Daihatsu may have been the first to show its new compact SUV (set to be called the Rocky) at the recent Tokyo Motor Show, but Toyota has beaten its subsidiary to the showrooms by putting the near-identical Raize on sale in Japan. The new model is part of a three-pronged offensive from the Japanese conglomerate, with Perodua also expected to introduce its own version in Malaysia the near future.

As we’ve seen in leaked images, the Raize is almost a facsimile of the Rocky, apart from a few aesthetic changes. The front end has been redesigned to fit Toyota’s corporate look, dominated by a broad trapezoidal lower grille that is flanked by squared-off bumper corners and vertical fog light and LED daytime running light enclosures. The LED headlights and sequential indicators are joined together by a gloss black strip.

Apart from that and the prerequisite T badges, the rest of the car is unchanged. As such, it’s still very small, measuring just 3,995 mm long and 1,695 mm wide, and features an upright glasshouse with blacked-out A- and D-pillars, body-coloured C-pillars, prominent wheel arch bulges, broad two-piece tail lights and a bumper-mounted rear number plate recess.

The largest 17-inch wheel option gets a unique turbine-style two-tone design, while lower-end models get smaller steel and alloy rollers. Eight colour options will be offered – such as a new Turquoise Blue Mica Metallic hue – with three of those colours, including the new hero colour, being optionally available with a Black Mica Metallic roof.

Inside, the Raize is again very similar to the Rocky, with a driver-oriented dashboard design, a high-mounted gearlever and a large area carved out for the freestanding nine-inch infotainment touchscreen. The car is offered with SmartDeviceLink screen mirroring and Apple CarPlay functionality, as well as a seven-inch TFT LCD instrument display with Advanced, Exciting, Simple, and Analog display modes.

Toyota promises plenty of interior space despite the compact dimensions, with a quote 900 mm between the front and rear seats. The boot features a dual-level floor that at its lowest position results in 369 litres of boot space. The false floor itself can be removed to reveal a deep well (there’s no spare tyre), onto which tall items such as houseplants can be loaded.

Safety-wise, there’s Daihatsu’s Smart Assist suite of driver assistance systems, including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, all-speed adaptive cruise control and front and rear Erroneous Start Prevention Function with braking control, along with a Smart Panorama Parking Assist system that provides steering assistance and visual and audible guidance when parking.

Under the skin, the Raize sits on the Daihatsu New Global Architecture (DNGA), which accommodates the co-development of Toyota- and Daihatsu-branded models. Unlike the larger Rush (and its Daihatsu Terios and Perodua Aruz siblings), this car features a monocoque construction that utilises high-tensile steel plates for increased rigidity, and rides on MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension.

All models come with a 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine making 98 PS at 6,000 rpm and 140 Nm of torque from 2,400 to 4,000 rpm, paired to a D-CVT. The latter gets split gears to provide both gear drive and belt drive at high speeds for increased efficiency, leading to a WLTP fuel efficiency figure of 18.6 km per litre with front-wheel drive and 17.4 km per litre with the optional all-wheel drive with Dynamic Torque Control.

The Raize goes on sale across Japan today, with prices ranging from 1,679,000 yen (RM64,000) to 2,282,200 yen (RM87,000). The car will also be added to the Kinto One car subscription service from November 12, with monthly pricing to start at 39,820 yen (RM1,500).