Toyota’s baby 4×4 – The Toyota Urban Cruiser – hits UK showrooms today after being unveiled at the Paris Motor Show last year.
Looking like a Toyota Land Cruiser that’s been through a boil wash, the Urban Cruiser is designed to take sales from buyers of super minis looking for something a bit different. It’s also looking to take sales from drivers of conventional sized 4x4s who love the high driving position, but are looking for something a little more economical in the current climate.
So how does the Urban Cruiser stack up? Well, I’m afraid not all that well. It is well made (which should go without saying for a Toyota), and the interior is nicely put together, but rather bland for this segment. Compare it to a more traditional super mini, like the new Ford KA, and you can see that Toyota have been so unadventurous with the Urban Cruiser’s interior that it’s actually ended up being very boring and grey.
The exterior looks nicely chunky and does stand out as being a bit more interesting than the interior. Nice enough to drive, with decent handling, the Urban Cruiser does suffer from a particularly firm ride. Which if this car is aimed at the urban environment, with its huge pot-holes, there are going to some severely sore backs and bums around.
The Toyota Urban Cruiser comes in just one trim level, but a choice of two engines. The petrol is a 1.3 litre, 100bhp lump with stop-start and 2WD, and the diesel is a 1. litre with 4WD, 89bhp and a slightly higher ride height. Both engines nudge in to the 130g/km bracket. Although the diesel unit is slightly less powerful it offers the best city driving with its extra torque.
The Urban Cruiser is well equipped, offering climate control, keyless entry, 16″ alloys and Bluetooth as standard. But all this kit comes at a price – £14,500 for the petrol engined Toyota Urban Cruiser Dual VVT-i 2WD, and £16,450 for the Toyota Urban Cruiser 1.4 D-4D AWD. Which is an awful lot of money for a jacked-up super mini.
Knock £2,000 off the price and do something about the interior and firm ride, and Toyota could have had a winner on their hands with the Urban Cruiser. But at this price I can’t see it being a big success.