THESE boxy bad boys are helping Toyota dance to a new beat. Decked out in wild paint jobs, ultralow profile tyres and edgy alloys these funky cars (pictured) are spreading the word that Toyota is walking on the wild side with its new Rukus.
‘‘It’s Rukus by name and rukus by nature,’’ according to Toyota Australia’s marketing manager Scott Thompson.
Toyota Australia is using the racy pair to snare interest from the car’s target market of Gen Y buyers.
They received a big reaction at the recent Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne and will be showcased at various dealers ahead of a June 1 onsale date.
The Rukus has also been confirmed as a starter for Darwin later in the year.
Thompson said Rukus would appeal mainly to young, urban trendsetters, many of whom have pre- viously never owned a Toyota.
‘‘Rukus is anything but a standard car,’’ he said.
‘‘That’s exactly why we’re introducing it.’’
He admitted the boxy shape would polarise opinions and is likely to spark spirited debate.
‘‘Rukus is not a mass-market car,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s an acquired taste.’’ However, Toyota is confident its space, performance and quirky looks will win over younger fans.
The Rukus is based on the bB in Japan and re-badged in the US as a Scion xB.
Toyota has rummaged around its parts bin for its newest hatch.
The Australian car is expected to use the same engine as the US version, a 118kW/220Nm 2.4-litre four cylinder shared with other Toyota models.
The front-wheel-drive five-door wagon also sits on the same 2600mm wheelbase as the Corolla hatch.
However, compared to the Corolla, the Rukus is marginally longer and 128mm higher.
Like the grand prix show cars, owners will be about to pimp their rides with a long list of custom paint and equipment upgrades available from Toyota.
Toyota is drawing on similar customisation ‘‘packs’’ available in youth-oriented models like the Kia Soul, Mini and Smart.
Australian models will be imported from Japan, receiving the latest updates seen in the US version.
In the US the Scion xB has been named a ‘‘top safety pick’’ in each of the past two years by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, its highest safety designation.
Although local prices and specifications have not been released the xB is tipped to be available in two trim levels with entry prices from about $22,000.