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Toyota Rukus laid bare

Wagon wheeled out: The Toyota Rukus will be powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine.

Australia’s next Toyota model revealed in facelifted Scion xB, as Rukus specs emerge

Toyota logo18 Mar 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

THIS is what the Toyota Rukus will look like when it goes on sale in Australia in June.

As revealed by the teaser shot Toyota issued last week when it announced the first addition to its Australian model range in seven years, the so-called Rukus will essentially be a Toyota-badged version of the xB ‘urban utility vehicle’ sold in North America by the Japanese giant’s US youth brand, Scion.

Scion revealed its 2011 xB in the US on Tuesday, when it emerged with same new front bumper as seen in Toyota Australia’s tightly cropped preview image of the Rukus, as well as a range of cosmetic and convenience upgrades.

However, we can reveal the Rukus will be available in two specifications in Australia – both powered by a 123kW version of the 118kW/220Nm 2.4-litre DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder petrol engine that drives the xB.

While the xB is also available as a five-speed manual, Australia’s Rukus will be a four-speed automatic proposition only.

Other versions of the same 2AZ-series 2.4 petrol four also power Australia’s Camry, which offers lower outputs of 118kW/218Nm and can be had with a five-speed auto, plus the slightly higher-performance Avensis (118kW/221Nm), Tarago and RAV4 (125kW/224Nm).

8 center image Left: Toyota Rukus teaser. Below: Scion xB facelift.

Due to enter production for Australia in Japan in March, the front-wheel drive compact five-door wagon – which is also sold in Japan as the Corolla Rumion – rides on the same 2600mm wheelbase as the Corolla upon which it is based and measures 4260mm long – 15mm longer than the Corolla hatch.

Like the Corolla, the Rukus is 1760mm wide but stands a whole 130mm taller than the five-door Corolla at 1645mm. Other vital statistics we can confirm are a base kerb weight of 1365kg, 275x25mm ventilated front brake discs, 279x10mm solid rear discs and a towing capacity of just 500kg – braked or unbraked.

Both Rukus models will come standard with twin front, side and curtain airbags, ABS brakes, air-conditioning, power windows and mirrors, remote central locking and 16x6.5-inch wheels with 205/55-section tyres.

However, the premium version within Australia’s two-variant Rukus line-up is likely to reflect that of the Japanese Rumion, which is available with both a 1.5-litre and 1.8-litre petrol engine.

As the ‘1.8S Aerotourer’ name suggests, the flagship Rumion is powered by a 1.8-litre petrol engine similar to that in the Corolla, mated exclusively to a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

In Japan, the top-shelf Rumion, which was upgraded in December via a front, rear and interior nip and tuck and is also available in all-wheel drive guise, is fitted with alloy wheels, a bodykit and leather trim.

Toyota Australia could follow suit by offering the premium Rukus with those and other more luxurious items like a sunroof, Bluetooth connectivity and a more upmarket sound system.

Like sports-oriented versions of the Aurion and RAV4 V6, the top-shelf Rukus may be badged here as the ZR to distinguish it from an entry-level version potentially badged as the SX.

Alternatively, Toyota Australia could invent funkier new grade names to reflect the model’s younger target audience. Either way, it’s unlikely to resurrect the Sportivo name previously employed by the Echo and Corolla, and still used only for the Camry.

Scion’s 2011 xB upgrade comprised new front and rear bumpers, headlights and tail-lights and a new front grille to give it a more aggressive appearance.

Inside, the xB gains redesigned front seats, a new patterned grey cloth seat trim, a height and reach-adjustable steering wheel, a centre console armrest and a centre-mounted instrument cluster housing a digital speedo, analogue tacho, fuel gauge and clock.

The 2011 xB will be available in the US in seven exterior colours, including the new Army Rock and Elusive Blue metallic hues, but Hypnotic Teal will no longer be offered.

The changes come in the US with a $US150 price increase over the 2010 model, bringing xB prices to $US16,000 ($A17,340) for the manual and $US16,950 ($A18,370) for the auto. The revised Scion xB goes on sale in the US later this month – three months before the Rukus hits Australia.

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