Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

New Toyota Rumion: All you need to know

This seven-seater unashamedly shares it looks with the Suzuki Ertiga and is set to take Mzansi by storm.

South Africa’s favourite car brand unveiled the Toyota Rumion this week and it is set to sell like hot cakes.

But where does it fit into Toyota’s already comprehensive portfolio? And what is the Japanese carmaker expectations for it on the South African motoring landscape? Here is your easy guide to get up to speed with the Rumion, pronounced Room-ion.

What is the Rumion?

The Rumion is a seven-seater MPV. It has three rows of seats, of which the second and third row can be folded down partially or in full.

Its biggest feature is its ability to carry seven people. In addition, there is the added advantage of numerous seat configurations to carry cargo in various dimensions.

ALSO READ: The name is Rumion: Toyota prices new Avanza replacement

It can be utilised for both private and commercial use. Base models are geared to carry people for commercial purposes or can even be converted into panel vans for carrying cargo.

Higher specification level options ensure greater levels of comfort which makes the Toyota Rumion also a great choice for everyday private use.

What about the Toyota Avanza?

The Toyota Rumion is the Avanza’s replacement. The two are like-for-like vehicles, but the Rumion offers more modern styling convenience features and more competitive pricing.

The Rumion is 205 mm longer, 75 mm wider and more fuel efficient than the Avanza. It also features additional standard equipment which include 15-inch over 14-inch wheels, air-conditioning, driver’s seat height adjustment and ventilated cup holders.

One of the biggest differences between the Avanza and Rumion is that the Rumion is front-wheel driven and not rear-wheel driven like the Avanza.

Why does it look so familiar?

Because it is. The Toyota Rumion is in essence a rebadged Suzuki Ertiga. It is the third model Toyota has introduced to the local market from its alliance with Suzuki following the Starlet and the Urban Cruiser.

Like in the case of the Starlet and Urban Cruiser, which are in essence a rebadged Suzuki Baleno and Vitara Brezza respectively, the Rumion is mainly differentiated from its Japanese cousin through a redesigned front grille. But that is basically where the differences end, apart from the Toyota badge replacing the Suzuki badge.

New Toyota Rumion
Sans the Toyota badge, the rear facia is unchanged from the Suzuki Ertiga.

The Toyota Rumion also shares the same three trim levels – base, mid and high – with the Suzuki Ertiga. The Ertiga line-up is slightly more affordable and offers a longer manufacturer’s warranty, albeit the Rumion has the backing of a larger dealer network. 

Where does it fit into the Toyota family?

The Rumion falls into Toyota’s B-segment line-up and is aimed at enhancing its small car line-up and strengthen its competitiveness.

Toyota’s other two products in this segment includes the B-hatch Starlet and the B-SUV the Urban Cruiser. The Starlet enjoys a 27% market share since its introduction just over a year ago and the Urban Cruiser a 19% market share.

Who are its competitors?

Apart from the Suzuki Ertiga, which starts at R239 400 compared to the Rumion’s R245 600, the other like-for-like seven-seaters available locally are the Mitsubishi Xpander and the Honda BR-V.

The Rumion’s competitive price – and favoured badge – leaves the Xpander (price from R299 995) and BR-V (from R300 800) on the backfoot in this price sensitive segment.

A-MPV competitors include the Renault Triber and Datsun Go+. These options are less spacious inside taken into consideration their sub-four metre length, but they are still seven-seaters. They are more affordable with pricing for both starting at below R200 000 and going up to just under R230 000.

How much power does the Toyota Rumion have?

The whole Rumion range is powered by a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre petrol engine that produces 77 kW of power and 132 Nm of torque. It is six kilowatts and 11Nm more than the Avanza’s 1.3-litre engine.

The Toyota Rumion’s twist is sent to the front wheels via a of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

Apart from the Ertiga, this proven engine and transmission options also does duty in the Suzuki Jimny, Vitara Brezza and Ciaz, and also in the Toyota Urban Cruiser. Weighing in at 1 150 kg, the Rumion and Ertiga are the heaviest of the lot powered by this powertrain.

New Toyota Rumion
Like the top-spec Ertiga GLX, the Ruminon TX comes standard with imitation wood trim.

You could argue that the engine is underpowered for the prospect of moving seven adults, but it is pretty much par for the course in this segment.

The Honda BR-V (88kW/145Nm) and Mitsubishi Xpander (77kW/141Nm) are also powered by 1.5-litre naturally aspirated engines. The Go+ and Triber is even worst, with the Datsun powered by a 50kW/104Nm 1.2-litre mill and the Renault by a 1.0-litre 50kW/96Nm engine.

How does it drive?

The Toyota Rumion in manually configuration is very easy to drive. It has direct steering, a light clutch and super smooth gearbox. Its turning circle of 10.4 metres make it easy to manoeuvre with the added benefit of parking sensors and reverse camera on the higher trim levels.

Carrying seven adults will be a challenge for the engine, but something it should cope with when kept on the boil with regular downshifting.

What are the trim levels?

The three trims levels are the entry-level S which is only available in manual transmission, the mid spec trim level SX in both manual and automatic and the top spec TX in both transmission options.

The S is largely aimed at commercial use which standard features include: ABS, EBD and BA, dual airbags, Connected guest, tilt adjust steering wheel, electric windows, central locking, remote doors locks and aircon.

Moving up to the SX, you get chrome front grille, body colour and electric side mirrors, rear parking sensors, rear aircon and Bluetooth compatible radio with four speakers.

In addition, the TX gets 15-inch allow wheels, front fog lamps, reverse camera, leather steering wheel, outside temperature meter and smart entry with push start.

How much does the Toyota Rumion cost?

Rumion 1.5 S – R245 600

Rumion 1.5 SX – R273 500

Rumion 1.5 SX AT – R289 200

Rumion 1.5 TX – R301 600

Rumion 1.5 TX AT – R317 200


The Toyota Rumion is a great replacement for the Avanza which despite its age still managed a decent amount of market share in the segment every month. Not only is it more affordable than the Avanza, but also offers greater comfort which will appeal to a wider audience for private use.

Despite the expected banter the “Suzuki” Rumion faces, judging by its siblings that also shares Suzuki genes, its highly likely that it will outsell the Ertiga. South Africans love the Toyota badge and the Rumion will be no different.

For more information on the Toyota Rumion, click here.

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