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Driving Impressions

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What's the Rush? Meet Toyota's new 7-seater!

In today’s market, a seven-seater vehicle has largely become out of reach for most people, even from non-luxury brands. Toyota’s all-new Rush is now one of the most affordable people movers on the market and it’s laden with more plusses than you think. We visited their Barataria showroom to take a test drive! 

In today’s market, a seven-seater vehicle has largely become out of reach for most people, even from non-luxury brands

The engine is powerful enough
Initially, I pondered whether a 1.5-litre engine would be enough to keep the driving experience snappy in a seven-seater. While sports-car performance levels do not apply here, this concern was alleviated from the moment we jumped in, hit the push to start button and got moving.

Apart from the tiniest bit of hesitation off the line, the Dual VVT-i 2NR-VE unit was very eager once it crossed beyond idle speeds, with the power coming on progressively through the rev range with a nice little snarl above 4000rpm. Who’s ever heard that sound in a vehicle like this?

Shorter gearing helped the engine’s [email protected] and [email protected] torque ratings to keep the vehicle in a relative rush when accelerating, even heading up the Lady Young Road and Lady Chancellor Hill in Port of Spain, Trinidad. I was assured that performance was adequate enough to carry a full complement of passengers on the same routes. A four-speed automatic transmission comes standard, with a five-speed manual available on order, both sending power to the rear wheels.

Thanks to its rear-wheel drive nature, steering feel is smoother, and dare I say, more communicative than I’d expected

Versatile Handling with Ground Clearance
Thanks to its rear-wheel drive nature, steering feel is smoother, and dare I say, more communicative than I’d expected, despite the high level of steering power assist, which is popular with older clients. I kept clenching the wheel when turning corners or setting off with the wheel turned, unconsciously expecting the usual front wheel drive torque steer that never came. Also of particular interest, was the extremely tight turning radius of just 5.2m. This means you can complete a three-point turn or even a U- turn, on most two-lane roads. 

 

Although the suspension remained fairly compliant, its stiffer tuning meant that body roll, squat and dive were reasonably suppressed– reassuring when driving a higher-riding vehicle with 220mm of ground clearance. The ride feels quite firm for a passenger vehicle, clearly designed to carry the full load of seven adult passengers, or whatever you can fit in the massive space that becomes available when you fold the second- and third-row seats away.

Our 60km/h evasive test proved to be no challenge as the Rush’s vehicle stability control (VSC) system kept direction in check while trimming speed off with its effective application of the brakes

Our 60km/h evasive test proved to be no challenge as the Rush’s vehicle stability control (VSC) system kept direction in check while trimming speed off with its effective application of the brakes. You can confidently attempt to dodge an animal, ball or pedestrian, should the unforeseen arise. The Rush’s suspension consists of MacPherson struts at the front, and a five-link coil spring rear suspension system– along with front and rear stabiliser bars. Stopping power is provided by ventilated disc brakes up front and drums at the rear. 

...the Rush has been engineered with a 31-degree approach and 26.5-degree departure angle

Approaching hills and drainage dips on city streets should pose no challenge either as the Rush has been engineered with a 31-degree approach and 26.5-degree departure angle. Unless you’re heading into serious off-road territory, we imagine that the Rush should be capable enough to navigate most regular dirt roads and the like. 

The Rush has 13 cupholders, ...making it perfect for leisure activities and long drives. 

Comfort, Convenience and Tech
Throughout our three-hour test drive, the fabric seats remained comfortable– no leather options are available at this time. The air-conditioning system is also fantastic. Taking a page out of the maxi taxi/minivan playbook, the Rush features both regular and overhead vents to reach rear passengers. The Rush has 13 cupholders, ensuring that everyone has a place to house their drink, making it perfect for leisure activities and long drives. 

Even with its second and third row seats deployed you also have enough room in the rear storage area to hold four five-gallon water bottles– the kind commonly used in home and office dispenser machines– a handy bonus if you’re looking for ways to reduce your plastic footprint since they are reusable.

