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TOYOTA URBAN CRUISER

When the Toyota Urban Cruiser landed on our shores in 2020, it was a resounding success for SA’s number-one automaker. Outstanding sales made the newcomer one of the best-selling cars in the B-SUV segment. Despite its winning formula, the Urban Cruiser has been replaced with an all-new car barely three years later.

The new Urban Cruiser comes with revised aesthetics which set it apart from the model it replaces. The first notable change would be the increased dimensions, with the new Urban Cruiser being taller, wider, and longer. 

Up front, there are new headlights with slim daytime running lights (DRL), which double as turn indicators, a redesigned grille and lower air dams, and a clamshell bonnet. The rear shows off redesigned LED taillights and a revised bumper. Two trims are available: base model Xs and range-topping Xr. While the new Urban Cruiser now sports 17” wheels, the Xs runs on steel wheels with plastic wheel covers, while the Xr boasts dark alloys. 

IMPROVED CABIN

As a product of Toyota’s global partnership with Suzuki, the Urban Cruiser’s interior is also extensively revised. The immediate change would be to the overall fit and finish of the cabin. Everything feels more solid than in the outgoing model, and using soft-touch materials helps elevate the cabin’s overall feel. We still get cloth seats that are good for the price bracket, while silver accents on the dash add to the cabin’s ambience.

Tech is by way of a 7” touchscreen infotainment system which comes complete with smartphone connectivity. Other niceties include automatic climate control, armrests for drivers and passengers and cruise control.

Overall cabin practicality has been increased, with rear legroom being a welcome improvement thanks to the 370 mm longer body. The luggage space is also decent at 353 litres.

POWERTRAIN AND DRIVING IMPRESSIONS

The only unchanged aspect of the new Urban Cruiser would be its 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit that produces 77 kW of power and 138 Nm of torque. The engine is paired with a four-speed automatic for the Xs model, while the Xr can either be had with the same automatic as its stablemate or a five-speed manual transmission.

As the car’s name suggests, the powertrain is good at urban cruising, with adequate power delivery for city driving. On the open road, however, the naturally aspirated engine and automatic gearbox combination feels less energetic than the previous Urban Cruiser, likely due to the larger, heavier body. Accelerating at speed is a strained affair, although this can be bypassed with the old-school ‘overdrive’ button that locks the gearbox in third for improved torque availability. Conversely, the manual could have used a sixth gear, as the revs run too high at highway speeds. These limitations will be more pronounced with passengers and luggage on board, or at higher altitudes where the naturally aspirated engine could run out of breath.

The upside is its fuel consumption, which is stated as 6.1 l/100 km for all three models.

Overall, the new Urban Cruiser is easy to drive and has a compliant ride that’s well-suited to local road conditions. The cabin is also insulated quite well for the segment, though we were aware of buffeting from the side mirrors at highway speed. 

LAST WORD

The new Urban Cruiser enhances most of what made the first-generation model so popular. It is more practical and has a better cabin than its predecessor. And while the price has been slightly increased (to a starting point of R329,400), it has not strayed so far north as to ruin the budget-friendly attributes that helped make the original a winner in its segment.

Toyota Urban CruiserENGINEPOWER
(kW @ r/min)
TORQUE
(Nm @ r/min)
TOP SPEED
(km/h)
0-100 KM/H
(seconds)
FUEL
(l/100 km)
PRICE
Toyota Urban Cruiser 1.5 XSIn-line 4-cyl; 1,462 cc turbo77 @ 6,000138 @ 4,4001705.46.1R329,400
Toyota Urban Cruiser 1.5 XR manualIn-line 4-cyl; 1,462 cc turbo77 @ 6,000138 @ 4,4001705.46.1R347,400
Toyota Urban Cruiser 1.5 XR autoIn-line 4-cyl; 1,462 cc turbo77 @ 6,000138 @ 4,4001655.46.1R369,900

Report by BRYAN KAYAVHU | Images ©  TOYOTA SOUTH AFRICA

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