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Motoring News

TOYOTA HILUX ROGUE

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TOYOTA HILUX  ROGUE

By DEREK OGDEN

Sticking point . . . the HiLux Rogue tub top on test was low on convenience

Cars, computers and lawnmowers – when they go, they are great, when they don’t, they’re about as useful as a hip pocket in a singlet. That brings me to the HiLux  Rogue. Among the varied dictionary definitions of ‘rogue’ comes ‘an individual deviating from the normal, usually inferior’.

My time with Toyota’s MY21 top-dog ute had a niggle or two. For a start the Aussie-designed and developed motorised roll-top tub cover pulled up short, literally, on my first attempt to store it, jamming inches away from being fully retracted. No amount of pressing opening and closing buttons freed the pesky piece of apparatus.

A little less annoying was the key fob, which was erratic with its door locking and unlocking functions activating only when a few metres from the cabin. Equivalent automotive security systems usually can be operated from greater distance to the vehicle: often handy in a crowded car park. Over to you, Toyota.

Anyway, enough of this negativity, the Rogue deserves its HiLux ‘halo’ in some respects. Generally, it’s a credit to local engineers and designers, who were tasked with producing a combination of toughness, complemented by a more recreational focus for a vehicle designed to go anywhere and be sold in markets around the world.

Toyota Australia’s role in developing and evaluating the 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, rear suspension and hydraulic power steering was supported by teams from Japan and Thailand, as well as representatives from other markets.

The Rogue sells for $68,990, plus on-road costs and options. The HiLux, in general, continues its reign as the best-selling vehicle in Australia and like all Toyota vehicles is covered by Toyota Service Advantage, with each of the first scheduled services costing just $250 each.

STYLING

Out of Toyota’s Melbourne design studio comes a dark vertical grille that cascades from the bonnet down to the prominent lower bumper and under-guard.  LED headlamps, with dark internals, combine with bold outer corners of the bumper, which links to strong fog lamp surrounds.

An aggressive side profile continues the theme with robust fender flares, unique wheel-arch mouldings and an integrated resin sports bar making its debut. Wheel-arches also are generous enough to take bigger, fatter alloys than the factory-fitted 18-inchers.

A new sports bar, made from resin, is easier to mould than steel, allowing it to have a more artistic ‘sailplane’ shape.

Out back are redesigned bumper and tailgate. The tub itself is kitted out, up the walls too, like a fully carpeted lounge room, with marine-grade , the liner lifting appearance and coverage. The design makeover is made complete by a chrome Toyota tailgate badge and new decals on the tailgate and sports bar.

INTERIOR

The cabin is dominated by hard surfaces, which is hardly a serious criticism for a hard-working ute. However, coming to the classy rescue are black perforated leather-accented seats with grey outboard accents. The front seats are heated while the driver’s seat has eight-way power adjustments. Front and rear carpet mats are included for Rogue.

There’s a deep cubby in the centre console and a double-decker dash-mounted glovebox, the upper section cooled. Door storage includes convenient bottle slots.

INFOTAINMENT

Pride of place is a larger eight-inch display touchscreen plus control knobs, an upgraded multimedia system with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and a premium JBL nine-speaker sound system. One USB point and two AC 220-Volt accessory sockets are standard.

Restyled instruments consist of an analogue speedo and rev counter with blue pointers flanking a 4.2-inch multi-information display, which now incorporates a digital speed readout and a pictogram showing the angle of the front wheels.

Satellite navigation is easier to use with enhanced voice recognition, while other additions include an electro-chromatic rear-view mirror, new ornamentation and blue illumination.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS

The upgraded 1GD turbo-diesel engine now develops 150 kW at 3400 rpm and 500 Nm between 1600 and 2800 rpm, gains of 15 per cent and 11.1 per cent respectively.

The six-speed automatic transmission was recalibrated to allow earlier lock-up for improved acceleration and to ensure Toyota’s temperature tolerances, especially when towing, were observed.

SAFETY

The HiLux Rogue carries a five-star safety rating on 2019 testing and is equipped with Toyota Safety Sense, including a pre-collision system with autonomous emergency braking and the ability to detect pedestrians around the clock and cyclists in daylight.

It is also equipped with high-speed active cruise control, lane-departure alert with steering assist.

Electronic systems include anti-skid brakes, vehicle stability and traction control, brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, trailer sway control, downhill assist and an emergency stop signal (hazard lights).

Like every HiLux, the Rogue is equipped with seven airbags and a reversing camera.

