2010 Toyota Rukus Launched In Australia

Mike Stevens | May 18, 2010

TOYOTA HAS today launched the 2010 Toyota Rukus, an 'urban utility vehicle' that Toyota hopes will return some sorely-needed youthful street cred to the Japanese brand's local image.

“Rukus is set to invade our automotive culture, just as it has done in Japan and the United States,” Toyota Australia boss David Buttner says of the company's latest addition to the local line-up.

“It defies automotive design conventions, particularly the modern trend towards curvy, streamlined shapes.

While its Japanese counterpart utilises the company's small 1.3 and 1.5 litre petrol engines, the Australian-delivered Rukus draws power from a 2.4 litre four-cylinder petrol engine, producing 123kW of power and using 8.8 litres of unleaded petrol per 100km on the combined cycle.

Starting at $27,490, the Rukus is more affordable than the similarly-styled Kia Soul. With the slow-selling Soul, its got a market nearly to itself. The grey-import Nissan Cube, sold in miniscule numbers, is similar in style and appeal but cannot be considered a competitor.


In the 1980s, boxy styling was a trend driven by efficiency and cost at the manufacturing level. In the past decade, some carmakers - and apparently enough buyers - have seen the look as a stylish alternative to the curvaceous flowing lines evident in most other designs.

In Japan, just about all of the main brands offer a model (or five) in the 'mini MPV' box style, from the diminutive 660cc 'kei' cars through to the larger Corolla-sized models like the Rukus - sold in Japan as the Toyota bB.

Here in the west, Toyota has been the biggest advocate of the box style, particularly in the US where it has marketed its bB-based xB through the youth-oriented Scion brand since 2004.

It's the xB version of the platform with which the local Toyota Rukus has the most in common, utilising the same 2AZ-FE engine and wearing more-or-less the same outfit.

From a design perspective, there isn't much to say about the Rukus - it's a box. According to Toyota, the brand's designers have imbued the Rukus with a "simple and unique design based on horizontal and vertical lines rather than the rounded proportions the dominate other models". A box, then.

The almost completely square headlights of the Rukus combine with the bulky front bumper to present an unlikely tough countenance, and the top half of the two-box design is dominated by a large, blacked-out glasshouse.

The relatively non-descript rear-end features a tall tailgate flanked by tail-lamps plain in overall shape but sporty in their internal design.

Available in three distinct equipment grades - Build 1, Build 2 and Build 3 - the standard styling accessories of the Rukus vary with each model.

As crates go, the Rukus is a fairly aerodynamic package, with a relatively impressive 0.32 drag coefficient. Another car with a 0.32 drag factor is the Ferrari California. The slippery 2010 Toyota Prius lists a 0.25cd, while the similarly-boxy Nissan Cube lists a drag coefficient of 0.35.


Inside, the Rukus is dominated by a large, layered dash panel that continues the horizontal lines of the exterior styling, with silver highlights featured.

In the instrument cluster, four prominently-placed round guages offer a contrast to the straight lines of the dash, featuring a digital speedometer, tachometer, fuel level and temperature dials.

The contrasting circular theme continues with the air-conditioning vents and controls, along with the increasingly common 'Smart Start' button in place of a regular key-operated ignition.

Rukus Build 1 features textured grey fabric seats, while the seats of Builds 2 and 3 are trimmed with grey leather accents. The front seats offer 240mm of fore/aft slide adjustment, with the driver's seat featuring six-way movement and and the front pasenger seat getting four-way adjustment.

Build 1 features a three-spoke urethane steering wheel with audio and cruise control switches, a urethane gearshift knob and a six-speaker audio system.

Build 2 adds leather-accented seats, three-spoke premium steering wheel with audio and cruise control switches, premium gearshift knob, climate-control air-conditioning and nine-speaker audio including sub woofer.

Build 2 can be ramped up to Build 3 spec by adding a power tilt-and-slide moonroof.

Although the Rukus shares a 2600mm wheelbase with the Corolla, its squarer dimensions and 40mm longer overhang mean greater storage space. In the back, there's a handy 310 litres to the top of the rear seats, and the total height of the rear cargo area is 855mm.

Drop the 60/40 split-fold rear seats and storage grows to 1331 litres. There's also a storage space beneath the rear floor, shared with the space-saver spare wheel.


Standard features for the Rukus include air-conditioning, alloy wheels, cruise control and keyless entry and start via Toyota's Smart Entry and Smart Start systems.

A six-speaker audio system is standard with the Build 1 spec, while Build 2 features a nine-speaker setup and a sub woofer. Climate-control air-conditioning is also standard with Build 2.

USB and iPod connectivity is standard, as is Bluetooth streaming and hands-free mobile phone connection. A rear-view camera is available as an option.

2010 toyota rukus road test review australia press photos 25

Rated as a 'Top Safety Pick' by the USA's highly-regarded Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, standard safety features for the Rukus include six airbags - driver and front passenger, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.

High-tensile steel features in the outer centre pillars, door hinges, belt line and outer rocker panels, while a reinforced central roof beam and a brace between the dash and A-pillar help to ensure structural integrity in the cabin.

Other structural safety features include a horizontal beam in the floor tunnel, an impact-absorbing pad in the dash to protect legs and ankles, and stiffening bulkheads in the rocker panels.

Standard stability control features include ABS braking with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, traction control and vehicle stability control.


2010 toyota rukus road test review australia press photos 27

Toyota’s 2.4 litre petrol inline four is the sole engine on offer, and is similar to that used by the RAV4. 123kW of power is available from 6000rpm, and 224Nm of torque arrives at 4000rpm.

