Urban Cruiser: subcompact with rugged
A few years ago, RAV4 was the small
Toyota SUV. Compact as it was, it could fit very well
in cities and suburbs.
as front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
Now that the smaller, subcompact
SUV and crossover segment is rising with pretenders
ranging from those looking more like baby SUVs to
others closer to cubic minivans, the world's largest
carmaker is introducing to Europe its new, Yaris-based
Urban Cruiser (next month, prices to be checked
depending on your market), to face first its most
direct competitors: the new Kia
Soul and Nissan
Of course, there is also the
Daihatsu Materia (Daihatsu is part of the Toyota
group), which is also based on the same Yaris
platform, along with the other Urban Cruiser brothers,
the Toyota Ist (in Japan) and the Scion xD (in the
seats with thin profile to improve
rear passenger legroom.
With this "genealogy" in
mind, Urban Cruiser fits neatly in Toyota's European
line-up as another variation on the Yaris theme, under
the RAV4 which can now claim to be a big brother to a
smaller SUV/crossover sibling.
Urban Cruiser joins a rapidly
growing tribe of funny, yet practical subcompact,
B-segment cars with practical body size in cities,
better exploited interior space, limited fuel
consumption and emissions, all in a cheaper SUV-look
package. It is available with a 1.33-litre
Dual VVT-i petrol engine with Stop & Start
technology, or a 1.4-litre
D-4D diesel engine.
An all-wheel drive option is
available with the 1.4-litre D-4D diesel engine, for
those who face occasional snow or slippery conditions.
It should represent about 30 per cent of Toyota's
full-year sales target of 25,000+ Urban Cruiser for
Behind its looks of a rugged,
all-road vehicle, the subcompact urban hatchback
offers space for five passengers in a body that is
3930mm long, 1725mm wide and 1525mm tall (1540mm when
equipped with AWD), with a relatively long wheelbase
of 2460mm (compared to the overall length of course).
To give it tougher traits,
underbody components including the front bumper
underguard, side rocker panel mouldings and rear
bumper underguard are blacked-out. They can be ordered
with a body kit that encompasses the entire underbody.
The profile shows prominent wheel
arches, broad shoulder surfaces, deep door panels with
large, bodywork coloured door mirrors.
Rear combination lamps, with
integrated fog lamps, feature red and white outer
lenses, with an LED stop lamp in the tailgate trim.
Parallel to its rugged look, the
Urban Cruiser has a reasonable drag coefficient of Cd
0.315, thanks to the airflow management, especially
over the ‘pagoda’ roof and rear spoiler, as well
as the optimisation of the angle of roof sides.
The interior was designed by Toyota’s
ED2 European Design Studio, with rather bold dashboard
lines meeting on both sides a concave door trim . The
speedometer and tachometer are combined in a
concentric circle behind a smoked glass plate with a
The ‘floating’ centre cluster
is finished in metallic silver finish, with the front
console and door switch panels. A Gear Shift Indicator
recommends optimum gear-shifting for better fuel
efficiency and minimum CO2 emissions.
and tachometer: combined in a
The short front and rear overhangs
(785 mm and 685 mm) enhance interior space, and the
boot space capacity of 314 litres may be increased to
749 litres with the rear seats folded down.
The front seats have a thin profile
to improve rear passenger leg room.
Two types of rear seats are
available, both with a folding mechanism: the
front-wheel drive version has a 60:40 split seat with
slide, recline and tilt-down functions, while the AWD
one has a 60:40 split seat with recline and
space capacity of 314 litres may be
increased to 749 litres.
Storage is available in lower and
upper glove box compartments, front and rear door
pockets, a rear centre bottle holder, a utility box
next to the hand brake, a front driver’s side
utility box, twin front centre cup holders and a front
passenger’s side cup holder located in front of the
air vent to cool its liquid content in hot weather.
The Urban Cruiser is available with
a 1.33-litre Dual VVT-i petrol engine with Stop &
Start technology or a 1.4-litre D-4D diesel engine.
Besides the new six-speed manual transmission (with a
wide sixth gear ratio of 0.743 with the petrol engine
and 0.619 with the diesel one - more details in the specifications
page), both engines benefit from the Toyota
Optimal Drive technology, which helps optimise
performance while reducing fuel consumption and
emissions by focusing on the reduction of engine
weight and mechanical losses, with the maximisation of
The 1.33-litre Dual VVT-i engine
generates 74kW/101 DIN hp (99 bhp) with maximum
torque of 132 Nm at 3800 rpm, a combined fuel
consumption of 5.5 litres/100km (equivalent to 51.3
UK mpg, 42.7 US mpg, or 18.18 km / litre) and CO2
emissions of 129g/km.
Gear Shift Indicator recommends
The engine has a small bore
(72.5mm) and long stroke (80.5mm), with a high
compression ratio of 11.5:1. The Variable Valve
Timing-intelligent (Dual VVT-i) system helps boost
response levels across the rev range by varying the
air-fuel intake and exhaust valve timing to
suit driving conditions. It also improves torque at
low and medium engine speeds while reducing emissions
and fuel consumption.
The 1.33-litre petrol engine is
only available with front-wheel drive.
The new Stop & Start system
(also in the iQ
133) automatically switches off the petrol engine
when the vehicle is stopped, if the gearshift is in
neutral position and the clutch pedal is released. The
engine doesn't stop unless the desired cabin
temperature has been reached. The air conditioner can
switch then to “ECO-run loading”, allowing the
engine to automatically stop. It will automatically
restart in the event of low battery charge, or if the
vehicle begins to move.