DRIVING

Driving has been made easier than before by work done on the rear suspension, improving unladen ride comfort while a new variable flow-control power-steering pump offers more help in low-speed manoeuvres such as parking.

Braked towing capacity has been uprated by 300 kg to 3500 kg, courtesy of the higher-output engine and a recalibrated six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission.

Toyota claims a combined urban / highway fuel consumption of 8.4 litres per 100 kilometres. The test vehicle worked out at 11.7 litres per 100 kilometres in suburban streets down to 6.4 litres per 100 kilometres when on the motorway.

Improved ride and handling are all-encompassing with the MY20 Rogue. Leaf springs and shock absorbers were re-tuned to improve unladen ride comfort without compromising the vehicle’s ability to carry loads over uneven terrain, while low-friction rear shackle bushes add to ride comfort. Rear stability benefits from leaf spring front bushes with increased lateral stiffness.

Revised chassis mounts reduce vibrations and noise transfer to the cabin, particularly on rough roads. A variable flow control power-steering pump improves steering feeling on winding country roads and reduces steering effort when parking. Pity about the outsize 12.6 metre turning circle. There’s also a low-range mode for off-road driving.

SUMMARY

The Rogue is up against some of the stiffest competition in the premium luxury ute market (the runaway Ford Ranger Wildtrack springs to mind). It’s fair to say the power roll top would be considered an important selling point for the Hilux ‘hero’ and the failure of the accessory on test is not what we have come to expect from Toyota.

RATINGS
Looks: 8/10
Performance: 8/10
Safety: 7/10
Thirst: 4/10
Practicality: 2/10
Comfort: 6/10
Tech: 6/10
Value: 5/10

AT A GLANCE

MODEL LINE-UP
Toyota HiLux Rogue from $68,990

Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota HiLux Rogue 2.8L 4-cylinder diesel, 6sp automatic, AWD Utility)

ENGINE:
Capacity:2.755 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders inline
Maximum Power: 150 kW @ 3400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 500 Nm @ 1600-2800 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.4 L/100km
Emissions CO2: 220g/km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed electronically controlled automatic, all-wheel drive

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5325 mm
Wheelbase: 3085 mm
Width: 1900 mm
Height: 1795 mm
Turning Circle: 12.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 2231 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 80 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Drum

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Five years / unlimited kilometres

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Zeekr: China’s Luxury EV Brand Sets Sights on Australian Market in 2025

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Zeekr 009

Zeekr: China’s Luxury EV Brand Sets Sights on Australian Market in 2025

 

Zeekr, China’s latest electric vehicle (EV) brand, is set to make its debut in Australia in 2025 with two models leading the charge: the Zeekr 009, a spacious family-oriented vehicle boasting over 800km of range, and the Zeekr X, a compact SUV aimed at competing with established models like the BMW iX1 and Volvo XC40 Recharge.

As a subsidiary of the renowned Chinese conglomerate Geely, Zeekr has rapidly emerged as a key player in the EV market. The brand’s affiliation with Volvo and Polestar underscores its commitment to luxury and innovation. With a focus on quality and performance, Zeekr aims to redefine the electric vehicle landscape in Australia.

The Zeekr 009, available in both six- and seven-seater configurations, promises exhilarating acceleration akin to a sports car, thanks to its dual electric motors generating a combined output of 405kW and 686Nm of torque. Equipped with a cutting-edge battery system, this model offers an impressive range of up to 800km, setting a new standard for long-distance travel in the EV segment.

Complementing the Zeekr 009 is the Zeekr X, a compact SUV designed for urban mobility and versatility. Offering a range of 500-560km on the Chinese testing cycle, this model combines efficiency with agility, making it ideal for navigating city streets and suburban landscapes. With its sleek design and advanced technology features, the Zeekr X is poised to attract discerning drivers seeking an eco-friendly yet stylish driving experience.

Zeekr’s expansion strategy includes the establishment of a new manufacturing facility in Thailand, signaling its commitment to global growth and accessibility. With plans to introduce the Zeekr 009 and Zeekr X to the Thai market in Q3 of this year, the brand is on track to launch in Australia shortly, thereafter, providing consumers with a compelling alternative in the EV market.

While pricing and specifications for the Zeekr 009 and Zeekr X in Australia are yet to be finalized, both models are expected to offer premium features and performance. With its competitive pricing and innovative offerings, Zeekr aims to carve out a significant presence in Australia’s rapidly evolving automotive landscape.

 

For more motoring news, click here.

