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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor

All-new Toyota Urban Cruiser bigger and better than before

The new generation of this compact SUV shares a platform with the new Suzuki Grand Vitara.

The previous Toyota Urban Cruiser was introduced in 2021 and spent most of its short model lifespan as top dog in the highly competitive B-SUV segment.

Now the all-new Toyota-built, and Suzuki designed and powered Urban Cruiser will continue its run at the top. No matter what badge engineering is at play or what the naysayers might mumble on about.

This Urban Cruiser, which shares a platform with the new Suzuki Grand Vitara, is not just an updated or enhanced version of the previous model. It is bigger inside and out, while offering added spec and safety kit along with a slightly elevated price tag.

There are only three models available. The entry-level XS manual at R329 400 and the top-spec XR in manual guise for R347 400 and in automatic guise at R369 900.

But I can tell you that the rumours that Toyota will be offering a smaller, cheaper SUV that slots in below this slightly grown-up Urban Cruiser are not going away. So, watch this space.

Bi-tone colour options

Back to the now and the all-new Urban Cruiser. The pics attest to the radical change in styling and there are now seven colours to choose from of which three are new. XR models are available in an additional four bi-tone colours – Luxe Red, Liquid Silver, Mystic Pearl White and Jet Blue, which are all paired with black roofs.

And it might not be immediately apparent, but as stated, this new SUV is wider, taller and longer, while the wheelbase has been increased by 100mm. Ground clearance has been bumped up to 210mm.

Toyota Urban Cruiser
The rear design features ultra-slim C-shaped LED taillights. Picture: Toyota

Moving inside, you will be happy to note that the aesthetically pleasing and easy cleaning mix of fabrics remain. These are now complemented by subtle touches of silver.

In front of you there is a completely re-designed dashboard along with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay enabled. You sound needs are taken care of by two speakers in the XS and four in the XR.

Lots of spec

Bluetooth-connected cell phones are managed via switches on the new small-diameter multi-function steering wheel which, for the first time, has both tilt and telescopic adjustment.

Further convenience features such push-button start with smart entry and rear Park Distance Control are as before but are now joined by a storage box located between the front seat that doubles as an armrest with a slidable lid. The 60/40 split rear seatback also houses a centre-mounted armrest/fold-down table.

Toyota Urban Cruiser
The interior of the all-new Toyota Urban Cruiser. Picture: Toyota

The driver’s seat is now height adjustable and electric-fold mirrors are standard on both grades as are the reverse camera and auto-controlled air conditioning, while finally, the XR model gets cruise control.

What will also be very familiar is the 77kW/138Nm 1.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that is the only offering in the range. The XS is only offered in five-speed manual and the XR offers a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

ALSO READ: Suzuki Fronx’s Taisor(ed) Toyota twin tipped for unveiling soon

Urban Cruiser light on juice

We got to drive both the manual and auto XR. Obviously this compact family mover is never going to be the fastest offering out there, with the auto being my pic thanks to its easy driving nature.

The performance numbers won’t count for much in your world and the top speed is said to be 170 and 175km/h for the manual and auto respectively for what it is worth.

It’s the fuel consumption number that will catch your attention. The claim is 6.1 litres per 100km and during our chilled drive in and around Cape Town, we pretty much lived down there in the low 6s.

The handling and ride quality is as easy-going as the drive, while the fitment of Vehicle Stability Control and Hill Assist Control is now fitted to all models.

XR models gain side and curtain airbags on top of the standard driver and passenger airbags.

Rounding off the safety and security package across the range is ABS with EBD, ISOFIX and an alarm / immobiliser system.

Toyota Urban Cruiser pricing

Urban Cruiser 1.5 XS – R329 400
Urban Cruiser 1.5 XR – R347 400
Urban Cruiser 1.5 XR AT – R369 900

All Urban Cruiser models are sold with a four-year/60 000km service plan and three-year/100 000km warranty.

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