GOLD RUSH

Toy­ota’s new Rush in Egoli

Road Trip - - CONTENTS - Story by Ferdi de Vos | Im­ages © Toy­ota

The gold rush of 1886 led to the es­tab­lish­ment of Jo­han­nes­burg and formed a key part of the Min­eral Rev­o­lu­tion. Cur­rently, an Suv-rev­o­lu­tion is sweep­ing through the auto in­dus­try, and while pass­ing the Gaut­eng gold mine dumps, Ferdi de Vos won­dered whether Toy­ota has struck gold with its new Rush ...

The gold rush of 1886 led to the es­tab­lish­ment of Jo­han­nes­burg and formed a key part of the Min­eral Rev­o­lu­tion. Cur­rently, an Suv-rev­o­lu­tion is sweep­ing through the auto in­dus­try, and while pass­ing the Gaut­eng gold mine dumps, Ferdi de Vos won­dered whether Toy­ota has struck gold with its new Rush ...

The ma­jor gold rushes that took place in the 19th cen­tury in Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, the United States, and South Africa, helped change the course of his­tory in these coun­tries. It spurred huge im­mi­gra­tion that of­ten led to per­ma­nent set­tle­ment of new re­gions and de­fined as­pects of the cul­ture in these re­gions.

In the au­to­mo­tive world, the pro­gres­sion of the Sports Util­ity Ve­hi­cle (SUV) from niche, spe­cial­ity ve­hi­cle to a main­stream model has been a sig­nif­i­cant trend in the last two decades. The acro­nym has come to re­fer to any ve­hi­cle that ful­fils a cross-func­tional role, pos­sesses an el­e­vated driv­ing po­si­tion, in­creased ride height and suf­fi­cient cargo/util­ity space.

As such, the Suv-rev­o­lu­tion has in­fil­trated all sec­tors of the tra­di­tional car mar­ket. They are now of­fered in mul­ti­ple shapes and sizes and have even pi­o­neered en­tirely new seg­ments.

It is against this back­ground that Toy­ota South Africa de­cided to lo­cally in­tro­duce the new sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Rush, Toy­ota’s ver­sion of the Dai­hatsu Te­rios that was avail­able here up un­til March 2015 in its pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tion. Ba­si­cally, the new Rush is a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Toy­ota Avanza (Dai­hatsu Ze­nia) on some strong steroids.

The Rush is based on the same plat­form as the Avanza and built at the same In­done­sian plant. While it was of­fered with four-wheel drive in its pre­vi­ous em­bod­i­ment (like its Dai­hatsu coun­ter­part), it is now only avail­able with rear-wheel drive. How­ever, the de­sign­ers have done a great job in hid­ing its util­i­tar­ian Avanza ori­gins and giv­ing it a con­vinc­ing Su­vlook with a def­i­nite “mini-for­tuner” feel

to it, en­twined with some Avanza cues. It fea­tures a prom­i­nent an­gu­lar de­sign with pointed, up­swept LED head­lamps, and large trape­zoidal grille. An in­verted con­tour line sep­a­rates the up­per and lower air-dams and cre­ates a tri­an­gu­lar space, which house the fog lamps. A sil­ver-hued skid plate and twin hood bulges round off the front façade. The side de­sign em­pha­sises its higher ground clear­ance (220 mm) and spa­cious­ness, whilst black fender trim and lower panel gar­nishes, match­ing black roof rails and body-colour rear roof spoiler add a rugged el­e­ment. The Led-equipped rear lamp clus­ters have strong hor­i­zon­tal lines like that of the For­tuner, and a sim­i­larly in­verted con­tour line flow from the bumper to the rear dif­fuser area. Stylish 17-inch al­loy wheels shod with sen­si­ble 215/60/R017 tyres com­pletes the pic­ture (and a full-size spare wheel is also pro­vided).

Mas­sive cargo space

The in­te­rior adopts a strong sym­met­ri­cal de­sign and feels solid. The up­per dash­board houses a touch­screen au­dio sys­tem, equipped with Blue­tooth, USB, and An­droid Auto Plus Show/ap­ple Carplay func­tion­al­ity, while high-con­trast taupe trim and chrome ac­cents on the fa­cia and door pan­els add some bright­ness to the cabin. The seats, fin­ished in highly durable, pat­terned black fab­ric with com­ple­ment­ing in­lays on the door pan­els, was com­fort­able and the am­ple cup hold­ers and stor­age com­part­ments in the Rush were wel­comed.

The touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem not only of­fers An­droid Auto Plus Show, Mira­cast, and Carplay func­tion­al­ity, but also satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion (rare in this class of ve­hi­cle), seam­lessly nav­i­gat­ing us along the N1 North past Pre­to­ria on our way to the Water­berg.

With Toy­ota only mak­ing the five-seat ver­sion avail­able lo­cally, the cav­ernous 609-litre lug­gage area was a real boon, eas­ily swal­low­ing the be­long­ings of four peo­ple. The rear seats can also be folded for­ward in­de­pen­dently to fur­ther boost cargo space.

Noisy en­gine

The Rush uses the same 1.5-litre four­cylin­der VVT-I en­gine as the Avanza, with out­puts of 77 kw at 6,000 rpm and 136 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm. Matched to a fivespeed man­ual trans­mis­sion (a four-speed auto ver­sion is also avail­able) with short gear­ing, the en­gine revved at nearly 4,000 rpm at 120 km/h in top gear. This made it quite noisy at cruis­ing speed, and while not un­pleas­antly so, some ex­tra sound in­su­la­tion un­der the en­gine com­part­ment would be wel­comed. While Toy­ota quotes a con­sump­tion fig­ure of 6,6 l/100 km, we never got our usage un­der 7 l/100 km, even on long high­way stretches.

Even on very coarse tar sur­faces, the ride qual­ity of the Rush was sur­pris­ingly good, and it was com­pli­ant on mixed gravel and dirt sur­faces in the pri­vate game re­serve we vis­ited. It also per­formed well on bad gravel roads, thanks to its gen­er­ous ride height, com­bined with a 31-de­gree ap­proach and 26.5-de­gree de­par­ture an­gle. But we did not test the 600 mm wad­ing depth claimed by Toy­ota

Ar­ray of fea­tures

The Rush fea­tures a broad ar­ray of safety fea­tures, in­clude Ve­hi­cle Sta­bil­ity Con­trol (VSC), Anti-lock Brak­ing Sys­tem (ABS), and Hill As­sist Con­trol (HAC), six airbags, a smart en­try sys­tem with door-han­dle mounted ac­cess but­ton and push-start ig­ni­tion, an alarm and im­mo­biliser, in­te­grated re­verse cam­era, and Park Dis­tance Con­trol (PDC). This is quite com­pre­hen­sive in its class, mak­ing it a strong com­peti­tor against the Honda BR-V, Mahin­dra TUV300, Haval H1, and re­freshed Ford Ecosport. It also has a de­cent six-speaker sound sys­tem, and on our way back to Egoli, songs by Cana­dian rock band Rush (they dis­banded ear­lier this year after a ca­reer span­ning 40 years) such as ‘Tom Sawyer’ short­ened the trip.

At just un­der R300k the Suv-like Rush, cater­ing for the ‘new age’ ur­ban ad­ven­turer, may prove fairly pop­u­lar. But it prob­a­bly would not cause a rush ...

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