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Geely’s Revolutionary Riddara RD6 Electric Ute to Hit Australian Roads

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Geely Riddara RD6 electric ute

Geely’s Revolutionary Riddara RD6 Electric Ute to Hit Australian Roads

 

Geely, renowned for its innovation in the automotive industry, is poised to make waves in Australia with the impending arrival of its groundbreaking electric utility vehicle, the Riddara RD6.

As anticipation builds among automotive enthusiasts and eco-conscious drivers alike, Geely’s decision to bring the Riddara RD6 to Australian shores marks a significant milestone in the country’s transition towards sustainable transportation.

With its sleek design, cutting-edge technology, and eco-friendly credentials, the Riddara RD6 represents a new era of electric vehicles tailored to meet the diverse needs of Australian consumers.

The story of Geely’s Riddara RD6 begins with a vision to revolutionise the utility vehicle segment, blending practicality with sustainability. From bustling city streets to rugged outback terrain, the RD6 promises to deliver unmatched performance and versatility, powered solely by electricity.

Equipped with advanced battery technology and state-of-the-art electric drivetrain systems, the RD6 boasts impressive range and charging capabilities, ensuring drivers can embark on their journeys with confidence, all while minimising their environmental footprint.

Geely Riddara RD6 Electric Ute Interior

Geely Riddara RD6 Electric Ute Interior

But the Riddara RD6 isn’t just about sustainability—it’s also about innovation. Geely has integrated a host of smart features and connectivity options into the vehicle, providing drivers with a seamless and intuitive driving experience.

From interactive touchscreen displays to advanced driver-assistance systems, the RD6 is designed to keep drivers informed, entertained, and safe on the road.

Whether navigating city streets or exploring remote landscapes, drivers can rely on the RD6 to deliver performance, comfort, and peace of mind.

As Geely prepares to launch the Riddara RD6 in Australia, excitement is building among consumers eager to embrace the future of transportation. With its blend of cutting-edge technology, sustainable design, and practical utility, the RD6 is poised to make a lasting impression on the Australian automotive market.

With Geely’s commitment to innovation and sustainability, the arrival of the Riddara RD6 signals a bold new chapter in Australia’s automotive landscape—one driven by progress, innovation, and a commitment to a cleaner, greener future.

 

For more motoring news, click here.

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Kia Unveils Australian Details for 2024 Kia EV5: Midsize Electric SUV

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2024 Kia EV5

Kia Unveils Australian Details for 2024 Kia EV5: Midsize Electric SUV

 

Kia is set to launch its highly anticipated Kia EV5 medium-sized electric SUV in Australia this June, offering striking design and surprising affordability. The introduction of the EV5 may pose a significant sales challenge to Tesla’s popular Model Y, given its competitive pricing and impressive features.

According to Damien Meredith, Kia Australia boss, the EV5 will be the brand’s most affordable EV yet, with prices expected to start “in the 50s.” This price positioning places the base EV5 model in a favourable position compared to its entry-level rivals, including the Tesla Model Y, Toyota bZ4X, Subaru Solterra AWD, and Ford Mustang Mach-E.

The EV5 will be available in three variants – Air, Earth, and GT-Line – offered in both standard and long-range forms. The entry-level EV5 Air will feature a single electric motor, front-wheel drive, and a 64.2kWh lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) battery, sourced from China’s BYD for enhanced fast-charge capability and long-term battery durability.

Equipped with a 160kW/310Nm electric motor, the EV5 Air is expected to deliver a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 8.5 seconds and a claimed NEDC range of 490km. The long-range variant will feature the same electric motor but with a larger 88.1kWh LFP battery, offering 36% more range and a slightly slower acceleration time of 8.9 seconds.

For those seeking additional power and performance, the dual-motor EV5 AWD variant, available in GT-Line form, will feature combined outputs of 230kW and 480Nm. With a brisk 0-100km/h time of 6.1 seconds and a range of 620km, the AWD variant offers a compelling blend of performance and efficiency.

With its comfortable and pragmatic design, the EV5 aims to provide a more comfort-oriented alternative to Kia’s sportier EV6 lift back. Positioned as a true SUV, the EV5 offers spacious interiors and a versatile driving experience, appealing to a wide range of consumers.

Designed to set its own identity within Kia’s electric vehicle line-up, the EV5 showcases a distinctive SUV-first look, setting the stage for future electric models from the brand. With its competitive pricing, impressive features, and striking design, the Kia EV5 is poised to make a significant impact in the Australian electric vehicle market.

The 2024 Kia EV5 electric SUV is estimated to be priced from less than $70,000 drive-away – cheaper than a Tesla Model Y, Australia’s top-selling electric car – when showroom arrivals begin in June.

 

For more motoring news, click here.

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