Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder review

We head to Toyota’s India home city in Bangalore to drive the newest B-segment SUV contender, with the likes of the Hyundai Creta in its sights. Can a hybrid really beat a diesel SUV on the sales charts? We hop in the driver’s seat to find out.

  • Will take on the Hyundai Creta and the Kia Seltos.
  • Uses a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol in tandem with an 80bhp electric motor.
  • Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder will give a 900+km range from its 45-litre fuel tank.
  • Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder prices are likely to be announced in the last week of August.

Hybrids are here to stay, and with more and more mass market petrol-electric hybrid vehicles entering the fray every year, first movers who price it right have a lot to gain.

Two such sister cars will enter the SUV B-segment this year, the Toyota Hyryder and its Maruti-Suzuki counterpart. If 1000km of a 45-litre tank of petrol is something that you think would make you reconsider your B-segment buying decision, read on, as we flew to Bangalore to hop in the driver’s seat and test out one of 2022’s most awaited cars out on the open road.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder review: Design

Under the skin, the Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder may be no different from its sister car from the Maruti Suzuki garage, but in the flesh, you’d be hard-pressed to tell if they are related. The Hyryder has its own unique presence and lines up really well with Toyota’s global SUV design philosophy. At the front, you’ve got sharp slim split LED headlamps that are divided by a chrome slat that runs along the length of the fascia.

The headlamps also double up as indicators, which is a smart use of LED versatility and looks pretty cool too. As a tip of the hat to the car’s part electric DNA, the conventional grille has been swapped out for a flat plate with carbon-fibre-like texturing, although if you look closely vents for the motor have been neatly integrated below the plate. The sinewy bumper houses LED fog lamps with chrome accents and a massive hexagonal design grin that really adds character to the front end of the car.

The hood also gets two prominent shut lines on the metal that add to the muscular SUV design ethos. In profile, the most significant design element in the prominent shoulder line makes the Hyryder appear wider than it actually is, adding to its beefy SUV credentials. Of course, there’s also the plastic cladding on the running channels at the bottom that reinforces that ethos. Tying the profile together are sharp-looking 17-inch dual alloy wheels wrapped in grippy Apollo Aptera rubber. Relative to the otherwise sedate profile, the rear end of the Hyryder is busy.

Split LED taillamps are housed in clear lenses with a rounded boomerang design that really stands out. Like most Toyota SUVs, the Hyryder also gets a chrome bar that connects both lights. Like at the front, the bumper is sinewy and integrates a position light in a short recess at the extremities. In all, the Hyryder has the looks to stand out even in a segment full to the brim with strong, unique-looking SUVs and that is saying something.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder review: Cabin and features

Hop inside the cabin and the first thing you are going to notice is that the Hyryder isn’t as plush as some of the other SUVs in the segment. The door panels use quite a bit of hard plastics as does the top of the dash and most of the centre console. Not to say that they feel flimsy but with respect to the competition that Toyota has in its sights, it does seem to lose some ground. Of course, all the on-paper features are very much there. At the centre, a large touchscreen infotainment system comes with Android Auto and Apple Car Play. Both connect wirelessly.

There’s also a HUD that displays most of the critical MID data that drastically reduces eyes-off time and adds to the cabin’s tech repertoire. Directly underneath is a wireless charging dock that works well for a bit but then deactivates when the device eventually heats up. The front seats are ventilated with three levels of cooling, although it is worth noting that, like the Skodas, the Toyota’s seat ventilation system is also pretty noisy.

The seats are trimmed in dual-tone brown and black leatherette that goes with the trim on the door panels, and overall feel quite premium to the touch. The steering is adjustable for reach and rake, although I found the button layout on the wheel quite unintuitive and takes a little bit of a learning curve to get used to. The seats are manually adjustable and this seems like a big miss for a segment that seems to be offering more and more premium features.

Move to the second row and the first thing you are going to notice is just how much knee room Toyota has managed to pack into the Hyryder. This is largely thanks to the fact that the Hyryder and its sister will be the longest SUVs in the segment and it’s good to see that the brand has managed to add value to the cabin, maximising the use of its structure.

