Toyota launch Halo Hilux Rugged and Rogue models

Toyota launch Halo Hilux Rugged and Rogue models


Machinery
WHAT A FEELING: Toyota release the Halo Hilux models

WHAT A FEELING: Toyota release the Halo Hilux models

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TWENTY years ago the inclusion of cup-holders in a utility vehicle was considered a little bit fancy.

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TWENTY years ago the inclusion of cup-holders in a utility vehicle was considered a little bit fancy.

Today, many customers, particularly those off-farm, expect a four-wheel-drive with optional seat warmer, electronic seat adjust and key-less entry.

Knowing the average Hilux customer spends upward of $4000 on accessories, Toyota have launched three new models with a variety of bells and whistles as standard.

In dealers from April 26, the Rugged, Rugged X and Rogue models, collectively known as the Halo series will be launched to take on the luxury market, currently being eroded by competitors Volkswagen Amarok, Ford Rager and most recently, Mercedes Benz.

Toyota Australia, vice president sales and marketing, Sean Hanley said the models were built in Thailand of an SR or SR5 mechanical base, but had been re-designed specifically for Australian customers, with all new components fully integrated and engineered into the core vehicle.

“The Rugged X, Rogue and Rugged are not accessorised special editions,” he said.

““They are fully fledged new Hilux models that our customers demanded and we can be justifiably proud that they were designed and developed here in Australia.”

Toyota, design manager, Peter Elliott said the brief for the Rugged X was to create a top-end Hilux which was fully equipped for serious off-roading.

The model combines a luxury interior with fully integrated steel front bar, alloy bash plate, lighting elements and recovery points.

“The lighting system, as well as providing exceptional illumination at night, was also designed with off-road environments in mind,” he said.

“Add-on light bars and driving lights can interfere with the vehicle’s cooling system or get damaged easily.

“By integrating the LED lightbar into the bar and positioning the outboard driving lights up high, they are all more protected.”

Mr Elliot said the same level of functional protection is provided by the body-side and wheel-arch mouldings and rock rails.

“The rock rails are the real deal in the sense that they are designed to protect the vehicle when going extreme off-roading and have been engineered to support a fully laden vehicle,” he said.

“We were also able to integrate a side step function to enable users to gain access to higher parts of the vehicle.”

The Rugged X does not come with an integrated steel bullbar.

Mr Elliott said the Rogue was designed as a premium recreational ute with a premium sports aesthetic.

“Compared with the SR5, we made big changes to the front end,” he said.

“The essential elements of that are the large trapezoidal grille which, together with the outboard fog lamps, give the front end a really strong presence.”

Mr Elliott said exterior trim colour changes such as door handles and mirror caps and rear bumper inserts for the Rogue are all presented in black and dark grey colours replacing the chrome finishes of the SR5 models.

A stand-out feature of the model is the bespoke lockable hard tonneau cover and marine grade tub carpeting, which performed well during Fairfax test-drives in terms of dust-proofing.

“What we were aiming for was a more sophisticated visual look but at the same time, the Rogue is still very much a functional recreational ute,” Mr Elliot said.

“You can see that in the black sports bar that is fully engineered to carry a load and mounted right down into the base of the tub.”

Toyota, division general manager Rod Ferguson said the Rugged was designed for customers who wanted enhanced off-road capability and protection for a variety of environments.

Toyota, division general manager Rod Ferguson said the Rugged was designed for customers who wanted enhanced off-road capability and protection for a variety of environments.

“Rugged offers a traditional bullbar for customers who do a lot of country driving while offering new locally developed off-road protection, recovery and functional features,” he said.

Mr Ferguson said the winch-compatible bullbar was constructed from high-tensile steel with black powder coating.

The bar also incorporates LED driving lights, centre and corner under-shields, mounts for two antennas and additional driving lights.

Mr Ferguson said the Rugged was fitted with additional side body protection, including body side mouldings and heavy-duty rock rails to protect the vehicle sills and underbody from damage.

The rock rails are constructed from chassis mounted steel tubing and are designed to support a fully laden vehicle.

Mr Ferguson said a new heavy-duty steel rear bar increased functionality, along with a large step and tow bar, ball and tongue with a 7-pin wiring harness.

As with other Hilux models, the ute is rated to provide a braked towing capacity of up to 3500 kilograms for the manual version with the automatic rated to 3200 kg.

The four-piece steel sports bar is rated to secure up to 200kg in the tub bed.

The snorkel is fitted as standard, as are the heavy duty all-weather floor mats in the front and rear.

The author travelled to SA as a guest of Toyota to test-drive the Halo range.

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