Amazing Raize

Toyota’s latest crossover ‘raizes the roof’ on fuel efficiency, SRP delectability

The crowned king of the automotive industry for 20 years in a row has a brand new member of the royal court. And by design and performance, this newest member may very well serve as the “bridge” between the throne and its next generation of adoring fans.

On Feb. 4, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) went to great lengths to present to the motoring masses the Raize, which gave rise to the observation that the auto giant’s newest offering was a not-so-subtle challenge to the affordable compact SUVs from China flooding the local market. The Philippine shipment of the Raize has been born and bred in Indonesia. The Raize 5-seater compact SUV small passenger car has been designed specifically for those who want to experience owning and driving an SUV, but in a compact, easy-to-drive configuration.

Nico Bravante, TMP vice president for product planning, revealed this much during the Raize launch: The Raize is expected to mingle and clink wine glasses with the younger, more active crowd. Raize may attract such individuals yet to own their first horseless carriage, or perhaps be introduced by the more senior members of society to their overachieving young sons or daughters.

The Raize’s design theme follows the “powerful and sophisticated” overall concept, with its exterior showing strong wide front and rear ends, sculpted fender and door character lines.

This Toyota global product is based on a platform built by Daihatsu. Although co-developed by Toyota and Daihatsu, there are design and specification differences between the two. According to the TMP technical team, Raize follows the new global architecture innovations of Toyota in developing new vehicles, such that Raize’s platform and powertrain unit are totally new developments.

As for Daihatsu, Bravante said that aside from being reliable, the brand is “very good” at maximizing small packages. It is the same subsidiary that builds the Wigo.

“With the collaboration, all vehicles are rigorously tested and follow Toyota’s strict quality standards,” he added.

The Raize interior features modern amenities such as digital speedometer and a PH exclusive 9-inch display. Raize can connect occupants to mobility apps through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto running on an 8- or 9-inch display audio with up to 6-speaker system (for the Turbo and G variant). It also has two USB charging ports and a 12-volt accessory outlet.

The compact SUV ranges from the 1.2 E manual transmission to the 1.0 Turbo-charged CVT with four variants. Raize runs on a 3-cylinder, in-line, 12-valve DOHC with VVT-i engine for the Turbo CVT variant, and Dual VVT-i for the G CVT, E CVT, and E MT variants.

Numbing effect of oil price increases

Raize’s entry also comes at an opportune time, when fuel prices have been steadily increasing. The crossover’s relative fuel efficiency may help numb the effects of such increases. The fuel consumption of the Raize has been rated at 18 km/liter (combined city and highway) for the 1-liter turbo; and 19 km/liter (combined city and highway) for the 1.2-liter variant. Jeff Matsuo, TMP vice president for customer service operations, explained that Raize was subjected to an internationally recognized fuel efficiency test: The European Regulation 101 of the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations (UN/ECE), which has uniform provisions concerning the approval of passenger cars equipped with an internal combustion engine with regard to the measurement of the emission of carbon dioxide and fuel consumption, among others.

1.0 like 1.5 like 1.3?

Bravante further explained: “About the concern that (the 1.0 turbo) has a smaller engine displacement, that engine is equivalent to our normal 1.5 engines. Breakthrough engineering has been applied to make it feel and perform like a 1.5 engine.

In terms of consumption, it may be equivalent to the consumption of a 1.3 engine.

“Our customers shouldn’t worry, all our engines have been tested vigorously with the proper weight and power output combination,” he added.

Slew of safety tech

All models come with Vehicle Stability Control and Hill Start Assist, as well as back sonars. The 1.0 Turbo CVT variant comes with a Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, additional front side and curtain airbags, and front clearance sonars. Both the Turbo CVT and G CVT variants come with a back monitor.

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During the press conference, the question of noise and vibration was raised. Bravante clarified: “It’s a given that for a normal 3-cylinder engine, there will already be some vibration because it’s unequal. So the designers created this new engine where they optimized the engine mounts, also to be compatible with the new platform so as to minimize the noise and address the vibration. Of course, there may still be (some vibration) but it’s already much improved compared to the original condition. Thanks also to the new engines and the new platform.

”More ‘youthful’ colors

The Raize is available in three colors: Gray Metallic, Silver Metallic, and Red Finish, which is exclusive for the 1.2 G CVT variant. A two-tone combination is available for the Turbo CVT variant—White Pearl and Black, Turquoise Mica Metallic and Black, Yellow and Black.

These colors weren’t just randomly chosen. The color scheme was presented to the product planning group in Japan after careful market considerations.

“When we were planning the color lineup, there were a lot of options given. But what we prioritized was what the target market would most likely prefer. These are the younger customers. They want more vibrant, lively colors. And that led us to choose our color lineup now,” said Bravante.

Raize or Rush?

The question of the price overlapping between Raize and the 7-seater 1.5-liter older sibling Rush was also brought up. Rush has variants priced from P983,000 to P1.1 million, which overlaps Raize’s higher-end variants.

“Indeed, in terms of pricing they’re similar. But we feel, from the customer profile, the two are slightly different as Rush is (targeted) more towards family, and requires, for example, the seating capacity that Rush provides. Also, in terms of use, Raize is more of a city dweller,” observed Bravante.

Raize starts at P746,000 (1.2 E MT), with higher variants priced at P816,000 (1.2 E CVT), P906,000 (1.2 G CVT) and for the 1.0 Turbo CVT P1.031 million (P1.036 million for the White Pearl).