The inline four runs on 91 RON petrol, and Toyota claims an average fuel economy of 8.8 l/100km.

A four-speed automatic takes power to the front wheels, and there’s no manual transmission option.

The front of the Rukus is suspended on MacPherson struts, while the rear uses a simple beam axle with coil springs and trailing arms. The steering rack is electrically-assisted and features a 10.6 metre turning circle.

Disc brakes are fitted to all four corners, with the front getting ventilated rotors.


The 2010 Toyota Rukus is available now.

  • 2010 Toyota Rukus - Build 1: $27,490
  • 2010 Toyota Rukus - Build 2: $29,990
  • 2010 Toyota Rukus - Build 3: $31,790

Note: prices are Manufacturer's List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

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Filed under: Featured, Toyota, News, scion, 2010 Toyota Rukus, toyota rukus, rukus, toyota bb, scion xb, xb, b&b, toyota rukus australia, rukus australia

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  • auto says,
    5 years ago
    words fail me
  • Nightshader says,
    5 years ago
    1 like
    4 Speed auto with no manual option, I thought this was aimed at the youth market??
    • says,
      5 years ago
      It's something you curise around the city in. Yes it's a car tragetted at youth, but not all are about manual transmissions and twisty roads, it's like people stereotyping all P-Platers as hoons. It's all about how you look.
  • super matthew
    Super Mattthew says,
    5 years ago
    Not at the the ones that actually know anything about or give a crap about manual transmissions.
    • DM says,
      5 years ago
      1 like
      How Toyota can think they can get away with still offering 4 speed autos in 2010 is astonishing.
      VW are offering a 7 speed DSG for under $20k. Why anyone would buy a Toyota today is beyond me.
      • mltzer says,
        5 years ago
        The Impreza still has a 4-speed auto....
        • DM says,
          5 years ago
          1 like
          Subaru are in the same bucket as toyota. They need to seriously update their drivetrains. The liverty still runs a 5 speed auto where teh competition is at 6 speed and some are looking at 8 speed and the WRX still runs a the same 5 speed manual they were running 15 years ago. Not good enough in 2010
  • si1982 says,
    5 years ago
    1 like
    saw one on the road the other day... very unimpressive ... looks like something out of the 80s ...

    i also saw one Nissan Cube (Grey Import) in Melb... though it is also boxy, but looks more stylish than this Rukus!

    Being a Toyota, I dont doubt that this will sell, as most people will look at the practicality of this.

  • says,
    5 years ago
    I'm suprise that there are no reverse camera provide even as an option for something that is normally standard now in Japan.

    The split fold is not totally flat when it is down, and does not have that space saving compartment underneath the back passenger seats which can be found in the Nissan Cube.

    the only plus is really is the engine size and factory backing.
  • Grumps
    Grumps says,
    5 years ago
    1 like
    Yes, the 4 speed auto is a backwards step. The 8.8 fuel consumption would be better with a 5 speed auto or a CVT.

    Not real cheap either, looking at over 30k on the road.
  • bru says,
    5 years ago
    1 like
    oh my god...if they think this will improve their image they have another thing coming.
    what joke...
  • Callous says,
    5 years ago
    1 like
  • The Sicilian
    The Sicilian says,
    5 years ago
    1 like
    "It defies automotive design conventions, particularly the modern trend towards curvy, streamlined shapes"

    Curvy? Streamlined? The things literally a box on wheels!!

    I cannot see this selling in great numbers. Too big for the 'hip' city-dwellers it's aimed at, too outrageous styling for families looking for practicality. It's simply a fashion statement.
    • loungecat says,
      5 years ago
      I don't think you understand the meaning of the word 'defy'. They are not saying that the car is curvy and streamlined, they are saying the opposite, and that this is a deliberate choice.
  • mltzer says,
    5 years ago
    I really dont mind it, with most cars on the road all looking like clones its refreshing to see something different.
  • sammy says,
    5 years ago
    i agree with u guys, fail at the 4 speed auto...thats all im gonna say
  • Lisa Preston says,
    5 years ago
    hahaha,refreshing to see something different....................... Kia Soul copy I would say.
    • mltzer says,
      5 years ago
      actually the Soul is a copy of this, the Rukus has been around for years in Japan and USA... just under another name
      • Wheelnut
        Wheelnut says,
        5 years ago
        Then why didn't Toyota release it in Australia before the Soul was released?
        • mltzer says,
          5 years ago
          I dont know ask them not me. Maybe because they only recently decided to try and change their image in Australia? either way it still dont change the fact the Rukus aka xB, has been around for 6 years. There are many cars that Toyota sell in the USA and Japan that never make it to our roads.
  • says,
    5 years ago
    If Toyota wants to make more money, they shouldn't be finding such weak gim***s, what they really should is make a rear wheel drive Aurion ute
  • says,
    5 years ago
    1 like
    Well I love it . After One week of owning it and clocking up 1905km .Could not be happier and SO is the hard to please male in my life that didn't like it when he saw it. But now is the one that has to tell everyone how good it is and what it can do as well as wants to be behind the wheel all the time !!! bad luck baby.!!! Go play with the new ute you had to have ..lol
  • says,
    5 years ago
    My friend bought one, and reckon he was the first to register it in QLD. Besides buying bigger custom wheels for it, he's stoked with the car. He can't fault it. Well not yet anyways it still has the new car smell until the smell fizzles away. My opinion from someone who's seen it in the flesh, it ain't too bad.
  • Jess says,
    3 years ago
    I'm sorry Toyota but it looks like a I squashed boxy tarago.