By Bennett Oghifo
The progression of the SUV from niche, specialty vehicle to mainstream model has been one of the most significant automotive trends of the 21st century. The acronym SUV which is derived from Sports Utility Vehicle, has come to refer to any vehicle that fulfills a cross-functional role, possesses an elevated driving position, increased ride height and sufficient cargo/utility space. As such, SUV’s have infiltrated to all sectors of the traditional car market, are offered in multiple shapes and sizes, and have even pioneered entirely new segments. Enter the new Toyota Rush – a model pitched squarely at the small SUV segment; a product offering that caters to the ‘new age’ urban adventurer and encourages you to start your own adventure.
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 air-dams and creates a triangular space which house 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, whilst 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 – creating a sense of movement. Matching black roof rails and body-colour rear roof spoiler create a cohesive image. The rear design centres on the LED-equipped rear lamp clusters, which carry strong horizontal lines and a similarly inverted contour line flowing from the bumper to the rear diffuser area. Buyers have a choice of five exterior colours namely; Tusk White, Quicksilver, Ruby Metallic, Liquid Bronze Metallic and Graphite Black.
The interior layout adopts a strong symmetrical design with ease-of-use operational zones focusing on excellent ergonomics. 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. 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 and create an inviting space. A 3-spoke leather steering wheel with tilt function and remote switches provide the driver with a firm grip of the road. 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.
Convenience and Versatility
Road trips require ample cupholders and storage compartments and Rush certainly delivers on this front. The front door pockets make provision for two bottles, whilst the rear doors feature a cupholder 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, 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.
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.
Chassis and Suspension
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 complaint on mixed surfaces (tarmac, gravel and dirt). 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.
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.