Which will it be? Toyota or Suzuki?

Toyota has added the Urban Cruiser to its SA lineup, a rebadged compact crossover.

This is the Urban Cruiser’s second local debut in just over a month, Suzuki having launched the vehicle in February as the Vitara Brezza.
As with the Starlet Toyota launched last year, the Urban Cruiser forms part of a Toyota and Suzuki share agreement, with only a few minor cosmetic aspects setting the two crossovers apart.

To distinguish the Urban Cruiser from the Vitara Brezza, Toyota fitted the crossover with a grill resembling that of Toyota’s Fortuner, but that is about it as far as external differences go, because even the alloy wheels on the high-spec models are the same as those used by Suzuki.

Inside, Toyota fitted a new steering wheel.

Three trim levels

While Suzuki offers only two trim levels in the Vitara Brezza, Toyota went one step further and is giving its clients three options:

The entry-level Urban Cruiser 1.5 Xi comes with manual air conditioning, keyless entry, electric windows and mirrors, a touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, a height-adjustable multi-function steering wheel, rear park-distance control, fixed folding rear seat, dual front airbags, ABS brakes and 16-inch covered steel wheels.

The 1.5 XS derivative adds automatic climate control, reverse camera, height-adjustment for the front seat, rear window wiper, split-folding rear seat, black roof rails and 16-inch alloy wheels over what the base model comes equipped with.

Over and above all that, the top-spec 1.5 XR version adds cruise control, light and rain sensors, front armrests, an electro chromatic rearview mirror and a cooled glovebox.

On the outside, the range-topper is distinguished by silver roof rails and is also the only model to be available with a two-tone exterior paint scheme.

The Urban Cruiser utilises Suzuki’s faithful 1.5-litre normally aspirated petrol engine, credited with 77kW at 6 000rpm and 138Nm from 4 400 revs.

In the base Xi model this engine is coupled to a five-speed manual transmission, while XSes and XRs are available either with the same five-speed manual box or a four-speed automatic unit.

Toyota or Suzuki?

So which one do you buy if the Vitara Brezza and the Urban Cruiser are essentially the same vehicles besides their badges?

Well, Suzuki has priced its Brezza lineup below that of Toyota and also offer better aftersales care; a five-year/200 000km warranty and four-year/60 000km service plan compared to the three-year/100 000km warranty and three services over three years valid until 45 000km as per Toyota’s way of doing things.

That means the Vitara Brezza is the better deal, but only if you are living in a town or city with a Suzuki dealership.

While the brand has built tremendously on its dealer network since it entered South Africa 13 years ago, its 71 dealerships are not nearly as widespread as Toyota’s almost 200 outlets, and therefore people not living close to a Suzuki outlet will be better off buying the Urban Cruiser.

The bigger Toyota range also offers more flexibility.

Here is the Urban Cruiser range’s pricing:
• 1.5 Xi manual – R247 900
• 1.5 Xs manual – R267 800
• 1.5 Xs auto – R289 000
• 1.5 XR manual – R294 500
• 1.5 XR auto – R315 700.

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