Toyota Rush Long Wheelbase

UPDATE #3: The 7-seater Toyota Rush has been launched in Malaysia! – Click for details, specifications, photos and pricing.

UPDATE #2: The long wheelbase version of the Toyota Rush has been spotted being transported on trailers in Malaysia! Click here to view spyshots.

UPDATE: Perodua has announced that a new Kembara will be launched in mid-2008. It is expected that the new Perodua Kembara replacement will be based on the Daihatsu Bego/Toyota Rush. Click here for more details.

In Malaysia, Toyota seems to be missing a model in the small monocoque SUV segment, an area currently dominated by models such as the Honda CR-V and the Ford Escape. The current Toyota RAV4 is just too expensive as it is a CBU import. One model that might be able to fit that area but not exactly because of engine size is the Toyota Rush, but most of us are hoping that it will come to Malaysia as a Perodua Kembara replacement model.

However, in the past with certain models that have both a Daihatsu and a Toyota model (a strategy the Toyota group has used in neighbouring countries like Indonesia), Malaysia has seen it introduced as a Toyota instead, perhaps because of Toyota’s stronger badge value. Stick a Toyota badge on anything and it will sell because of Toyota’s reputation for perceived reliability and the trust the automobile-buying public has for the company. We’re talking about the Toyota Avanza as a case study, which also has a Daihatsu-badged sibling called the Daihatsu Xenia.

While we might have the Rush come in as a Perodua to replace the Kembara, let’s not discount the fact that it could possibly come in as a Perodua-assembled Toyota instead (as the Avanza is now). Now many will argue that the Rush is too compact to be a Toyota, but there is actually a long wheelbase version of the Toyota Rush that is sold as a 5+2 seater vehicle.

The normal wheelbase Bego/Terios/Toyota Rush has a wheelbase of 2,580mm but this stretched Indonesian version has a wheelbase of 2,685mm! There is a historical precedent, as Daihatsu Indonesia’s Taruna F-series was a stretched 5+2 Terios! Compared to the new Honda CR-V, the CR-V has a shorter wheelbase of 2,620mm.

The engine still remains as a Daihatsu-based 1.5 litre VVT-i though, the same 3SZ-VE unit as the one currently in the Toyota Avanza 1.5 making 109 PS at 6,000rpm and 141Nm of torque at 4,400rpm.

The short wheelbase version was recently awarded 4X4 Magazine’s 4X4 of the Year 2007 award, and according to 4X4 Magazine, “was the only one whose character stood out compared to its competitors, invoking the image of a cross-country adventure.”

So yes, imagine 5+2 seating similar to the Avanza, with sub-RM100K price tag, and a Toyota badge. Do you think it’ll sell?

Check out more photos and watch a video and after the jump.

Related Posts:
2006 Daihatsu Be-Go
New Daihatsu Terios announced in Indonesia
Daihatsu Terios wins 4X4 of the year award

Video: Toyota Rush Indonesian Promo

Daihatsu Taruna
The long wheelbase stretched Terios called the Daihatsu Taruna