THE FINAL STOP inmy Toyota HiLux tour of duty, sampling the entire rangewith a little side trip to the Fortuna SUV, is the new Rugged model. Like the Rogue andRuggedX, theRugged is basedon thebest-selling SR5 twin-cab4x4ute. TheRugged differs fromtheRuggedXwitha more stripped-down look that is reflected in its price.
Rugged by name and nature
Australia’s favourite four-wheeler is the perfect companion for your shed full of motorcycles
It’s targeted at buyers looking for a newHiLux that’s going to combinemid-week tradie dutieswith a bit of rough off-road stuff, and then scrubup for Saturdaydatenight. For us bike-riding folk, it tows as good as all the other HiLux models thanks to the same spec 2.8-litre turbocharged diesel engine. Inside it’s not aswell appointedas theRuggedXor theRogue, and it does not have the hard tonneau cover of theRogue, but it does have a plastic liner for the tray and tailgate.
The $54,990 (+ORC) price for the tested six-speedmanual is $8430 above the entrypoint to theHiLux range, the SRat $46,560 (+ORC). The extra investment gets you a steel bullbar, rear bar, towhooks and step, a towbar with trailerwiring harness, side steps and a snorkel thatmakes the same heavy breathing sound as theRuggedX.
2018 Toyota HiLux Rugged
Adding another $2000will get you the six-speed automatic gearbox. Internally, it’s a step down from theRuggedX. It has rubber floor mats forwhen you getmuddy, and key-start ignition replaces the fob system, but it does have satellitenavigation, colour touch-screen and a good sounding stereo. After a couple ofmonths driving theToyotaHiLux range, it’s easy to seewhy it isAustralia’s bestselling car.
That’s not Australia’s best-sellingute or 4WDbut the best-selling vehicle overall, and it has been thatway forawhile. It doesn’tmatterwhich of the models you choose, you’re going to get a good-lookingworkhorse that drives like a family sedan, and anoff-roader thatwill effortlessly haul a trailer full of bikes.