First Drive: 2018 Toyota Rush

First Drive: 2018 Toyota Rush

Remember the Daihatsu Terios? It was loved by many for its simple but cheeky nature and its affordability. Sadly it disappeared when Daihatsu left SA a few years ago, but now it’s back. However, it is not back wearing a Daihatsu badge, but it’s a Toyota logo that adorns the grille.

It also looks very different to the Terios we always knew, with looks that share similarities with the Toyota Fortuner and the Avanza. Badged as the Rush, it is Toyota’s latest offering in the budget SUV segment, with pricing starting at R299 900.

No doubt Toyota has rushed the model in ahead of the arrival of the new version of the popular Ford EcoSport later in July. Both are five-seater models, although Toyota missed a trick here because it could have brought in the seven-seater Rush that is available in Asia. Instead, the Rush is a five-seater with a huge boot of 609-litres, way more than that of the Ford.

The styling is certainly more distinctive than the Terios ever was. It has Fortuner-style angles, particularly at the front where there are also LED headlights and plenty of brushed aluminium and black plastic cladding. The side profile echoes the Avanza in a number of respects while the rear looks modern and uncluttered.

Inside you get cloth seats, what appears to be a well-designed dash and a touchscreen infotainment system that even has Bluetooth connectivity as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The three-spoke steering wheel only has tilt adjustment and there is a simple and straightforward instrument cluster.

The interior also features plenty of storage spots, including door pocket space for bottles, and two 12V outlets.

Safety systems include vehicle stability control, ABS brakes and hill assist control. There are also six airbags, an alarm as well as an immobiliser.

In addition, the Rush even has a reverse camera and park distance control.

Power comes from a traditional 1.5-litre petrol motor developing 77kW at 6 000rpm and 136Nm of torque at 4 200rpm. Transmission options include either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.

Toyota is claiming an average fuel consumption figure of 6.6l/100km for the manual and 6.7l/100km for the auto.

Unlike the Terios, the Rush is not engineered to tackle anything other than a gravel road. It does have 220mm of ride height and even features a wading depth of 600mm but there is no all-wheel drive, with power going only to the rear wheels.

Toyota says it is targeting millennials who are typically into styling and gadgets, hence the raised ride height and smartphone connectivity. No doubt, many will rush to their dealerships to get their hands on one. – Mark Smyth