According to Toyota measurements,
the system reduces fuel consumption and CO2
emissions in urban driving conditions by up to 4%. It
features a permanently engaged starter motor gear
mechanism for reduced noise and faster restart.
The revised 1.4-litre D-4D
intercooled turbodiesel engine is available with
either front-wheel drive or AWD. It features common
rail, piezo-electric direct injection technology with
standard Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF).
Thanks to the high injection
pressure of 160 MPa, the piezo-electric injectors can
supply larger, more precise volumes of diesel at twice
the speed of conventional fuel injectors, with
multiple injections per combustion cycle, optimising
the combustion process for better performance, lower
fuel consumption and reduced emissions.
The diesel unit generates 66kW/90
DIN hp (89bhp) and maximum torque of 205 Nm at
Front wheel drive versions return
fuel consumption figures of 4.5l/100km (equivalent
to 62.8 UK mpg, 52.3 US mpg, or 22.2 km / litre)
and CO2 emissions of 118g/km.
The AWD version returns fuel
consumption figures of 4.9l/100km (equivalent to
57.6 UK mpg, 48 US mpg, or 20.4 km / litre), and
CO2 emissions of 130g/km.
Available with the 1.4-litre D-4D
diesel, the Active Torque Control AWD distributes
torque from 100:0 (front wheels only) to 50:50 front
to rear, depending on driving dynamics and road
conditions, thanks to an electronically controlled
coupling placed in front of the rear differential.
distributes torque from 100:0 to 50:50
front to rear.
Toyota explains that when
accelerating or starting off on a low-grip surface,
torque is provided to all four wheels for better
acceleration with minimal loss of traction. In low
speed cornering, torque distribution to the rear
wheels is reduced to avoid tight corner braking. When
braking, the electronically controlled coupling is
disengaged to optimize ABS control. To reduce fuel
consumption in normal cruising conditions, the car
runs as a front-wheel drive, with the torque
apportioned to the rear wheels only when necessary.
Although fully automated, a switch
near the hand break allows the driver to lock the
Active Torque Control AWD system and improve traction
in mud or snow. When locked, the system distributes
maximum torque to the rear wheels (50:50 front/rear).
When vehicle speed exceeds 40 km/h, “Lock mode” is
released and switched to “Auto mode”
At the front, Urban Cruiser
features a compact, L-arm type MacPherson strut
suspension system. At the rear, it gets a torsion beam
with integral anti-roll bar, for its compact,
lightweight design and for its minimal intrusion into
the load space.
detects understeer or oversteer
tendencies to restore stability by
applying modulated braking to the
The Electric Power Steering (EPS)
varies its assistance to boost it in urban manoeuvres,
or reduce it for optimum weight and feel during high
speed driving. It uses electric power only when
steering assist is needed.
Urban Cruiser is fitted as standard
with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic
Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA),
Traction Control (TRC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC).
Via sensors monitoring car body rotation, wheel speed
and brake pressure, VSC detects understeer or
oversteer tendencies to restore stability by applying
modulated braking to the appropriate wheel
Urban Cruiser versions get standard
Brakes have 275 mm ventilated discs
at the front, and 259mm (2WD) or 279mm (AWD) discs at
All Urban Cruiser versions also get
standard seven SRS airbags (opposite), including
driver and front passenger airbags, a driver’s knee
airbag, front side airbags and full-length side
Front and rear seats feature
three-point, ELR (Emergency Locking Retractor)
seatbelts with a pre-tensioner and force limiter
function (to lower occupant chest impact forces).
front seat headrests reduce whiplash
injuries in rear end collisions, by
moving automatically forwards and
upwards to support the heads of the
driver and front passenger.
Active front seat headrests reduce
whiplash injuries in rear end collisions, by moving
automatically forwards and upwards to support the
heads of the driver and front passenger (opposite).
To enhance pedestrian protection,
the front incorporates upper and lower leg impact
absorbers, and the bonnet features an energy absorbing
structure with a crushable cowl at its rear edge. The
bonnet hood lock is moved away from the upper surface.
Other measures include additional absorbers located
where the rear edge of the bonnet meets the upper
fender, and the front wiper motor has a collapsible
Urban Cruiser is available in
Terra (base), Luna and Sol grades. From the Terra
entry level, standard equipment includes ABS,
EBD, BA, VSC, and TRC, with seven airbags, active
front seat headrests, electric front windows, remote
central locking, a six speaker radio/CD with MP3
compatibility, tilt and telescopic steering, driver’s
seat height adjustment, Electric Power Steering,
Optitron instruments (with individual LEDs on every
figure and indicator needle, instead of the
traditional instrument illumination), a gear shift
indicator, a roof spoiler and body coloured door
mirrors with turn indicators.
The Luna grade gets 16- inch
matt alloy wheels, manual air conditioning, a six
speaker radio/CD with aux-in connection and Bluetooth
connectivity, front and rear electric windows, a
leather steering wheel with audio and telephone
switches, and a leather gearshift knob.
Sol grade adds exclusive
trim, 16-inch chrome metallic alloy wheels, a full-map
navigation system, push start button and smart entry,
automatic air conditioning and an electro chromatic
rear view mirror.