• The Toyota Urban Cruiser is based on the Suzuki Vitara Brezza.
• Pricing starts from R247 900.
• The range is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine that delivers 77kW and 138Nm.
• For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24.
The Toyota Urban Cruiser is a fine example of a sub-compact SUV or, more accurately, a compact crossover. It is also very popular.
Toyota thought they would sell around 640 cars a month but are managing just under a thousand every month since the launch, which is three times more than the Suzuki Brezza on which it is based.
The baby Cruiser is meant for urban driving, feels nippy in town, and gets up to the legal limit on the highway without any fanfare, but I must say a little wind noise.
The normally aspirated 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine puts out 77kW and 138Nm through either a five-speed manual or a four-speed auto box using around 6.5-litres/100km of fuel if driven with a lightish foot. It deals with gravel and good jeep tracks quite well due to its 198mm ground clearance but only has front-wheel drive, so don't expect too much.
Luxury items included in the standard package include an automatic dimming rearview mirror and rain-sensing wipers, aircon, park distance control, and a touchscreen infotainment system with USB, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the Toyota Connect telematics system, which includes an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot and 15GB of data through which you can book a service and access vehicle information.
The Xi models add auto climate control, a reversing camera and cosmetic items, to which the XR adds LED fog lamps, automatic headlights, cruise control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, dual 12-volt power outlets, front armrest, leather steering wheel, a cooled glovebox, and two tweeter speakers. Quite swanky. The seats are comfortable, visibility is good, and everything works for me.
Safety is quite good with all the basic kit and a four-star rating.
I found the Urban Cruiser to be a very competent small car with adequate space for four adults, a usable boot that can be expanded by folding the seats almost flat and pleasant road manners. Great for a family with small children or empty nesters with places to go.
The range starts at R247 900 for the 1.5 Xi manual, R267 800 for the Xs manual, R289 000 for the Xs automatic, while the Xr models are R25 000 more than the respective Xs models. Personally, I think the extra R25 000 for the Xr specification will be money well spent.
Standard is a three-year or 100 000km warranty and three services or 45 000km service plan.
The competition is the nearly identical Suzuki Brezza, but includes the Ford Ecosport, Haval H1, Volkswagen T-Cross, Mahindra XUV300 and Renault Duster.
This article was first published in the District Mail Community Newspaper.