Isuzu D-Max 2021 review: X-Terrain
The Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain is a new nameplate. But trust us, it'll be a household name before you know it.
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Strong demand for premium-grade utes has prompted Toyota to release upgraded versions of its high-end Rogue and top-shelf Rugged X HiLux models. These combine the latest engineering refinements recently introduced across the HiLux range with new styling and equipment features unique to these ‘hero’ models, which feature substantial Australian input.
We spent an extended weekend in the latest Rogue to see how it measures up in the increasingly competitive premium ute battle and discovered significant improvements which are sure to keep the market-leading HiLux at the top of many shopping lists – at a price.
|Toyota HiLux 2021: Rogue (4X4)|
|Engine Type||2.8L turbo|
Our Rogue test vehicle, which is available only with 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine and six-speed torque converter automatic transmission, has a list price of $68,990. That’s $1000 less than the top-of-the-range Rugged X but considerably more than premium ute rivals like the Ford Ranger Wildtrak 3.2 auto at $64,290 And Isuzu’s new D-Max X-Terrain at $62,900.
Like the Rugged X, the Rogue is available in three new colours comprising Feverish Red, Oxide Bronze or Saturn Blue (like our test vehicle) with satin black doorhandles and mirror scalps, black tailgate handle and garnish, LED headlights with dark internal accents and door mirror courtesy lights.
Unique to Rogue are new-design 18-inch alloy wheels with 265/60 R18 tyres, a stylish ‘sailplane’ sports bar, motorised roller-cover and enhanced marine-grade carpet liner for the load tub, dark silver/black steel rear bumper, Rogue body decals plus two front and four rear parking sensors.
Inside there’s new blue illumination for the doors and restyled instruments, a larger 8.0-inch multimedia screen with (at last!) volume and tuning knobs and upgraded tech including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, enhanced voice recognition plus a premium quality JBL nine-speaker sound system.
This is in addition to the Rogue’s many existing standard features including towing kit, sat-nav, leather-accented seats (fronts heated) and power adjustable driver’s seat to name a few. On other words, she’s fully loaded.
The latest Rogue’s engineering enhancements, shared across the HiLux range, include increased engine performance, enhanced automatic transmission function, retuned rear suspension for a smoother ride when unladen, revised power-steering with greater assistance at parking speeds and a class-benchmark 3500kg maximum braked towing capacity.
The Rogue offers a sumptuous interior with an impeccable standard of finish, from its leather-accented trim with contrasting stitching on dash, door trims, seats and steering wheel to the brushed-metal appearance of subtle dash and door trim inserts. However, given this visual integration, the JBL speakers positioned on each side of the dash look like afterthoughts.
There’s cosy but adequate space for tall drivers and front passengers, with entry eased by large grab handles on the A pillars. Rear passengers also get grab handles on the B pillars but tall adults seated in the outer positions will feel the squeeze of limited head, shoulder and knee room.
Those seated in the centre rear position will also have one foot on either side of the transmission tunnel, knees pressed together between the front seats and, if you’re on the tall side, head pressed firmly into the roof lining. Needless to say, three tall adults wedged into the rear seat is strictly for short trips only, which has always been the case with HiLux.
Toyota engineers have achieved a 15 per cent power increase and 11 per cent gain in torque with the latest version of its ubiquitous 1GD-FTV 2.8 litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel.
It now produces 150kW at 3400rpm and (with auto) 500Nm between 1600-2800rpm, up from 130kW and 450Nm in the previous specification. To maintain Toyota’s mandated performance, cooling and durability standards, these gains come with a larger liquid-cooled ball-bearing turbocharger and numerous other revisions.
The AC60F six-speed torque converter automatic has been recalibrated to allow earlier converter lock-up to improve acceleration feel and optimise economy without compromising Toyota’s strict temperature tolerances, particularly when towing.
Toyota claims a combined average of 8.4L/100km but the dash display was showing 10.8L at the end of our four-day test, which covered more than 300km of mostly city and suburban driving and did not include our usual payload test due to time constraints.
Our figure, calculated from fuel bowser and tripmeter readings, was only fractionally higher than the dash display at 10.9L. So, based on our figures, you could expect a real-world driving range of around 730km from its 80-litre tank.
