By now, you've read a lot about the Toyota Rush, a new small seven seater from that Toyota Motor Philippines is about to launch.
Well, just before Toyota actually takes the wraps off the car later today, they tossed us the keys to one so we can get a closer look and a quick drive to see what the Rush has to offer.
The story of the Rush actually begins not with Toyota, but with Daihatsu. Being a member of the Toyota group that makes small vehicles, Daihatsu produced and sold a model called the Terios starting in the late 90's. In Indonesia, that same model was called the Taruna and was sold as a seven seater 1999 to 2006, and is effectively the precursor to the Rush.
With the second generation Daihatsu Terios, Toyota came in and adopted the model for themselves, and that became the first generation Toyota Rush. The model was very successful, particularly in Indonesia; they produced it for a total of 11 years (2006 to 2017), and many of them still ply the streets of Jakarta with their mini-RAV4 looks and a tailgate-mounted spare tire.
The second generation Rush was launched in Indonesia in 2017, and that's the model we see here. The Indonesian connection is important: the Rush we will get is made there, and appears to share quite a few major components with the Avanza (which is also Indonesian made), albeit in a more SUV form. Being an ASEAN member state, the Rush will benefit from the free-trade agreement to help keep prices competitive.
The design is rather interesting; the Rush clearly adopts some design cues and lines from bigger SUVs in the Toyota line up. Previous models looked like scaled down versions of the RAV4, but this one seems to have some styling elements from the likes of the Fortuner, but doesn't appear to have been directly or fully inspired by the latter's design. An interesting note about the fascia is how the LED headlights on this 1.5G blend with the grill and cut into it at the same time; it's difficult to describe, but it's a rather unique and sharp looking detail.
The Rush is larger than the Avanza in every dimension; it's 4435mm long (Avanza: 4140mm), 1695mm wide (Avanza: 1660mm), 1705mm tall (Avanza: 1695mm), and has a 2685mm wheelbase (Avanza: 2655mm). Unlike the previous generation Rush, the new model sees the spare tire move from the tailgate to the undercarriage.
The Rush has an interior that is very modern and looks high grade despite the use of plastic. The interior is predominantly black, but there's some cream-colored trim with some faux stitching on the dashboard along with some silver accents.
The steering wheel is a modern take on the one seen on the FJ Cruiser, and comes with audio controls on this 1.5G variant. Toyota installed a 2-DIN touchscreen audio unit with Bluetooth and a USB port. Also this version gets an automatic climate control system and a push-button ignition system with a smart key. Like the Avanza, the blower vents for the rear passengers is located on the ceiling just above the front seats.
Being a seven seater with a strong connection to the Avanza, the Rush seats 2 persons in front, 3 in the middle, and another 2 in the third row. The middle row folds and tumbles and has a 60:40 split, but the third row also has a fold and tumble with a 50:50 split.
Powering the Rush is the same Dual VVT-i (intake and exhaust) 1.5-liter 2NR-VE engine as the current model Avanza. It makes 104 PS @ 6000 rpm and 136 Nm @ 4200 rpm. All versions of the Philippine-market Rush will get this engine, along with either 4-speed automatic for the 1.5G and 1.5E. Another variant of the 1.5E will get a 5-speed manual gearbox.
Our drive of the Rush was brief, but telling. Unlike most of its competitor models like the Honda BR-V and Mitsubishi Xpander Rush which are front-wheel drive, the Rush (like the Avanza) is rear-wheel drive. Given that the Rush is expected to be able to carry 7 persons (and cargo), the suspension at the back is quite firm to accommodate the weight. Those driving solo or with just a companion will note the firm suspension, but once you start putting in more people, the ride gets better; just like the Avanza. Also, the performance of the powertrain is very similar to its MPV brother.
The Rush 1.5G AT 7-seater will cost PhP 1,070,000.
Eventually we'll have a more thorough review of the Toyota Rush to get at its details and overall performance on a daily drive, but from what we can tell after spending an afternoon with one, this should sell in great numbers... again, just like the Avanza.