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First look: Toyota's sub-RAV4 unveiled

No rush: According to a Toyota spokeperson, the Rush "is not under consideration for Australia at this time".

New 4WD looks perfect for sale Down Under - but Toyota Oz is in no hurry

27 Jan 2006

TOYOTA has unveiled a new sub-RAV4 compact four-wheel drive wagon in Japan, however the Rush – as the vehicle is known – is on the slow-burner as far as release in Australia is concerned.

"It is not under consideration for Australia at this time," a Toyota Australia spokesperson told GoAuto this week, notwithstanding the absence of a three-door model in the all-new RAV4 range being launched Down Under in the coming weeks.

Available in rear- or all-wheel drive configuration in some markets, the small wagon was developed by Toyota subsidiary Daihatsu, which will also use the vehicle as a long-awaited replacement (called the Be-go) for the ageing Terios.

The Terios is also soon to disappear from the Australian market as Toyota pulls up stumps with Daihatsu next month.

The Rush is touted as “a tough and casual sport-utility wagon” that is intended to appeal to conventional hatchback and small wagon buyers who desire 4WD capabilities.

Like the Terios, its dimensions are diminutive: 3995mm long, 1695mm wide and with a 2580mm wheelbase.

Motivation comes courtesy of an 80kW/141Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual gearbox.

8 center imageThe engine uses precise combustion technology to enhance fuel economy and reduce emissions output, which are also aided by low drag and weight properties.

Construction is described as "a built-in ladder-frame monocoque body" which – along with short overhangs, the availability of a hill-descent device and good ground clearance – allows for some low-level off-road capabilities.

Assisting the Rush on-road are optional traction and swerve control devices, as well as full-time all-wheel drive availability with a centre-lock differential.

For its urban duties there is a hill-start function available, a relatively tight 9.8m turning circle and a nose designed to be more pedestrian-friendly in case of impact.

The Rush is a four-seater-only proposition and features scalloped-in front-seat backrests to improve rear-passenger legroom, as well as reclining, split-fold and stow-away rear seats.

Toyota claims competitive interior flexibility, including a 380-litre cargo area that can expand to 755 litres, “water-repellent” cabin trim and a liberal sprinkling of tie-down hooks, power outlets and storage spaces throughout.

In Japan, the Rush slots neatly into the space vacated by the discontinued RAV4 three-door. The RAV has grown significantly for its third incarnation, and is only available in two four-door wagon sizes – regular and long-wheelbase.

Among the Rush’s competitors is the recently released Suzuki Vitara two-door wagon as well as the Honda HR-V and Mitsubishi Pajero iO – two rivals that flopped in Australia after they failed to find an audience.

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