If you’re looking for a new 7-seater for the family or something that can haul stuff around, you couldn't have picked a better time.
A lot of automakers in the market are now offering 7-seaters from the ever-popular Japanese brands to more luxurious European marques. The choice depends on whether you’re willing to shell out millions for a more luxurious model or are looking for something easier on the pocket.
Should you be looking for the latter, today we will be looking at one of Toyota’s newest contender in the market: the Rush. Specifically, we will be checking out the 1.5 G variant, which is Toyota Motor Philippines’ top-of-the-line model for the Rush locally.
Technically, this is a 2018 model; it even says so on the paperwork. However, the 2019 model is going to be the same; they won't be rolling out a facelift or a major update any time soon.
I must admit, I had a hard time writing my review about the Toyota Rush because there isn’t really much to say about Toyota’s popular little SUV. It's a back to basics 7-seater small SUV that's great for daily driving in traffic-laden Metro Manila.
Now before you get your pitchforks up, I’m not saying that the car is boring. What I’m saying is that it would make for an okay day-to-day vehicle in the city especially if you need the extra seating or cargo capacity. I mean it looks good, has lots of space, has a cold air-conditioner, and drives okay; that's really all you need for a daily driver.
Design-wise, I find the Rush the best looking among its competitors. The Rush quickly stands out among other models in a good way, combining both a stylish design with a sporty and rugged appeal. The Rush does appear to borrow styling cues from other Toyota vehicles, particularly the Fortuner. This design similarity can be seen more clearly at the front with the Rush’s wide grill and tapered headlight design. In fact, you could even say it looks like a miniaturized Fortuner.
One of my favorite features of the Rush’s exterior though is that it comes standard with LED headlights rather than the standard halogen lights; a big upgrade for driving at night, though the white color temperature does make the light bounce on a rainy road. The keyless entry doors and smart keyfob are also neat features for those who are too lazy to pull out the key and push a button.
Moving inside, the cabin is very spacious for its size. Passengers have lots of headroom even for those sitting in the third row, but the legroom, not so. The seats are soft and comfortable; they don't yield as much fatigue if you’ve been sitting there for hours at a time. A push start button makes it easier to go on a drive, and it also comes handy when you happen to be holding a lot of stuff. The digital air-conditioning controls weren't complicated and I could adjust the temperatures easily especially when it started getting really cold in the cabin. A touch-screen infotainment system with Bluetooth is also nice; it allows you to play your favorite tunes on the go.
One of the best features that I really like with the Rush is that Toyota took their time in adding a large number of cup holders inside the car. While there is no center console to put small things in, there are three cup holders in its place. More drink holders can be found in the door pockets as well. That said, I do hope that Toyota made the cup holders a bit bigger especially for those who ordered larger drinks. I also wish Toyota added some form of an arm rest for the driver for longer drives. But then again, I might be asking too much considering the vehicle’s price point.
There are two ways to get more space in the back for cargo. One option is to fold down the backrests of the third row; that affords you some extra space, but not much. You can also tumble the third row forward, giving you even more space. But the better option is to fold down the backrests of the third and second row seats to create a flat load space; that will give you plenty of room for a lot of items, effectively turning the Rush into a mini panel van of sorts.
Power-wise, the 1.5-liter engine producing 104 PS and 134 Nm of torque is enough for city driving. Acceleration could be better, but if you happen to be driving around the streets of the city with much heavier traffic, you won’t really need quick acceleration. More importantly, the Rush gets good fuel consumption despite having just a 4-speed automatic; I was able to do an average of 9.2km/L during my time with the Rush and that’s considering I had to brave our horrendous urban traffic everyday.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to bring the Rush on the expressway to see its fuel economy on open stretches, or see how it would perform. However, I did notice it had a hard time going fast up roads with steep inclines.
Handling-wise the Rush drove pretty okay considering it is a tall 7-seat SUV, miniature as it is. The handling isn't exciting, but it's good enough to not feel like it's going topple over when changing lanes at a faster speed. It's fairly planted, and drives okay. Parking was also easy especially with the help of the backup camera and sensors. I do feel like it could have had a better turning radius for getting into tighter slots; one of the prime competitors, the Xpander, seems to perform better when doing these maneuvers.
There is one issue I have with the Rush: the ride. Let’s just say this, the ride of the Rush almost feels like that of a pick-up; okay in the front, bouncy in the back.
Traveling at around 40 to 60km/h, the Rush bounces around all over the place even if the road is fairly level. This makes the ride unnecessarily harsh on the occupants and makes it tiring to drive the Rush on long journeys. Dropping the tire pressure won’t really help either as it seems like Toyota built the Rush’s suspension in that way.
However, there is one solution that I found in order to improve the ride, and that’s by filling the trunk with a lot of cargo. Adding weight to the Rush does help with ride, showing that the vehicle‘s rear suspension was really tuned to be able to handle 7 passengers.
While fully loading the trunk with cargo or the seats with passengers will improve the ride significantly, there is a drawback to doing this. You can immediately feel the Rush’s powertrain working overtime. It won’t have the same pull as it did if it was just two or three of you in the car. That said, I certainly hope Toyota bumps up the power and torque in order to help make it haul things around more easily.
Aside from the ride, there are some minor issues I found with the little SUV. One of these issues would be the passenger airbag panel which isn’t as well fit as we would like; if we put our hand on it, the panel moved. Another would be the speakers which sound a bit dull with the volume up. That said, all of these are negligible if you're looking at the bigger picture.
Other than the issue with the ride, the Rush 1.5 G makes for an okay daily driver especially if you need to lug people or things around town. With a 7-seat capacity, it can make for a decent people carrier. It may not be the most powerful or the best handling car out there, but the Rush will certainly get you where you want to be. Just don't expect anything more from it than you should.
With a price tag of Php 1,090,000 though the Rush 1.5 G is priced a bit higher compared to other vehicles in the same class. However, do remember it does come quite loaded with a number of features. Now whether or not you’d pick this over the other competitors is up to you. Personally though, I would advise that you take a test drive of the Rush first to see whether the ride is something you can live with. If it’s okay with you, then it could be your daily driver for the city.