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First drive - RunX RSi upgrade

2005-02-15 09:33

John Oxley

There was never any shortage of power in the Toyota RunX RSi. It was just that it was in the wrong places.

So Toyota SA has taken the opportunity of a styling facelift to address this, altering the rip-snorting 1.8-litre 6-valve engine's inlet, exhaust, and engine management system to get rid of an obvious flat spot in the mid-range power.

I drove the new car in town, country and race track conditions, and the net result of the changes is that there's no longer a "hole" in the power delivery.

Linear power

Instead it's smooth and linear, albeit with a definite "push-in-the-back" surge as the revs hit the 6 000 mark and through to the 8 300 rev limit (a fuel cut out prevents the engine from going above 8 350 r/min).

Although the rest of the RunX range was revised last year, marketing communications boss Francois Loubser explained that a huge backlog at Toyota in Japan caused by new product developments had meant a delay in changing the RSi's 2ZZ-GE motor.

This engine features both variable lift and variable valve timing , a system which varies both valve timing and valve lift according to specific engine operating conditions to optimise performance, flexibility, and fuel economy.

The engine produces 141 kW at 7 800 r/min and its peak torque of 180 Nm at 6 800 r/min. Drive is via a six-speed manual transmission.

The effect of the changes can be gauged from the fact that the RunX RSi now delivers 80% of the available torque from just 1 600 r/min.

Mid-range

In the mid-range from 3 600 r/min through to 6 000 r/min a at least 90% of maximum torque (162 Nm) is available with a virtually flat torque curve through this range before torque rises quite steeply to the peak of 180 Nm at 6 800 r/min with a gradual fall off from there.

At 7 900 r/min just short of 170 Nm of torque is still being produced.

Engine apart, the latest Toyota RunX RSi shares the styling and interior revisions announced for other models in the RunX range last August, with new front and rear end treatments most noticeable.

There are changes to the front mudguards, bonnet, bumper and grille, together with restyled front headlights and fog lights, while the three-slat grille and air intake in the bumper provide a pronounced sporty look to the vehicle.

A revised rear tail light cluster balances the revisions to the front end.

Interior trim

Interior trim is dark grey with brushed aluminium accents.

Leather trim is standard as are driver and passenger airbags that act in concert with seatbelt pre-tensioners.

The car also gets electric side mirrors, steering wheel mounted remote controls for the audio system (RDS radio/CD combination with 6-CD shuttle), electric windows (auto up/down) and climate control air conditioning.

The RunX RSi, like all other models in the RunX range, is sold with a 5 year/90 000 km service plan included in the price.

This covers all specified service items as detailed in the Toyota "Book of Life", including parts and labour. Wear and tear items, such as tyres, are excluded.

Warranty cover is provided for 3 years/100 000 km with 24 hour Roadside Assistance provided for the duration of the warranty. Corrosion perforation warranty protection is provided for three years.

The price remains unchanged from the previous model at R202 475.

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