The popularity of the SUV- Sports Utility Vehicle in South Africa has been nothing short of phenomenal. So much so, that quality premium sedans are no longer selling in numbers, due to the sales of compact, medium & large SUV’s. And throwing their hat into the ring in the compact/medium value SUV ,is the Toyota Rush. Not so aptly named, as you are not rushing anywhere with this car, it has a 5-speed 1.5Liter naturally aspirated engine and tranny, and this seems to be the only negative on the car. It always seems to need another gear, and at higher altitude, will surely lack some power.
However the looks of the Rush cannot be faulted, and it bears a resemblance to its popular sibling the Fortuner. Not so broad, will a slimmer profile, but the front end looks good with 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.
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, whilst black fender trim and lower panel garnishes add a rugged element. The rear design centres on the LED-equipped rear lamp clusters. Buyers have a choice of five exterior colours namely; Tusk White, Quicksilver, Ruby Metallic, Liquid Bronze Metallic and Graphite Black.
The interior layout is symmetrical and promotes ease of use. The upper dashboard houses a touchscreen audio system, equipped with Bluetooth, USB and Android Auto Plus Show/Apple CarPlay functionality. This high-tech 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.
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 supportive 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. A cavernous 609 litres of luggage capacity is provided, whilst offering seating for five. The rear seats can also be folded forward independently to further boost cargo space.
Spec and Features.
The Toyota Rush offers an elaborate 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 6-speaker touchscreen infotainment system not only offers the aforementioned Android Auto Plus Show, Miracast and CarPlay functionality, but in addition features built-in Satellite Navigation to seamlessly navigate to any destination.
Occupants can also use their native smartphone apps such as Apple Maps, Google Maps and Waze (dependent on device) 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. A keyless entry system with door-handle mounted access button and push-start ignition allow drivers ease of entry and use.
Safety and Security.
A broad 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.
Drive is provided by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder DOHC engine, with outputs of 77 kW at 6000 rpm and 136 Nm of torque at 4200 rpm. The engine utilises Toyota’s VVT-i system to boost efficiencies.
Buyers have a choice of either a 5-speed manual transmission or 4-speed automatic – driving the rear wheels. We never drove the auto version, but I’m sure it will have the same problem with needing more power and an extra gear.
Fuel economy is a strong focal point with the manual-equipped Rush using 6.6 litres per 100km and the automatic version registering 6.7 litres per 100km. The CO2 figures are 156 and 158 g/km respectively. It has 220mm of drive height, so going off-road to a point should not be a problem.
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.
Warranty and Maintenance.
A six-services/90 000 kilometre service plan comes standard, backed up by a three-year/100 000km warranty. The service intervals are set at 15 000 kilometres.
Model Line-up and Pricing:
Rush 1.5 MT – R299 900
Rush 1.5 AT – R 313 500
To sum up, the Rush should find a niche amongst buyers, as it is a good value proposition. Pricing is good, and it carries the reliability of the Toyota brand, coupled with the service and dealer network, you wont go wrong.