy wheels of the Rugged and Rugged X models alloy buyers to easily change to more aggressive all terrain or mud terrain tyres if they want to upgrade, while the 18s of the Rogue model would more likely see replacement with 20s, or 22s, or who knows… Just a shame it misses out on those wheel arch extensions.
Now, for the off road review - that was a big focus on the launch, particularly for the Rugged X - and I was certainly able to get an idea of its capabilities. If there was a separate section, it’d be at least an 8/10. Maybe even a 9/10.
The extra kit has had an impact on ground clearance - surprisingly, all three new models have less ground clearance mm than the SR5 dual cab. That model has 279mm, where according to Toyota the Rogue has just 216mm, while the Rugged has 253mm and the Rugged X 251mm.
The wading depth mm remains the same - 700mm - but approach and departure angles have changed. Again, the regular SR5 has a 31 approach angle degrees, where the Rugged and Rugged X models have 28, and Rogue has 30.
However, the big improvement according to Toyota is the corner approach angle: it sits at 39 degrees for the Rogue, 45 for the Rugged and 49 for the Rugged X.
The departure angle degrees has changed, too, due to the standard-fit tow bar: it’s 21 degrees for the Rugged and Rugged X, and 20 degrees for the Rogue. The standard SR5 with no bar is 26 degrees.
When you’re off-roading, the turning circle is also important: it’s identical for the three new models (and the existing models) at 12.6 metres. That’s pretty large - but the steering response and feel is impressive off-road.
Thankfully there’s less chrome to clean on these new models, because off-roading is a lot of fun in them.
We went on some 4H high-range-friendly gravel roads, which is where Toyota’s local engineering efforts with the HiLux shines through most. It remains settled and comfortable even if the surface gets rutted and rough.
We also did a more hardcore 4L low-range test, which included giving the rock rails a workout by intentionally pivoting on the edge of a boulder on a course set up by Toyota, and also found out the angles are pretty impressive first hand. Unfortunately there was no water in the river to verify the wading depth and ability of the snorkel. And yeah, there’s a rear differential lock in all models, but we didn’t need it - the same can be said for the hill descent control (which is reserved for the SR5-based Rugged X and Rogue).
Shame the Rugged model doesn’t get the same leather steering wheel as the Rogue and Rugged X. It’s a much nicer thing to hold.
It’s decent to drive, but not the best in class. And we’d have to put it against some competitors to see where it sits, but those after city-friendly comfort should still consider the Ranger and Amarok over this ute.
The changes may not be too much more than skin deep, but there’s no doubt that buyers will find value in these newly added models, and I can see why Toyota is putting the emphasis on the Rugged X - it looks more expensive than it is, and it argues a strong case in a busy segment of the market.
|ROGUE (4x4)||2.8L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$53,990 – 61,777||2018 TOYOTA HILUX 2018 ROGUE (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|RUGGED (4x4)||2.8L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$50,990 – 54,990||2018 TOYOTA HILUX 2018 RUGGED (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|RUGGED X (4x4)||2.8L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN||$54,888 – 59,990||2018 TOYOTA HILUX 2018 RUGGED X (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|SR (4x4)||2.8L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$38,750 – 46,988||2018 TOYOTA HILUX 2018 SR (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||8|
|Engine & trans||7|