by Ian Hind
Worldwide, the SUV and compact SUV markets continue to grow at the expense of the traditional saloon car. In fact, I believe the compact SUV, whether it be diesel, gas, hybrid or electric powered, will become the dominant sector. And so just about every manufacturer in the world from BMW to Bentley now offers an SUV in its lineup.
Toyota rushed out (sorry, I just had to write that) the third generation Rush in early 2018 in Indonesia and the Philippines. It’s built exclusively for the Asian and Caribbean market, is nearly identical to the Daihatsu Terios and shares the same platform and engine as the Toyota Avanza. There are some minor upgrades to the 2019 model.
You get a lot of metal, plastic, rubber, cloth and leather for your money. At 4,435mm long and 1,695mm wide, this compact SUV just fits in the maximum allow able length and width for private cars in Bermuda. Additionally, low overhangs at the front and rear mean cabin space is maximised.
Thus, the Toyota Rush can accommodate three rows of seating. And it looks big. It has a commanding appearance that is reminiscent of the larger SUVs that are not available in Bermuda. Strong character lines and bulges around the rear wheels and front of the bonnet/hood lend it a sporty look with a rugged appeal.
Inside, the cabin feels spacious, with plenty of legroom and headroom for the front passenger and driver; likewise for the middle row passengers. Unless you are very tall and or large, you
can even sit comfortably in the third row, with some headroom, and room for your feet under the seats in front. For cargo hauling, the second and third row seat backrests fold down providing a flat load space. The third row can also be folded forward to create even more rear load space.
And if you like your coffee on the go, you’re well accommodated with three cup/bottle holders between the front seats, two in each front door, two in each rear door and one on either side of the third row of seats. Thirteen in total! The view of the instrument panel is uncluttered by the steering wheel and, in this digital age, there is plenty of info on display including the usual speedometer and tachometer plus a fuel efficiency gauge.
The 1.5-litre engine is naturally aspirated (i.e. not turbocharged) producing a maximum 77kW (103hp) delivered through a 4-speed automatic gearbox, which is okay, but with a driver and six passengers, the Rush is not going to be the swiftest in the stable. Even with just the driver, it didn’t exactly rush (sorry) up Barker’s Hill when pushed. I highly recommend that Toyota consider turbocharging the engine. It’s the way many vehicles of its size and class have gone in order to produce more power, improved fuel consumption and lower emissions from smaller engines.
Nevertheless, the drive was smooth, the ride firm, verging on stiff, with minimal roll on bends, even with this big empty box. The firm ride is no doubt a factor of driving with no passengers. Seven up, the stiffness will give way to a softer ride.
In Bermuda, we have two models to choose from. Both are licence Class H, with the XF starting at $44,900 and the slightly more up-market RG from $48,700. Both models have all the usual bells and whistles plus 16in alloy wheels, hill-start assist control, vehicle stability control, rear-view camera and sensors, LED headlamps, automatic a/c with rear a/c in the roof, radio/USB/Apple Car Play and Android and 12V/60W accessory sockets everywhere. The RG model also comes with electric fold-in mirrors, leather steering wheel, 17in alloy wheels, smart entry and auto headlight setting.
To check out the Toyota Rush and maybe schedule a test drive, contact Bermuda Motors on Church Street.
This article was originally featured in the TOP TEN 2019 edition of the RG Business Magazine.