With two Utes, the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, being the best selling cars across Australia in 2016 and 2017 and them still topping the sales charts in 2018, I am excited to be trying out the new Rogue edition of the Hilux and this time making a video for our BabyDrive audience. But I am a little scared at the same time that I will have to battle those top tethers again!!
The Rogue edition looks HOT!! There is no other way to put it!! These utes keep winning me over and the exterior styling of the Rogue definitely makes me excited to drive it!!
The Rogue is a more luxurious model and the interior is a bit fancier than the usual HiLux interior too, with many different black shiny surfaces and fittings and black roof lining and velour black visors, it does feel dark and moody inside, to match the tough exterior.
The biggest difference in the Rogue edition is the carpeted tray … I love it!! Finally a ute I can do a nappy change in!!!! I'm sure that's not what they designed it for. 😉
The tray of the HiLux will hold 29 shopping bags from empty and I could fit any size stroller in there with a month's shopping too! I liked the lid on this one as it was easy to open and shut up and because of the carpeted tray, needed to be water tight too.
I found I used the tray more with the Rogue because of the lid and carpet, whereas with the previous regular HiLux I tested I used the footwells in the back of the cab to carry shopping and all the things necessary with kids. There are still flip-down hooks in the front seat backs in the Rogue which are perfectly positioned to hold bags.
Although there is no Apple Car Play or Android Auto in the HiLux and connecting my phone was frustratingly difficult, the home screen is split 50/50 with navigation and audio information. It took me a good few weeks and a few Toyotas to get used to it but I liked being able to multitask and easily switch from one to the other by selecting whichever half of the screen I wanted at the time.
Storage in the HiLux is still quite minimal, its best feature is the extra glove box above the regular one, the HiLux has a second glove box which you can use as a cooler box, I think it is a great BabyDrive feature for storing milk and lunches going to play dates when it’s hot.
The Rogue, like the regular HiLux, offered disappointing in-cab leg space, in fact, it had less than the much smaller Hyundai i30! The front seats were scalloped, making it impossible to wear a ponytail and meant the seat backs stuck out further, which allowed less room for a rear-facing child seat behind them, meaning less legroom in the front.
The lack of room in the cab did mean however I could reach back and pass Bub a continuous supply of toys and snacks throughout the journey!
If you need a portable playpen and to be able to carry the world around with you in the back tray then the HiLux Rogue is needed. But if you are a family of three who just needs to carry themselves and a stroller around then the HiLux is really unnecessary!
There are ISOFix points and top tethers for the two outer rear seats, so you can only instal two child seats. There is room between them to sit an adult in the central seat.
The top tethers in the Rogue actually brought me to tears 🙁 This woven loop is one of the worst designs I have come across and I would LOVE the designers to try installing child seats in here, so they would understand the problem they have created!! In the outer seats, you feed the top tether straps between the headrest pins and through a webbing loop and then across to the central top tether anchor point. You physically can not tighten the top tether strap enough because the adjustor block on the top tether straps gets stuck on the woven loop. It is THE MOST frustrating thing, leaving you in a powerless position as a parent knowing no matter what you do, because of a bad design, you can not tighten the top tether strap adequately enough so that in an accident you will not have provided your child with a safe child seat! I get so many emails asking about this problem with utes that have top tethers anchors like this.
For me, the HiLux sits between the Colorado and the D-Max. It's not as comfortable, practical or nice to drive as an everyday car around town as the Colorado. In the HiLux’s favour, the doors and windows closed properly unlike those of the Colorado.
The D-Max felt like a workhorse, not for a family to do their weekly shop in! The HiLux feels like it has been designed to do both, as they have added some hooks and comfort to the cab.