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  Toyota Rush – Crossing Over From MPV to SUV  
- Monday, April 21, 2008  By YS Khong  Bookmark and Share
 
 
 
     
The new Toyota Rush is a macho-looking machine

If you are in the market for a small MPV, and are a Toyota fan, but don’t quite like the looks of the Avanza, then the new Toyota Rush is right up your street...

[+ click to enlarge]
The new Toyota Rush is a macho-looking machine
The new Toyota Rush is a macho-looking machine
Looks more like a SUV than a MPV
Looks more like a SUV than a MPV
1.5 litre VVTi engine from the Avanza
1.5 litre VVTi engine from the Avanza
4-spoke steering wheel
4-spoke steering wheel

If you are in the market for a small MPV, and are a Toyota fan, but don’t quite like the looks of the Avanza, then the new Toyota Rush is right up your street.

Looking better than the Avanza, the Rush is more masculine in demeanor. It rides a little higher, but still seats seven easily. Underneath the skin, lies the same drive train that is found in the Avanza, as they are both based on the same Indonesian-based platform, but with some modifications here and there. Of note are the larger tyres, now 16-inches, and much bigger brakes, discs at the front, and larger drums at the rear. In the looks department, the Rush certainly looks more like a 4WD vehicle than a MPV. In fact, many people I met whilst driving the test car, courtesy of UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd, were quite surprised that it was only a 2WD. Anyway, the story is that Perodua will soon be launching a 4WD version of the Rush, as the Kembara replacement, and some spy pictures I saw confirm this, although the Kembara will have a slightly shorter wheelbase, and have a 5-seater capacity only.

The heart of the Rush is the 1.5 litre, 4-cylinder VVTi engine that powers the Avanza. The same engine also powers the Vios, with the exception that the Vios’ engine has an aluminium block, whilst this one is made of cast iron. Power figures are identical, being 109 PS at 6,000 RPM, and torque is 141 Nm at 4,400 rpm.

Power is transferred to the road through the rear wheels through a choice of a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic gearbox; the final drive ratios are modified a little to cater for 215/65R16 tyres.

From what I can see of the suspension, it seems to be identical to that in the Avanza, with MacPherson struts in the front, with a stabilizer bar, and a 4-link arrangement with coil springs and a Panhard rod; there may have been some changes to the shock absorber rates, considering that the un-sprung weight would have changed somewhat. Overall weight is 1220 kg, about the same as an average-sized 1.6 litre car.

The fact that it is a 7-seater ensures the Rush a place in the hearts of Malaysians who have extended families or have a need to carry more than what a conventional car can, and the fact that it is a Toyota will carry great weight amongst its users, as the brand that has reliability as its second name.

On the road, our test team had these words to say, “It feels like an Avanza, sounds like an Avanza and drives like an Avanza.” Generally, that is the case, with a few minor exceptions. The ride is slightly better, as the larger wheels put a little more rubber on the road, and the cushioning effect is better that in the Avanza. The same tyres that give this benefit also come with a price; the Rush seems a little more sluggish than the Avanza, a little more reluctant to get-up-and-go. The relatively heavier wheels need somewhat more effort to overcome inertia, but once you get going, everything gets back to normal again. The Rush seems happiest when driven at around 80 km/hr, as this seems to be its ‘sweet spot’. Pushing it any faster puts it into ‘protest’ mode; the engine gets loud, and the exhaust noise starts to make its presence felt. Perhaps it is due to the fact that the Toyota designers need to ensure that the Rush can take seven big people and still climb the steepest hill around, for they have put in a final drive gear that has the vehicle turning at 3,700 RPM at 110 km/h. This is very good for pulling power, but if one is driving with minimum load, it will be an overkill situation. The likely victim in this instance would be the purse, as fuel consumption will not be your best friend here. From the fifty litre tank, we managed 347 kilometres before the refill light came on, and this was on a long distance drive form Kuala Lumpur to Penang. To be fair, we were going at a fairly fast speed, and some light-footed drivers may be able to get a little more than that,

In terms of handing, the Rush is again comfortable at speeds of around 100 km/h: it is still manageable up to 120 km/h, but after that, gusts of wind start to play around with you. Around corners, handling is reasonably good, but you must consider that this is not a low-slung creature called a car.

The endearing thing about the Rush, which is also present in the Avanza, is of course its very small turning circle, a point that our lady tester (and Avanza owner) is very appreciative of. You can make a U-turn on almost any road without any worries. The next great thing is of course the seating height, one that allows you to almost look a truck driver in the eye.

In the final analysis, the Toyota Rush is a great vehicle; great for the people who want a seven seater that looks a little more exciting than the Avanza. Unfortunately, the price premium over the mechanically similar Avanza is something that must be considered. The Rush has an asking price of between RM85,888 and RM94,888, depending on specifications and type of transmission, a difference of around RM22k. You make your own choice!


     Picture Gallery
[+ click to enlarge]
Interior is an improvement over the Avanza
Interior is an improvement over the Avanza
Gate-shift for the 4-speed auto transmission
Gate-shift for the 4-speed auto transmission
seat height adjustment for driver's seat
seat height adjustment for driver's seat
Cockpit
Cockpit
Dual air-conditioning
Dual air-conditioning
2nd row seats fold forward and tumble for easy entry/egress
2nd row seats fold forward and tumble for easy entry/egress
Front suspension looks ready for 4WD - Very Interesting!!!
Front suspension looks ready for 4WD - Very Interesting!!!
Meter panel
Meter panel
Rear door opens sideways
Rear door opens sideways
Rear Axle is a solid axle with a panhard rod
Rear Axle is a solid axle with a panhard rod


 
 
 
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