Oh, did I mention I was actually able to fit in the third-row seats? As a six-foot tall person, I was impressed. 

Oh, did I mention that I was actually able to fit in the third-row seats? As a six-foot tall person, I was impressed. 

each seating row also features a 12V/60W socket for you to recharge and power your devices

Apart from all the roominess, each seating row also features a 12V/60W socket for you to recharge and power your devices. You can configure the audio system, which after some minor tweaks played our favourite test tracks reasonably well.

Connecting multiple Bluetooth smart devices at once is also fairly easy...

Connecting multiple Bluetooth smart devices at once is also fairly easy, and WebLink is also included. Other tech tidbits include keyless entry that lets you lock and unlock the doors via a button on the handle once the key is detected. This is particularly useful when your hands are full or when you don’t want to be seen taking out your keys. 

Rear parking sensors that provide an audible alert when getting too close to obstacles, which you can also see in the rear-view camera feed displayed on the central touch screen.

Safety
The Rush also comes standard with Hill Start Assist Control, which basically prevents vehicle rollback when starting out on a hill, ABS, and Traction Control. Rear parking sensors that provide an audible alert when getting too close to obstacles, which you can also see in the rear-view camera feed displayed on the central touch screen. The Rush also features driver and front passenger airbags and side airbags, and curtain airbags that extend to protect the rear passengers. All seats feature seatbelts. 

Counterpoints
Nitpicks include the need to have the front seats adjusted forward enough in order to fold the second-row seats away, the considerable intrusion of engine and transmission noises into the cabin, and some interesting overhead packaging for one of the seatbelts. The Toyota Rush is assembled at a Daihatsu factory and we concurred that the lack of sound-deadening material was definitely a nod to keeping costs low, weight down and fuel economy numbers higher. 

Our route covered just over 60km and we were just a single block down on our digital fuel gauge.

We did some digging on the internet and average fuel consumption should be in the 35mpg (14.9km/L) range– excellent for a vehicle of this size and capacity. Our route covered just over 60km and we were just a single block down on our digital fuel gauge. 

You get the sweeter steering feel of a rear-wheel drive vehicle, a tight turning circle, good ground clearance, tech and storage conveniences, and a pretty snazzy front fascia that even features LED daytime running lights. 

Conclusions
The Toyota Rush fills a specific gap in the market and its sales numbers from its introduction to present have proved that Toyota has read the market correctly. Its price point of TT$229K for the mid-spec and TT$249K for the high spec models allow growing families and businesses to enjoy seven-seat capacity in a more compact vehicle that delivers where and when it counts in other areas. You get the sweeter steering feel of a rear-wheel drive vehicle, a tight turning circle, good ground clearance, tech and storage conveniences, and a pretty snazzy front fascia that even features LED daytime running lights. 

Technical Specifications: Toyota Rush

Engine Power [email protected]
Combustion Engine Torque 136Nm/[email protected] (4-sp. auto)
Engine Displacement/Type 1496cc/Inline-4, 16v, Chain Drive, DOHC Dual VVT-i (2NR-VE)
Max. Engine Speed 6000rpm
Transmission 4-speed automatic, 5-speed manual (optional)
Number of airbags 6
Maximum Turning Radius (tyres) 5.2m
Ground Clearance  220mm 
Approach angle 31˚
Departure angle 26.5˚
Fuel type Super 92 octane
Estimated Fuel Consumption (Combined) 35mpg
Top Speed 165km/h
Gross Vehicle Weight  1870kg
Wheels & Tyres (Med-Spec, High-Spec) 16" 215/65R16, 17" 215/60R17
Luggage compartment volumes 213L (3rd row seats folded), 514 (2nd and 3rd row seats folded)
Approx. starting price in T&T (Mid-Spec, High-Spec) $TT229K, TT$259K

Continue to: Toyota Agya is now the most affordable new car in T&T

    

 

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