Here’s a fact: Filipinos love their MPVs. The combination of seating capacity, relatively high ground clearance, compliant suspension, and attractive price are all valid reasons as to why the 7-seater MPV market is booming in the country. For a long time, Toyota dominated with the Innova, but local market trends have seen the desire for MPVs that are compact and good-looking, yet still provide the benefits of such a vehicle.
In fact, 14% of the vehicles searched through AutoDeal in the first half of 2017 are MPVs, which says something about the segment’s popularity to online car-buyers.
Toyota has seen this and is going toe-to-toe with other solid competitors with the Toyota Rush. Recently updated last year in Indonesia, the Toyota Rush aims to blend SUV styling and practicality, in a neat, compact package. While it has been enjoying solid sales in our neighboring countries for years, the latest Toyota Rush is touted as the most stylish and comfortable one yet.
A local motoring site suggested an imminent local release date this year, but no confirmation as to a specific timeline has been given by Toyota Philippines. Our fingers are crossed, and the introduction of the Toyota Rush will provide for an interesting showdown when coupled with models from other brands.
Taking visual cues from its bigger sibling, the Fortuner, the Toyota Rush has upswept LED headlights along with a four-slat grill along with LED taillights reminiscent of the Fortuner. Higher-end variants, such as the Sportivo trim, will even come with a tailgate-mounted spoiler, roof rails, plastic underguards, redesigned bumpers, and a neat set of 17-inch wheels.
The Rush’s overall dimensions (4,435mm long, 1,695mm wide, and 1,705mm tall) make it a contender in the subcompact SUV/MPV ring, together with the Honda BR-V and the recently announced Mitsubishi Xpander.
The Mitsubishi Xpander is in a deathmatch with the Toyota Rush when it comes to looks, we reckon, as these two subcompact MPVs are the freshest in terms of design. While the Honda BR-V is handsome, an update would be something to look forward to, especially when LED lighting and bolder fascias are starting to become the norm.
Powering the Rush is an Avanza derived 1.5-liter gasoline engine with Dual-VVTi good for 103 hp and 136 Nm of torque, paired to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Inside, all variants get push-button start, tilt-adjusted steering, and a reversing camera. Exclusive to the Sportivos are smart key entry, a two-tone dashboard, seven-inch touchscreen, automatic climate control with digital display, a colorful display panel, USB ports in all rows, and a better audio system.
Only time will tell before we get any additional info on the Toyota Rush, but things are definitely looking up. Toyota cannot stand idle as their competitors hold a decent piece of a very nice pie. It’s a space that needs filling, and, who knows, maybe Toyota can tick all the right boxes with the Rush.