Our test vehicle is the MY20 Rugged X with six-speed automatic transmission for a list price of $64,490, which is $2000 more than the six-speed manual version. This pricing is competitive with premium rivals like Ford’s Baja desert racer-inspired Ranger Raptor ($75,990), Ranger Wildtrak ($64,790), HSV’s Colorado SportsCat (from $62,490) and Mazda’s BT-50 Boss edition ($63,250).
Unlike the more expensive Raptor, which is a highly specialised Ranger variant with unique chassis and suspension engineering, the Rugged X is derived from the regular HiLux SR5. Yes, there’s a heavy-duty suspension and underbody protection package, but that’s shared with every other 4x4 HiLux.
However, it is loaded with a unique selection of off-road equipment with factory warranty which is arguably more desirable than aftermarket gear, particularly at resale time. Unique to the Rugged X is an LED front light bar and driving lights in a winch-compatible steel front bull bar with bash plate, plus two front recovery points and smaller diametre model-specific 17-inch alloy wheels with more bulbous (read off-road friendly) 265/65 R17 tyres and full-size spare. There’s also a unique tail light garnish.
Other Rugged X features are shared with its lesser-equipped Rugged and (in some cases) Rogue siblings including rock rails, black sports bar, heavy duty rear bumper and two rear recovery points, tow-ball and tongue plus 7-pin trailer wiring harness, engine intake snorkel and full tub-liner.
Finer detailing includes body side and wheel arch mouldings, black tailgate handle, gloss black door handles and mirror scalps, leather-accented interior, gloss black door trim, heated front seats and 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat and more.
The infotainment system is shared with other Hilux models, utilising six-speaker sound with a 7.0-inch colour touchscreen display, DAB+ digital radio, sat-nav but still no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (yet) and multiple connectivity including USB/AUX and Bluetooth.