Road tests 11.7.2018 10:00 am

Toyota’s Rush joins compact SUV craze

In a highly competitive segment, you won’t go wrong buying one of them.

You can’t escape them. Fathers were the first to want the big, butch ones; moms then wanted to move to more petite,
cuter looking ones.

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Some are large and capable of climbing up the side of a mountain, some are way more at home living in the parking lot at Sandton City.

But desired they most certainly are.

The thing I am talking about is the popular Sport Utility Vehicle, or SUV as they are commonly known throughout South Africa and the rest of world.

And, like I have just said, SUVs have infiltrated all sectors of the traditional car market, and are offered in multiple shapes and sizes, with economical powerplants to full race derived engines, and have even pioneered entirely new segments because of this.

Now Toyota has decided play in this segment with their wellpriced, more up-spec Rush.

And before you ask, I did the asking for you, the Rush is not a replacement for the cheaper, seven-seater and very much more a commuter-based Avanza.

The Rush is said to be a product offering that caters for the “new age” urban adventurer.

I recently took it for drive around the Eastern Cape, but because it is very much a form of transport that offers the same 1.5-litre petrol engine that is in many of their other cars, I thought it would be a good idea for the Toyota people to give you most of the relevant information in detail.

Exterior design 

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Starting at the front, the new Toyota Rush features a prominent angular design with pointed, upswept LED headlamps and large trapezoidal grille.

The grille features wide horizontal slats finished off in dark grey and a centrally mounted Toyota emblem.

An inverted contour line separates the upper and lower airdams and creates a triangular space which houses the fog lamps.

A silver-hued skid plate and twin hood bulges round off the front façade.

The side design lays emphasis on Rush’s impressive ground clearance and spaciousness, while black fender trim and lower panel garnishes add a rugged element.

A noticeable crease line flows from the front wheel to the rear tail lamp edge, and this is matched to black roof rails and body-colour rear roof spoiler.

The rear design centres on the LED-equipped rear lamp clusters, which carry horizontal lines and a similarly inverted contour line flowing from the bumper to the rear diffuser area.

Buyers have a choice of five colours: Tusk White, Quicksilver, Ruby Metallic, Liquid Bronze Metallic and Graphite Black.

Interior design 

The interior layout adopts a strong symmetrical design with ease-ofuse operational zones focusing on good ergonomics.

The upper dashboard houses a touchscreen audio system, equipped with Bluetooth, USB and Android Auto Plus Show/Apple CarPlay functionality.

This audio unit also offers a user-customisable layout and apps – a must-have for any millennial customer.

The lower dashboard contains the dual-zone electronic climate control, 12-volt accessory connector and storage area.

High-contrast taupe trim and chrome accent pieces are utilised on the facia and door panels to add an air of brightness to the cabin.

You also get a three-spoke leather steering wheel with tilt function and remote switches for added convenience.

The instrument cluster features large, highly legible graphics with a cool blue semi-circular motif and chrome surrounds.

A centrally-mounted multi-information display relays user-selectable information to the driver, which includes a colour Eco indicator.

The seats are finished in highly durable, patterned black fabric with complementing black fabric inlays on the door panels. The rear seats feature three independently-adjustable headrests and 60/40 tip-forward function.

Convenience and Versatility 

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Road trips require ample cup holders and storage compartments and Rush certainly delivers on this front.

The front door pockets make provision for two bottles, while the rear doors feature a cup holder integrated into the door handle which is supplemented by a traditional low-mounted bottle holder.

A 12-volt power outlet is also provided for rear occupants, bringing the tally to two.

The centre console provides three more cupholders, accessible from both front and second row seats, whilst a 6.4 litre glove compartment and driver-side storage binnacle, place items out of sight.

A cavernous 609 litres of luggage capacity is provided, while offering seating for five.

The rear seats can also be folded forward independently to further boost cargo space. Remember, this is not a seven-seater, nor can it be retrofitted or ordered as one.

Spec and features

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The Toyota Rush offers a decent specification list for a vehicle in this category.

The exterior features list include power adjustable and retractable exterior mirrors, auto-off LED headlamps, roof rails and fog lamps.

The six-speaker touchscreen infotainment system offers the aforementioned Android Auto Plus Show, Miracast and CarPlay functionality. In addition, it features built-in Satellite Navigation. Occupants can also use their native smartphone apps such as Apple Maps, Google Maps and Waze alongside music-streaming apps such as Apple Music, Spotify and Google Music.

An integrated Reverse camera and Park Distance Control (PDC) add both convenience and safety.

Safety and security

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An acceptable array of safety features are included in Rush.

The active safety systems include Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Hill Assist Control (HAC).

The passive safety systems comprise a total of six airbags which protect occupants in the event of a collision – driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags are provided.

Interfacing with the smart entry system, an alarm and immobiliser, as well as auto door lock function control vehicle access.

Engine and drivetrain 

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Drive is provided by the already mentioned 1.5-litre four-cylinder DOHC engine, with outputs of 77kW at 6000rpm and 136Nm of torque at 4200rpm.

The engine utilises Toyota’s tried and tested VVT-i system to boost efficiencies.

Driven through the rear wheels, claimed fuel economy is a strong focal point with the manual-equipped Rush said to use 6.6 litres per 100 km and the automatic version registering 6.7 litres.

Chassis and suspension

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Following the front engine, rear wheel drive layout (FR), the suspension system consists of McPherson struts up front and a Multilink design in the rear.

The suspension setup has been engineered to offer good rough-road damping and be compliant on mixed surfaces.

One of Rush’s key features is the generous 220mm ride height, which combined with a 31-degree approach and 26.5 degree departure angle, allows easy traversing of mixed surface roads.

An impressive 600mm wading depth affords Rush the capability to tackle most water crossings.

Stylish 17-inch alloy wheels with forward-slanting stylised spokes add to the rugged image.

The wheels are shod with 215- 60-R17 tyres and a full-size spare wheel is also provided.

This is a competitive and price sensitive part of the new car market.

Perhaps the new Toyota Rush won’t be seen as the coolest choice going, that said, you won’t go wrong or make a mistake if you seriously considered this SUV.

Model Line-up and Pricing

  • Rush 1.5 MT R299 900
  • Rush 1.5 AT R313 500

Warranty and Maintenance

  • A six-services / 90 000km service plan comes standard, backed up by a three-year / 100 000km warranty. The service intervals are set at 15 000km.

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