This stout little car is no rare sight on our roads. Everybody wants an SUV in Dhaka, and while import duties have kept prices beyond belief, smaller cars like these had to fill in the demands of the “Jeep Gari”. Often misunderstood for it's appearance, the Rush is not too bad a car and does its job rather well. But when slapped on with a price tag just on the edge of 30 lacs, questions arise.
The roots of this car go back to the famous off-roader Daihatsu Feroza/Rocky. It's successor, the first generation of the Daihatsu Terios, was rebadged and sold as the Toyota Cami; and the second generation as the Toyota Rush, since 2008. It is produced completely by Daihatsu, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation.
Initially, and prematurely, I hated this car. The shape of an SUV on a chassis that is just about the size of a small hatchback was a rather absurd concept. I would soon find out that the unusual size of the car has a strong purpose of its own. The mini-SUV is a functional city car and are an absolute ease to park.
What changed my impression of it was a review by Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson, where he takes it around a forest chased by a cry of hounds and does rather well for a mere 1500cc mini SUV. The Terios in the video is a 4 wheel drive model; the ones available in our market are mostly rear wheel drive, while the rest of the car is the same.
Our test car was a 2011 unit that seats five and is priced at 28 lacs, again from our friends at Car House Limited. It is facelifted, as are the models from 2010 onwards. Dressed with projector headlamps, clear taillights, and a neat little spoiler, it has a decent appearance. Despite the timid looks, the car is completely mechanical throughout, and can take quite the abuse. Interior has basic plastic with chrome bits here and there. It does not feel too bad, especially after the facelift, and the quality didn't seem to bother me at all. Trunk space is quite decent as well, and can be further increased by folding down the passenger seats at the back.
This engine is the same 3SZ-VE unit found in the Passo Sette we reviewed earlier (Shift issue on 13-09-13), paired with a four speed automatic transmission. It feels a bit heavier than the similar Corolla engines, more torque at lower RPMs and a bit raw overall. They're quite robust and friendly to CNG conversions, although you should be able to do above 8 kms per liter driving sensibly. Weighing in at barely1200kgs, the small engine does suffice, and should reach 160km/h comfortably. We'd suggest otherwise as the car was not designed to travel at such speeds. Body roll at fast turns is a definite given, just like any other car of this size would have.
The ride isn't that comfortable. Naturally, with a light-weight body and a stiff suspension, the car tends to be a bit bumpy over potholes. The advantages are greater though, with big 16 inch wheels and tires, good ground clearance and a rotating axle, you can take it to just about any bit of broken, disaster ridden road without getting wedged to the ground or breaking your shocks. It makes for a fun experience, driving over all sorts of hurdles without a care in the world. The small size of the car makes for good maneuvering in city traffic, you can park it almost anywhere and pop it onto the sidewalk with ease wherever you go.