That said, where the Toyota loses out is in terms of headroom, which barely managed a few millimetres of clearance above my head. I’m just about 6 feet tall, even taller occupants may find the second row very cramped because of this. It’s also worth noting that the Hyryder isn’t a very wide SUV and that means that seating three in the second row is going to be a little bit of a squeeze.

That said you do get AC vents without controls for the second row and two fast charging ports. There’s a panoramic two-fold sunroof that is a strong-hybrid-only feature on the Hyryder but does really add to the premium appeal of the cabin.

In terms of safety, the Hyryder gets 6 airbags across the range, coming in at par with the competition.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder review: Engine, drive-train and performance

The Hyryder will come with two drive train options, a 4-cylinder 1.5-litre K-series petrol that’s been developed by Maruti-Suzuki, and a 3-cylinder petrol hybrid drivetrain built on Toyota’s TNGA architecture. Naturally, Toyota was keen on showcasing their contribution to the technology on Hyryder, and that meant all the test cars on offer featured the hybrid power train that will be the primary scope of this review. This is Toyota’s latest hybrid powertrain globally and has been adapted for Maruti-Suzuki’s Heartect platform specifically for this car.

The 1.5 litre 3-pot petrol makes about 91bhp and 122Nm of torque and runs in tandem with an 80bhp electric motor that makes about 141Nm of peak torque. Now, while the output doesn’t really add up, when running in tandem the system produces a peak output of about 115bhp. It’s mated to an e-CVT. While the performance overall isn’t lacklustre, this system was designed to maximise efficiency, and that it does with aplomb! In total, the system tries to maximise the use of the ICE motor to charge the.76kWh battery, while the electric motor does most of the driving, in city conditions and especially in traffic.

Toyota says the bias is 60:40 towards the electric motor. So little is the input of the ICE motor that the CVT actually comes with a B- (in addition to the PNRD standard) that runs the combustion motor for engine braking, especially for downhill driving, since the standard mode has the conventional engine off at most times.

What is really cool is that the electric architecture can run the air-conditioning, the infotainment, the lights and even the vacuum boosters for the brakes without ever really needing to turn to the lead-acid ignition battery for support.

If all this was gibberish to you, this is what it means. It means that this Creta-sized premium SUV, returns more than 20kmpl consistently even if 80% of your driving is commuting to work in bumper-to-bumper traffic. A running cost that beats a petrol micro-hatch, and beats even the diesel-driven competition by a long shot. And best of all? The lithium-ion battery is warrantied for 8 years, after which it is not likely to be as expensive or difficult to replace as an EV battery.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder review: Ride and handling

Another very interesting aspect of this car is the ride and handling. Unlike most Toyotas that tend to focus on comfort as opposed to agility, the suspension is set stiff. Add that to a flex-free chassis and steering wheel that weighs up nicely feeding inputs precisely to the wheels, and you have an SUV that loves corners. In the twisties the Hyryder handles like it was born to it, and inspires enough confidence for you to push the envelope a little more than you should in a 4,365mm long SUV.

This also means that the Toyota isn’t great on bad roads and sharp bumps do make their way to the cabin, but it’s not something that I would call a deal breaker. Especially since slowing down and then picking up pace again doesn’t harm efficiency like it would in a conventionally powered car. Interestingly, the Hyryder also skips the trend of low-resistance tyres. You get meaty 215-section tyres from Apollo that have really good grip, adding to the overall driving experience.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder review: Verdict

There’s no denying that the Hyryder has a unique value offering for the b-segment that should really help it stand out. There are lots to love, and while it’s apparent that some corners have been cut to meet price expectations, a lot will depend on how well Toyota is able to position it.

If they do get the price right, with everything on offer and the exceptional running costs, it does have the potential to take a significant chunk out of one of India’s most hotly contested segments. Of course, there is a sister car to follow closely after the launch of this one, so how that plays out remains to be seen!

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.