But is it all just bright lights and metal bars? On Monday, we spent an entire day with it, and this is what we think.
Exterior - chunky and tough
The facelift brings about visual changes throughout the range, but the Rogue gets exclusive touches: a different front bumper and grille, hood garnish, new foglamp bezels and a skid plate.
Other unique cues on the Rogue are dark grey plastic overfenders, door handles and side mirrors. Toyo Tyres Open Country H/T 2 tyres hug the 18-inch wheels.
Everyone's ought to know you paid Rogue money, so for that there's big Rogue stickers on the rear quarter panels, while the back gets an exclusive tailgate garnish (with Hilux lettering) and a dark grey bumper.
Interior - well put together
No qualms about quality here - the interior's very solid, with neat practical touches peppered throughout. Thoughtful, but it still falls short of its nearest competitors in places.
There's air-conditioning vents for rear occupants and blue LED ambient lighting. For context, the Ford Ranger Wildtrak doesn't have rear air-conditioning vents, and while the Mitsubishi Triton has those, it lacks a drinks cooler.
You get both in the Hilux. However, we have to say that the Triton's ceiling-mounted rear air-conditioning vents is a much better implementation, due to it being easier to adjust and blows cool air more evenly.
Speaking of both, the 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It's a smooth system with easy-to-find big icons and no discernible lag.
Still, even with a 6-speaker setup, the sound quality isn't anything to write home about - it's just alright.
Very practical, so-so comfort
My colleague Faisal and I were constantly fiddling with the seat adjustments throught the drive. The seats feel nice, but their short bases means there's almost zero thigh support.
For lanky people, your knees might feel uncomfortable during longer trips.
The rear seats are way more practical than the Triton (which only has semi-foldable backrests) but they're not as comfortable.
There's ample head and legroom for tall people, and for baby chairs, there's ISOFIX mounts.
Pratical it is, but it suffers from the all-too-common problem of being too straight and firm. As a result, it crashes and slides occupants about on pockmarked or windy roads.
The Triton's rear pews are better because of its relatively curvier contour and therefore provides a nicer fit for occupants. It still remains the benchmark for a comfortable pickup truck.
Meanwhile, accessing the cargo bed is easy enough thanks to the damped tailgate. It's well-weighted and miles better than the carelessly-slamming, heavy tailgate that's on the Triton.
Powering the Rogue is the improved 2.8-litre, turbodiesel 1GD-FTV mill. Power's up to 204 PS and 500 Nm (up from 177 PS and 450 Nm previously).
The improved numbers are a result of modifications to the turbo's cooling system and increase in fuel rail pressure (250 MPa now, up from 220 MPa).
The powertrain is solid and dependable. You won't be setting any lap records, but there's plenty of mid-range punch. Diesel clatter is there, but really, it's not obtrusively loud even when when your foot's on the floor.
The 6-speed automatic transmission is well-calibrated and is miles more pleasant in everyday driving than the Ranger's 10-speed gearbox. Why?
Simple - you know what its doing, and it smoothly goes about its business. Granted, it might be a little slow, but we'll take that over the Ranger's 'box that always feels like it's finding the right gear to slot into (especially in lower speeds).
Being body-on-frame, it will still lean through bends and jiggle over bumps. Some might even say the suspension is 'busy' - meaning it will take its time to settle after going through rough roads.
That said, the Rogue is a fine example on doing it right. Driving it through the old Rawang town and subsequently a stretch of Ulu Yam twisties, it just feels like a tall sedan, thanks to good visibility that allows you to be confident around tight roads.
Meanwhile, part of the Hilux's easy maneuverability can be credited to the variable flow control steering, which adjusts power steering assistance depending on driving speed.
Coming from a small sedan, I didn't have any problems easing it into a parallel parking spot. Meanwhile on the highways, the slightly added heft on higher speeds helps inspire confidence and reduces the characteristic wafty feeling pickups of these stature commonly have.
Features and safety
The other highlight of the Rogue is the Toyota Safety Sense active driver assistance systems (ADAS). It comes with:
- Autonomous emergency braking (PCS, Pre-Collision System)
- Lane Departure Alert with Yaw Assist
- Adaptive cruise control (DRCC, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control).
On our real-world tests along Guthrie highway, there’s nothing bad to say about them - they work just as intended and operating them couldn't be more straightforward.
And if you're coming from a Toyota Vios, no, the blind spot monitor (BSM) isn't noisy.
The panaromic view monitor (PVM) and reverse camera quality leave a bit to be desired though. It looks rudimentary and the image quality isn't very clear. Discerning light-coloured lines can be a bit difficult.
Make no mistake, at RM 146,880 the Hilux Rouge is more of a lifestyle truck than it is for rough-and-tumble workhorse duty. It’ll still do that no problem, but lower variants exist that fit those needs better.
Put it this way: if comfort's what you need, the Triton is your choice. For long-distance drives, take a look at the Ranger Wildtrak. For a jack-of-all-trades, you can't go wrong with the Hilux Rogue.