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Why the Rush? Toyota's new compact SUV sets itself apart from the rest

2018-07-20 07:36

Lance Branquinho

Image: Quickpic

Around R300 000 there are a host of very good compact crossovers. But none of them can do quite what Toyota’s new Rush can. 

Whatever Toyota does in relation to its South African product portfolio is important news. The largest Japanese car manufacturer also happens to dominate our local market and when it adds a new vehicle, no rival is unaffected.  

Gallery: 2018 Toyota Rush

The latest release from Toyota is its Rush five-seater crossover, launching at a very attractive price point just beyond R300 000 and perfectly specced for South African family motoring requirements.

Stylish Rush arrives in SA: We drive Toyota's new 'baby Fortuner' - can the compact SUV take on Honda's BR-V?

Especially if your family likes vacationing in rural SA, where some of the best venues are not reachable by conventional tarmac journey.


Toyota Rush pricing:
Toyota Rush High MT - R299 900
Toyota Rush High AT - R313 500

A six-year or 90 000km service plan is standard, backed up by a 3-year or 100 000km warranty. Service intervals are 15 000km.

Toyota’s Rush also revives memories of two particularly loved South African gravel travel wagons: the Condor and Daihatsu’s Terios.

What Daihatsu?

Unpack the technical origins of Rush and you’ll discover that it is, in fact, a third-generation Terios, which is hardly surprising as Daihatsu is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota. Since the Japanese compact car specialist left the local market in 2015, value-orientated gravel travel has never been quite the same.

Daihatsu’s little SUVs were greatly more capable than they appeared, possessing an impressive ability to navigate the country’s vast network of rugged gravel roads, unlike most of the crossovers available now, which are merely hatchbacks with some ground clearance and pseudo-off-road cladding.

Toyota’s genius at analysing the local market is unrivalled. Fortuner captured an SUV segment originally established by Isuzu and has come to dominate it.

Sets itself apart

In the case of Rush, it’s not exactly a mini-Fortuner, but more of a Toyota-badged Terios – and for those South Africans who desire something to venture into rural areas with their family onboard, that’s an excellent proposition.

During its time in South Africa, Daihatsu’s durability is undisputed and despite being taken to places few other crossovers owner would ever dare, the Terios won over South Africans with its reliability.

As Rush, the third-generation Terios now has the support of Toyota’s vast dealer network, hence there’s absolute peace of mind in driving your Rush to wherever you wish.

There’s another huge advantage Rush has over its rivals and it’s a configuration which was proved by the Toyota Condor in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Condor was also an affordable family vehicle with a rugged frame, spacious cabin and importantly, a differential at the rear.

Although Rush won’t be available as an all-wheel drive vehicle (unlike the previous Terios and original Condor), it has a tremendous advantage by being rear-wheel drive.

A primary benefit of rear-wheel drive is incline traction. The moment you are travelling up a gravel mountain pass, weight pendulums onto the rear axle, giving it greater traction – especially on a loose gravel surface.

Rush’s rivals are all front-wheel drive and if you load them with a full complement of passengers and accompanying luggage, the front-wheels start unweighting the moment you try driving up something such as Sani pass. That means reduced traction. 
                     
A similar logic applies to driving on muddy rural roads. In a rear-wheel-drive Rush, the front wheels can apply themselves 100% to the task of steering, whilst the rear wheels are 100% available to find traction and transfer torque, ensuring forward momentum.

In a front-wheel-drive crossover, you expect the front tyres to both steer on a slippery surface and keep up momentum, which means overburdening of the available contact patch and grip coefficient.

Hyundai’s Creta has better engines, but it’s front-wheel drive only and dearer too. Similar scenario with Ford’s EcoSport and Suzuki’s Vitara, which offers an all-wheel-drive derivative, but at a price much higher than any Rush.

In fact, the only all-wheel drive rival is Renault’s Duster, but that’s a lot smaller inside. As expected, Toyota’s seen an opportunity in the market – for a rear-wheel drive compact crossover – and exploited it perfectly. Without rushing. 

                                                                          Images: Toyota

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