Toyota re-entered the hatchback market with Toyota Urban Cruiser

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Toyota re-entered the hatchback market with Toyota Urban Cruiser

In 2019, with the Glanza, a rebadged Maruti Baleno, Toyota re-entered the hatchback market. Toyota has taken it somewhat further with the facelifted Maruti Brezza, which it calls the Urban Cruiser, to join the compact SUV space.

To give it a separate name quite cleverly, Toyota has revamped the front of the Urban Cruiser. While the headlamps and bonnet are shared with the Vitara Brezza, the front grille looks like it was taken from a Fortuner, rendering it unmistakably a Toyota by the arrangement of its fog lamp housings in the bumper. And sporting the ‘Spunky Blue’ paint tone, this Toyota looks like a stunning SUV.

Its boxy side profile is similar to the Maruti, and except for their respective brand logos on the wheel hub caps, it is difficult to tell them apart. Logos aside, Urban Cruiser is read by the chrome bar above the number plate housing, and even the cladding on the bumper is different.

The Urban Cruiser interiors are similar to the Brezza’s; the only difference here is the colour of the bench and the cloth inserts on the door pads, which are brown in color relative to the gray of the Brezza. The front seats are spacious and spot-on for ergonomics. With multiple storage spaces, the architecture is realistic. The dashboard-style, though, seems a little dated. With adequate knee and headroom, rear space is fine, even for tall passengers. The boot is very large at 328 litres and the rear seat can be folded to hold more cargo.

Specifications

Cost (ex-showroom, Delhi) 8.40-11.30 lakh
3995/1790/1640mm L/W/H
2500mm Wheelbase
328 litres of boot size
1115-1150kg Kerb Weight
1462cc engine, four-cylinder, diesel engine*
105hp of power at 6000rpm
138Nm of torque at 4400rpm
5-speed MT/ 4-speed AT gearbox
* Engine gets mild-hybrid setup with automatic option of gearbox

The Toyota comes only in higher trims and has facilities such as automatic LED headlamps, 16-inch wheels, LED fog lights, 7-inch Android and Apple networking touchscreen, and climate control. On the subject of safety, in the Global NCAP crash test, while the Brezza has a 4-star safety grade, the same does not apply to the Urban Cruiser.

Because of its greater engine size, the Urban Cruiser is powered by a 1.5-liter diesel, four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine, shared with the Brezza, which does not count for sub-four-meter tax sops. Yet when it comes to on-tap reactions, this petrol engine holds a distinct edge relative to its lower capacity turbo petrol rivals. It looks pretty zippy around town and does really well with its commuting duties.

To add to the simplicity of driving, the light, well-judged clutch, the quiet 5-speed gearbox, and light steering.

The output of the mid-range is very flat, and the powerful boost normally felt in a turbo-petrol SUV will miss you. The drivability, as well as its highway results, is very respectable with its quick gearing and crisp throttle responses, though.

The Urban Cruiser is neck and neck with the more powerful 120hp Hyundai Venue turbo in a sprint to 100kph, and it is much faster than the 20-80kph Hyundai in third gear by a full second. This petrol engine is quiet and vibration-free, but it is reasonably noticeable when cruising at 100kph in fifth gear, as it spins at 3,000rpm and works even faster than rivals with six gears. The handling is therefore extremely predictable. However, the steering sounds a little too light for keen drivers and is not as sharp or precise as the Ford Ecosport or the Tata Nexon.

The Toyota Urban Cruiser, priced about $5,000 – $15,000 over a similar Vitara Brezza, does not have a price advantage over the Maruti. However, prospective customers can see reliability and greater service experience in their longer three-year/1.00,000 kilometer standard warranty compared to the two-year/40,000-kilometer span of Maruti. The lure of the Toyota badge will also be there; spacious and convenient interiors, user-friendly package, and the good ride mean that this is one small SUV for which you can’t go wrong.

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