In the ever competitive automotive market, we're finding that manufacturers are not only creating new cars but also new segments! Take the Sport Utility Vehicle market, what started off with your standard, run-of-the-mill raised 5 seater SUV's has now expanded into light SUV, compact SUV and the smaller SAV's (Sport Activity Vehicle). Thus giving the consumer more choice, but they're only going to get more choice if more of the manufacturers take wind of these new markets, which to their credit, most of them have. With Toyota being a key contributor to most of these segments, offering not only affordable cars but also reliable and trust worthy with a good market legacy, they've decided to take this opportunity and expand on their fleet with the introduction of the all new Toyota Rush. I spent a few days with the Rush hot after it's launch and have to say, it could prove to be a master stroke by Toyota by bringing this one in.
On the looks department, you can't really fault the Rush, it looks great, nice bold grille, with slates finished off in black with badge quite prominent. The lights are very modern, and angular in design, with the indicator cluster fitted just below on the inside of the grille. It has a nice LED day light which accentuates the car from the front and the side. In fact the lights on this car don't really resonate on anything we've seen from Toyota which gives the Rush a different appeal. Lots of angles to the Rush and gives the car a more sportier presence, well with good reason seeing that all Rush models in SA are the "S" which is the sports package to the car. The large two tone 5 spoke alloy wheels are proof of this , the back ties up well with the side windows slanting up and finished off with a rear boot spoiler. The car is rather large for a "compact" SUV, and many might not know this but it really is a re-badged Diahtsu. Remember the Terios? It looked like a mini Rav-4? Well this is the new one, but Toyota saw this opportunity to call the shots on its sister company to have it branded as one of their own in SA. While you won't really pick it up quickly, there are certain elements to the car that make you wary of this.
The Rush comes fitting with a 1.5L inline 4 cylinder naturally aspirated engine, with 16 DOHC Dual VVT-i chain drive system. While it may seem like a small engine for such a big vehicle, it surprisingly is adequate for the car. Look, you're not going to win any drag races with the Rush but that's not the purpose of the car, and with the manual gearbox that I had, it was a peach to drive and really low on fuel. Maximum power output on the engine is 77kW with 135Nm of torque, which isn't really terrible for something thing that's main purpose is to be used as a family type car. The 5 speed gearbox isn't bad for the car and for me was the better option to have over the automatic as I can only imagine with the small engine size how one might find it a bit sluggish to hall around. In saying that, I never really went all out on the highways with it, it reaches 120kph comfortably but don't try and push it more than that. The body its quite light so this helps the engine but compromises handling a bit.
The Rush not only looks good on the outside but the inside as well, looks can be deceiving in some aspects though. The dash for example, finish off in a brilliant two tone leather, giving the Rush that luxury and classy look but on close inspection, it isn't really leather but rather plastic! Not that there's anything wrong with it, its good quality plastic with leather stitching designs on the ends. The seats are manually adjustable and quite comfy. The room in the back is very generous as well but the main highlight of the inside has to be the boot, why you ask? Because it's huge! Like when Donald Trump says HUGE, like that huge! In the Asian markets, the Terios as it's branded there is a 7 seater but Toyota have opted to remove the extra row of seating, my guess would be to prevent the car from over working that small engine but the end result is a boot like no other. Like you can throw in bicycles in there with out having to dismantle them! Going for a game of golf? Why not pick up your entire four ball and load all their clubs in there too! You'll still have space for other stuff as well.
With the Rush priced so low, you won't expect the best technology in there, with keyless entry you're already scoring in my opinion but with Toyota standardizing their radio and infotainment consol, the Rush comes with a touch screen radio system that is fitting in most of Toyota's new models. It comes pre-loaded with satellite navigation, Apple Car Play, Google Android Auto and has screen mirror, HDMI and USB port. That really is the only highlight of the car. The sound system is pretty standard so don't expect anything spectacular, the good thing is there is plenty of space in the boot if you want to upgrade the the sound.
As I said in the beginning, the Rush could prove to be a master stroke by Toyota, while it looks the part and can handle some light gravel driving with it's raised suspension, the main draw card is its price. Compare it to anything else on the market in terms of size and offerings, you won't really find much. Which the engine might seem under-powered for such a big car, it honestly is adequate for it. Bang for buck, consumer is winning on this one and you getting a stylish and attractive package, while certain aspects might not sit well, like some of the plastic in the interior, know that they're robust and durable, which end of the day means less maintenance for you. I haven't seen many on the roads since its launch, I expect this to catch on slowly with the local market.
1.5L 4 cylinder
5 Speed Manual