Editor “Jason” The Bok – Date 31 Oct 2021
The age-old question, which should I choose? Toyota has further upped its game within the affordable compact crossover space with the new Urban Cruiser. Since its introduction to the South African market space, the sales numbers have spoken for themselves. Crossovers are certainly the buzz globally and the introduction of the Indian built Urban Cruiser is proving this point. To find out more, we spent time with the GLX trim Urban Cruiser to see how it compares to its closest counterpart the Suzuki Vitara Brezza and what sets the two apart.
With an almost identical appearance both inside and outside, the product sharing agreement between Toyota and Suzuki is evident throughout this model. The most notable differences feature within the Urban Cruisers exterior detailing, where the front grille design is distinctly more of a Toyota feature. A spattering of design cues set the two apart, but the biggest difference comes down to the vehicles unique warranty and servicing characteristics and perhaps more importantly the customers unique choice as to what brand they favour most.
Our test featured time within range-topping Urban Cruiser 1.5 XR automatic derivative, which additionally features automatic LED headlights with rain-sensing wipers and 16-inch alloy wheels. Standard features of plentiful within XR specification, the Urban Cruiser comes equipped with additional features that you won’t find in the XI and XS derivatives. Those key features include cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 12V sockets, a cooled glovebox and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A reverse-view camera is standard as is the central multimedia screen, which is compatible with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and includes Bluetooth connectivity. Both the Vitara Brezza and Urban Cruiser feature the same colourful tile-based and easy to navigate touchscreen media systems.
What about space? Toyota claims a 328-litre luggage capacity, with a full-size spare wheel located under the boot floor. The rear seats can be folded down in a 60:40 configuration as you’d expect and this being a compact crossover, space is plentiful.
As the name suggests, most time on the road will be spent cruising around either in town or where lighter gravel surfaces. The vehicle handles itself very well and is very comfortable. Power delivery comes in the way of 77 kW and 138 Nm from its 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol-driven motor mated to either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed auto box. I spent time with the automatic equivalent and found it a very comfortable and pleasant drive.
Toyota claims average figures of 6.2 L/100 km and during my few days behind the wheel, I was able to achieve an average of 8.1 L/100 km.
The biggest question which we have received here, is which one should I buy? The Urban Cruiser or Vitara Brezza? To be honest both have their own unique selling points and the biggest difference really comes down to which brand you favour most. It is fair to out that Toyota does have a larger dealer network, something you might find advantageous if you commute in more remote areas and the Urban Cruiser does offer what is perhaps one of its biggest trump cards, a very impressive 3-year/100 000 km warranty and a 3 services/45 000 km service plan, which can be further extended by Toyota at a minimal cost attainable when purchasing the vehicle, a period shorter than that of its Suzuki competitor but one which can be extended to be much longer at a minimal cost. The Urban Cruiser also features a 15 GB mobile hotspot which is available from Toyota to keep those millennials happy when streaming their favourite beats while cruising.
SA pricing for the Urban Cruiser (Time of publishing)
|1.5 XI Manual||R259 100|
|1.5 XS Manual||R277 300|
|1.5 XS Automatic||R299 200|
|1.5 XR Manual||R304 900|
|1.5 XR Automatic||R326 800|