The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza singlehandedly led the sub-4m compact SUV space for a long time. Maruti Suzuki had done their homework and while the Brezza didn’t offer anything class-leading, it had the basics just right. While we initially felt that the lack of a diesel engine will hurt its progress in 2020, this was far from the case. Maruti Suzuki, as part of the agreement, now supplies the Brezza as the Urban Cruiser to Toyota India. The latter launched the car in September and has priced it slightly more than the donor car. Will the Toyota Urban Cruiser meet with the same success like the Glanza did? My review here will shed some light.
The front end is a bit different looking than the Vitara Brezza. Designers from both the companies, this time around, wanted something a bit different than the Baleno-Glanza. I quite liked the grille treatment done by the designers. The bumpers also seem to be different than the ones on the Brezza. Speaking of which, the Maruti Suzuki model too got a facelift at the Auto Expo 2020. The LED projector headlights, as well as fog lamps, portray a youthful look to the Urban Cruiser. The 16-inch alloy wheels look cool as well, however, cleaning them will be a chore as I found out during the shoot. You see, those grooves on the wheel are hard to clean.
From the side as well as rear, the Toyota Urban Cruiser looks nearly the same as the Vitara Brezza. On an off-beat track, thankfully enough, I didn’t do the video shoot of this one. I will have called it the Toyota Vitara Brezza as unwittingly I was telling the photographer the same all the time.
In terms of features, the Urban Cruiser is based on the mid-spec trims of the Brezza. We had the top-spec Premium AT version with us. This variant brings in automatic climate control, dual-tone upholstery, 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system complete with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There are also auto-folding mirrors, cruise control as well as auto headlamps. A 328-litre boot is also a given along with 60:40 split rear seats. There are multiple storage spaces in the cabin though I feel that a few more could have been available on the central console. A 6.4-inch smartphone is something that doesn’t quite fit in the cavity near the gear lever.
The 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine has been known for its reliability. In this naturally aspirated configuration, the engine produces 104hp of power and 138Nm. This engine is coupled to a 4-speed automatic transmission. Yes, I didn’t make a mistake here and the transmission is an old-school 4-speed torque converter. It has the proper Low ratio as well as a mode that restricts it to the second gear in the automatic transmission lever. The engine is a very silent performer both at start-up and speeds below 100kmph. The transmission though, as expected, is a bit relaxed. Make no mistake, at city speeds you won’t have any issues in closing that gap in the traffic. It however is no DSG, or even a modern-day 6-speed torque converter quick.
The ratios are closely stacked and this helps immensely with respect to the fuel economy. In Mumbai traffic, we noticed a fuel efficiency of 13.3kmpl while on the highway, the number rose to 18.4kmpl. This efficiency is because of the secondary Li-ion battery that is placed under the front passenger seat. Because of this, there is idle start-stop, torque assist as well as brake energy recuperation dialed in. It may be noted that at 100kmph, the engine is ticking at nearly 3,000rpm. At speeds above 100kmph, the engine becomes a bit loud and there is also the tyre noise to contend with.
The Toyota Urban Cruiser behaves no differently than the Brezza we are so acclimatised to. The suspension appears to be a tad stiff but then it is tuned in such a fashion that the potholes are smothered without so much as a hiccup. Drive it around a corner and you will not really want to slow down either because of the lower body roll. Even if you want to do high-speed braking or emergency stop, the brakes are quite up to the task. I though wish the steering had a bit more feedback as it is quite light at low speeds and stays the same even at triple-digit jaunts.
There is good all-around visibility and the driver is also seated quite high, making maneuvering the car easy. This being said, there are no dynamic gridlines for the reverse parking camera.
One thing I can assure you is that the Urban Cruiser is one handsome SUV, especially in this dual-tone colour. It has that proper SUV stance, one that continues to attract customers towards it. There is nothing wrong that I can point out against this car. It is only those who will be attracted towards a sunroof, wireless charger or other connected car features might find this SUV a tad lacking. Their viewpoint too is understandable.
Over the Vitara Brezza, the Urban Cruiser offers a higher warranty package as well as peace of mind with respect to the Toyota workmanship. What I feel is that the asking price could have been a bit lower. At Rs 11.30 lakh, ex-showroom for the car you see on these pages, it is a tad steep. Especially when newer cars like the Hyundai Venue as well as Nissan Magnite offer much more value at a lower price tag. If you discount all this and scratch below the surface of the Urban Cruiser, you might be able to spot the reasons why its donor car is still one of the best sellers in the segment. No reason to see why the badge-engineered Toyota Urban Cruiser shouldn’t do good as well.
Photography by Donald Dsouza
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