Home Editors' Picks This is Toyota Raize-ing the stakes

This is Toyota Raize-ing the stakes


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TMP will try to get the last word in the crossover war

I STILL remember how, in 2018, it was considered a big deal for Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) to have finally released a product in the then burgeoning entry-level SUV segment. The Toyota Rush launch was significant on multiple counts — but chiefly because it effectively moved the pricing goal post within easier reach. For the first time, TMP priced an SUV south of the psychic barrier of P1 million. Today, to Toyota’s credit, the most affordable Rush is still priced at a respectable P983,000 (that’s for the 1.5 E MT).

Unfortunately, four years in the auto industry might as well be a century. So many things have happened and changed during the interim. A lot more brands have entered the market since the first Rush rollout. And if you think the race to the most realistic price point ended by uncrossing that P1-million divide, think again.

To consumers’ ultimate benefit and in aid of mobility, so many options now exist in that previously “untenable” price point. Even more exciting is that features and creature comforts previously confined to rides with more expensive price tags have begun to regularly appear in more affordable models. Tech toys and accoutrements are now standard fare, so much so that discriminating buyers who are also on a budget can actually pull the trigger on value-rich offerings that appear to stretch the devalued peso.

What’s more, the novel concept that propelled the Rush into our imagination (a sub P1 million SUV) is now a standard fixture, with brands trying to undercut one another via lower prices and better specs.

TMP is now ready to do battle in that space that used to be reserved for lesser players who could price themselves more cheaply. There’s probably a lot of nervous sweating going on in the competition for this lucrative segment.

It’s called the Raize — the worst-kept secret before it became an open secret — definitely because of the excitement for the form and the attractive price point that the vehicle is bringing onto the table. We know that Toyota is set to trot it out formally by Feb. 4 (when it will be available for retail sales), but the industry is already flooded with excitement — or the aforementioned sweating.

According to a TMP memo sent to dealers that we got a hold of, reservations started exactly a week ago (Jan. 10). Four variants of the 2022 Raize are available: the 1.2 E MT (P746,000), 1.2 E CVT (P816,000), 1.2 G CVT (P906,000), and top-tier 1.0 Turbo CVT (P1.031 million). Add P5,000 to the last variant if you want the White Pearl special hue. Other exterior colors are black, turquoise, yellow, red, gray metallic, and silver metallic. Not all the colors will be available across the lineup, while black will be the standard interior hue across all trims.

The Raize measures 4,030mm x 1,710mm x 1,605mm. For comparison, the Toyota Corolla Cross (which was previously the brand’s smallest crossover here) measures 4,460mm x 1,825mm x 1,620mm.

Powering the Raize’s top model is a turbocharged three-cylinder, 1.0-liter, 12-valve, DOHC with dual VVT churning out 98ps at 6,000rpm and 140Nm from 2,400 to 4,000rpm. The rest of the lineup gets a naturally aspirated 1.2-liter, 12-valve DOHC with dual VVT — spitting out 88ps at 6,000rpm and 113Nm at 4,500rpm.

Inside the cabin is a digital meter cluster for the top two trims, and an Optitron-style display for the lower two variants. Fabric and synthetic leather wrap the Turbo’s seats, while the other trims get fabric. The driver’s seat is manually adjusted for all flavors; but the Turbo gets a six-way option compared to only four for the rest.

Other niceties for the Turbo include a two-tone exterior color, paddle shifter, additional buttons on the steering wheel, seat under tray, foot lamp, and a nine-inch display audio. Even its shoes are different — the Turbo receives 205/60 R17s, compared to 205/65 R16s for the rest.

Now onto even juicier stuff. TMP appears to be ranging the Raize against other A-segment SUVs — notably the Kia Stonic and Hyundai Venue. The company is also expecting browsers to include the mini SUV Ford EcoSport, and even the popular Suzuki S-Presso hatch and Toyota’s own Wigo in the consideration set. Owing to the relative affordability of these options, the Raize obviously targets a younger demographic — using concepts such as “sense of security,” “powerful and emotional style (that’s) attractive to the youth,” and “active useful spacious package” to drive home the idea of the Raize. The Raize owners are expected to range in age from 33 to 44 years old — but I suspect that its cuteness should be universal.

If you’re in the market for an even more affordable SUV that also boasts that reliable Toyota badge of reliability, then the Raize should be up your alley.