There’s a new challenger in the subcompact crossover market – the Raize. Recently launched by Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP), it will take on models like the Kia Stonic, Ford EcoSport, and the Volkswagen T-Cross. If you want to compare how the Raize stacks up against the competition, at least on paper, we have a spec check which you can read here

It’s one thing to read the brochure, and it’s another to experience the vehicle in person. Thankfully, TMP did give us a few hours with the Raize ahead of its recent Philippine debut. It wasn’t enough time to do a proper review (which we will have in the future, so stay tuned). However, it was enough to see what all the hype is about.

What we liked about the 2022 Toyota Raize image

Great styling 

One of the best aspects of the 2022 Raize is the styling. It might be built by Daihatsu in Indonesia, but the designers did a great job in giving the crossover a sporty look. In particular, the front end looks great and has a very modern design compared to other models on the market. Meanwhile, the LED headlights on this top-spec variant give this crossover a meaner look.

The rear end is more akin to a traditional crossover, but the black cladding adds some ruggedness to match the front end. In addition, the two-tone black-blue color and the larger 17-inch wheels on this particular model make the crossover look more upscale. Overall, we like how it looks, but what do you think? 

What we liked about the 2022 Toyota Raize image

Powerful engine

Most manufacturers today are ditching large displacement engines for smaller displacement turbocharged units. It’s the same with Toyota for the 2022 Raize. The top-spec variant seen here uses a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder good for 98 PS and 140 Nm torque that is paired with a CVT. For comparison, the lower trim variants come with a naturally aspirated 1.2-liter inline-three engine, which produces only 88 PS and 113 Nm torque. On paper, 98 PS might not seem enough for this small crossover. But driving it around, power was available almost immediately. 

What we liked about the 2022 Toyota Raize image

We have yet to bring it out on the expressway, but for city driving, it’s more than adequate. The CVT also shifts smoothly and doesn’t hold the throttle at high rpm unnecessarily. However, we’ll reserve our full judgment about the new motor once we’re able to test out its fuel economy for both city and highway driving.

What we liked about the 2022 Toyota Raize image

Surprisingly practical

The Raize isn’t a big vehicle. It measures a little over 4,000mm long, making it one of the shortest vehicles in the segment. The trunk isn’t the biggest either, with only 369-liters of space available. However, the Raize does have the advantage of 60:40 split-folding rear seats. The second-row seats fold flat too, and it’s enough to increase the available cargo space.

With the second-row folded, the Raize gets more room to carry even larger cargo. The only drawback with the folded second row is the reduced passenger seating. So remember to not bring more than one passenger with you if you plan to fold the rear seats.

What we liked about the 2022 Toyota Raize image

Connected and features packed

When we think of vehicles in the PHP 700,000 up to the PHP 1 million range, we don’t expect them to come equipped with various features and tech. These are budget vehicles, after all. However, the Raize is changing that. The top-of-the-line variant comes with blind-spot monitoring and even rear cross-traffic alert. It’s not the complete package of what Toyota Safety Sense offers, but it’s enough to give occupants better peace of mind while on the road.

As for tech, it comes with a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Drivers will also enjoy the digital instrument cluster compared to the traditional analog gauges. Like the safety features, these are only available on the Turbo variant. However, even the lower-trim models have an 8-inch head unit with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. 

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Well priced

If you’ve been reading until now, there are a lot of things to like about the all-new Toyota Raize. But one thing TMP got right with the Raize is the price. The crossover starts at PHP 746,000, making it a very affordable model. Aside from the small displacement engine and high ground clearance, it can seat five and carry cargo all at that price. While the top-spec 1.0 Turbo does breach the PHP 1 million mark, it is loaded with tech and features you might not be able to find in other similarly priced models.

We have yet to try out other variants of the Raize. However, we expect either mid-spec 1.2-G CVT or the 1.2 E CVT to offer the best value for money. But for that, you'll have to wait for our full review. 

What we liked about the 2022 Toyota Raize image

Points for improvement

As great as the 2022 Raize is, it’s not perfect. We did find a few aspects that need some improvement. One of which is the rattling we noticed at the rear when going over bumps at speed. For a brand new model, there shouldn’t be any rattling or “kalampag”, no matter the price point. The second is the space, specifically for rear occupants. Toyota says the crossover can seat five, but we believe it will be a pretty tight squeeze to fit three people in the second row. The only workaround we could think of is if all three people sitting at the back are on the thin side.

We can’t wait to do a full review of the all-new Toyota Raize. But if you’re already interested in the crossover, we suggest you visit a Toyota dealer nearest you. Who knows, they might be offering test drives of the model soon. At the same time, you can already pre-order your unit today.