That it is a rear drive front engine layout gives Toyota’s new Rush SUV a big tick in the checkbox list even before looking at any of the other specifications attached to this small, entry model to the segment.
That it is the company’s chase to attract first-time SUV entrants is borne out by the modest 1,5-litre four-cylinder DOHC engine, with outputs of 77 kW at 6 000 r/min and 136 Nm of torque at 4 200 r/min. The engine utilises Toyota’s VVT-i system to boost efficiencies and buyers have a choice of either a 5-speed manual transmission or 4-speed automatic.
Toyota claims the manual-equipped Rush uses 6,6 l/100 km with the automatic version 6,7 l/100 km, with the CO2 figures 156 g/km and 158 g/km respectively.
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 220 mm ride height, which combined with a 31-degree approach and 26,5-degree departure angle, allows easy traversing of mixed surface roads – and wading depth is 600 mm.
The 17-inch alloy wheels are shod with 215-60-R17 tyres and a full-size spare wheel is also provided.
It is no secret – and the monthly sales figures bear this out – the SUV has morphed from speciality niche vehicle to sought-after mainstream with buyer comment usually referring to raised seating position and better handling over increasingly potholed roads as primary purchasing decision factors.
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 has a noticeable crease line that flows from the front wheel to the rear tail lamp edge while 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.
The interior layout sees the upper dashboard house a touchscreen audio system, equipped with Bluetooth, USB and Android Auto Plus Show/Apple CarPlay functionality. 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 seats are finished in 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.
Some 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.
The exterior features list includes 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 Android Auto Plus Show, Miracast and CarPlay functionality, but features built-in Satellite Navigation. An integrated Reverse camera and Park Distance Control (PDC) add both convenience and safety.
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 air bags – driver, passenger, side and curtain air bags are provided.
A six-service/90 000 kilometre service plan comes standard, backed up by a 3-year/100 000km warranty. The service intervals are set at 15 000 kilometres.
Rush 1.5 MT – R299 900
Rush 1.5 AT – R 313 500