The richly-equipped Rogue’s 2231kg kerb weight and 3050kg GVM results in an 819kg payload rating. It’s also rated to tow up to 3500kg of braked trailer but with a 5850kg GCM (or how much it can legally carry and tow at the same time) of 5850kg, that would leave only 119kg of legal payload capacity which could be all but used up by a driver alone.
However, few people need to tow 3500kg, so a more practical approach for a Rogue owner would be to base tow rating on the 3050kg GVM, which drops from 3500kg to a still substantial 2800kg and retains the full 819kg of payload. This is a more practical compromise that would suit most towing requirements.
With the tailgate closed, the load tub floor measures 1550mm in length and 1520mm in width with 1110mm between the wheel arches. That means (like most dual cab utes) it can’t accommodate a standard 1165mm-square Aussie pallet.
However, given that the load tub is fully lined in marine carpet with no load anchorage points that we could see, we suspect such workhorse-style limitations are of no concern to Rogue buyers who see it more as a car with a large boot than a ute.
And in that context, the load tub’s new motorised roller-cover works like a horizontal garage door, equipped with remote power-operated opening and closing linked to the vehicle’s central-locking system. It includes an anti-jam function, integrated LED tub lighting and (according to Toyota) high levels of theft, weather and dust protection.
Multiple cabin storage options include an overhead glasses holder, a large-bottle holder and storage bin in each front door, pop-out cup holders on each side of the dash plus upper and lower gloveboxes with a/c cooling in the top one. The centre console has a shallow storage tray up front, two small-bottle/cup holders and storage nook in the centre and a lidded box at the back.
Rear seat passengers get a large-bottle holder and small storage bin in each door, flexible storage pouches on the front seat backrests and a pair of small-bottle/cup holders in the fold-down centre armrest. The split-fold base cushions can swing up through 90 degrees and be stored in a vertical position if more internal load space is needed or to access two underfloor storage compartments.
The most noticeable and welcome change is more supple rear suspension tuning, which makes the HiLux more comfortable to drive when unladen. On some surfaces, like heavily-patched bitumen or corrugated dirt roads, it’s still noticeably firm as required for carrying and/or towing heavy loads. However, it’s a vast improvement over previous models and important for premium grades like Rogue which are usually driven unladen or lightly loaded.
The revised power-steering, with increased assistance at low speeds, makes parking and other low-speed manoeuvres easier even though we found the previous system more than adequate in these situations.
The seats are supportive and with the height-and-reach adjustable steering wheel and eight-way powered seat adjustment, drivers of all sizes can find a comfortable position. Noise suppression and overall refinement are excellent, particularly at highway speeds.
From the driver’s seat, the significant gains in power and torque are not as noticeable as the rear suspension changes, but the new 150kW/500Nm figures confirm there’s more than ample performance for the trusty HiLux to keep getting the job done, with even more in reserve.
5 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
Maximum five-star ANCAP rating (tested 2019) including AEB with pedestrian and daylight cyclist detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, high-speed active cruise control, road sign assist, downhill assist and trailer sway control, but no blind-spot monitoring or rear cross-traffic alert.
The HiLux is covered by Toyota's five years/unlimited km warranty with a capped-price of $250 for each of the first six scheduled services. However, the service intervals are relatively short at 6 months/10,000km whichever occurs first.
Our limited time with the latest Rogue did not allow for the usual test with a full payload. Even so, our recent heavy load-hauling with other HiLux models has confirmed that Toyota’s new rear suspension tuning has struck a superior balance between unladen ride quality and load-carrying ability.
Overall, the latest Rogue continues to offer the luxury and quality you’d expect in a premium-grade (and premium-priced) ute, made even better by the latest round of engineering improvements, equipment upgrades and styling enhancements. Fact is, with Toyota’s never-ending cycle of product refinement, the HiLux is becoming increasingly hard to fault.
|Rogue (4X4)||2.8L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$57,900 – 73,260||2021 Toyota HiLux 2021 Rogue (4X4) Pricing and Specs|
|Rugged X (4X4)||2.8L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$58,700 – 74,250||2021 Toyota HiLux 2021 Rugged X (4X4) Pricing and Specs|
|SR (4X4)||2.8L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN||$34,900 – 45,210||2021 Toyota HiLux 2021 SR (4X4) Pricing and Specs|
|SR Hi-Rider||2.8L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN||$35,700 – 46,200||2021 Toyota HiLux 2021 SR Hi-Rider Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||8|
|Engine & trans||9|