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Motoring: Toyota Urban Cruiser ticks most of the boxes

Toyota Urban Cruiser ticks most of the boxes

THE Toyota Urban Cruiser, which is based on the Grand Vitara, has returned with a bang, featuring additional space and equipment as well as a more attractive visage.

It also offers improved ride quality and a more refined interior. The Urban Cruiser has been designed for those who want a car that is both practical and stylish.

It is a great choice for city dwellers looking for a car that can handle the urban jungle. Suzuki invented it, but Toyota manufactures it in India.

Three front-wheel-drive variations of Suzuki's well-known K15B naturally aspirated 1,5-litre gasoline engine — which produces 77 kW and 138 Nm (just as it did in the previous model)— make up the local lineup.

The design

The most recent Urban Cruiser is stylish but not overly daring in its design. The slanted headlamps, fog lamp housings, and black mesh grille give it the appearance of being a domesticated version of the current-generation Toyota RAV4, yet it has a good appearance because everything is in its proper place.

The beautiful chrome and piano black trim that extend from the headlights to the Toyota symbol in the centre, as well as the brightwork around the fog lamps, give the car a posh image.

The wheel arches are covered with cladding for an outdoors appearance, giving the side profile a solid, functional, and strong appearance.

The double-C-shaped LED rear combination lighting on the Urban Cruiser give it a futuristic and stylish appearance from the back, especially after dark. The aesthetic is flawless; it is a contemporary, well-rounded piece that will only become better with age.

The interior

Its interior is practical, sensible and robust. Space is the name of the game in the new Urban Cruiser, because modern families need lots of it.

While the second row was a little cramped in the previous model, the new Urban Cruiser does not have this issue. The boot is huge too and the seats can fold completely flat.

Moving a large and reasonable heavy equipment is easy with the Urban Cruiser. Of course, it is not a Toyota Hilux Single cab, which I saw the other day carrying 8 loaded drums.

Soft but durable material is used to cover the supporting seats. Sadly, there is no option for the more family-friendly full leather seats, which are especially useful when the youngsters eat in the car.

A reasonable-sized color touchscreen is utilised for infotainment. The system is user-friendly, wireless, and compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Although the sound system is passable, do not anticipate excellent sound quality. Additionally, you can subscribe to Toyota's optional on-board Wi-Fi telematics system that can be topped off via the MyToyota app. 

Although there is only one USB port up front, a portable USB hub can be plugged.

It only takes a few switches to change the (automatic) air conditioning and temperature settings. The layout is logical overall, and there are satellite buttons and a voice control button on the steering wheel. The construction appears to be strong and resistant to naughty children's fingers.


Whatever surface you choose, the Urban Cruiser will gladly comply. On paved and dust roads, it absolutely shines! It is not a 4x4 SUV so do not abuse it.

The driving posture is cozy, and there is excellent view outside. Despite not having a leather covering, the steering wheel does not feel cheap. A convenient central armrest cubby is available for storing your arm or smaller objects like keys.

However, the 4-speed automatic variant would not be my top pick. Suzuki's four-speed automatic gearbox, which is noisy when you accelerate, must be used.

Fortunately, there is an overdrive button next to the automatic gear selector that may be activated to cause the transmission to shift into the overdrive gear, which can operate at a lower RPM and hence consume less gasoline and produce less noise.

Although the 1,5-litre, 77 kW engine will not exactly make you smile, it's adequate for the daily journey to work and school. The Urban Cruiser did not have any trouble keeping up with other vehicles on the roads even when loaded.

Its handling is completely perfect for corrugated dirt and gravel roads, as well as fishpond potholes you find in Zimbabwe.

It appears to have been constructed for subpar conditions, such as those seen in India, which is where it was actually constructed.

Additionally, you can be guaranteed to maintain stability and surefooted wherever you go thanks to safety measures like traction and stability control (which may be turned off if necessary). Another piece of good news is it comes with a full-size steel spare wheel and not the detested biscuit tyre.

Fuel economy

Some media colleagues claim using as little as 6,1 litres per 100 kilometres. I achieved substantially higher statistics in the region of upper 7s and even the early 8s. This is premised on a number of variables, such as driving styles, terrain and weather among others.

I have also driven the Suzuki Grand Vitara manual. Despite sharing most of the same components with the Urban Cruiser, the Grand Vitara is much more fuel-efficient and enjoyable to drive.

Therefore, choose the manual if you are interested in the Urban Cruiser. According to an average consumption rate of 6,1 litres per 100 km, the claimed range for both the manual and automatic is 738 km.

However, I do not believe this to be true, at least not for the automatic type.


This is where the Urban Cruiser excels; in addition to the standard suspects like ABS, brake assist, hill-start assist, Isofix, daytime running lamps, park distance control, and a rearview camera, it also gains from Suzuki's HEARTECT platform and ESP (or VSC), which prevents skidding and loss of control.

Will you frequently be carrying passengers in the back? Simply make sure to purchase the Xr model since the Xs only has two airbags while the Xr versions have six. (There are six airbags total on the Grand Vitara.)


The Suzuki Grand Vitara, of course, but also the Hyundai Venue, Volkswagen T-Cross, Kia Sonet, and others pose serious rivals to the Urban Cruiser.

However, only the Grand Vitara can truly compare in terms of space.

My decision

The Urban Cruiser (and the Suzuki Grand Vitara) are uncommon vehicles that check off as many boxes as they do. It is ideal for active couples, busy parents, retirees, inexperienced drivers, teenagers, and those looking to carry a bit of luggage on trips but cannot afford SUVs.

It might not be the sprightliest car, but it is definitely one of the most practical value for money cars that money can buy in its segment right now.


0-100km/h: 11.7 secs

Capacity: 1.5l

Emissions: 146g/km

Fuel consumption: 6.1l/100km (claimed), 6.4l/100km (as tested)

Power: 77kW

Top speed: 170km/h

Torque: 138Nm

Type: Five-speed manual

Type: Front-wheel drive

  • andrew@muzamhindo.com.

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