Toyota and Maruti Suzuki had been working on a new mid-size SUV for a few years and last month, both the automakers revealed their own versions. Toyota first showcased the Urban Cruiser Hyryder while Maruti Suzuki then revealed the Grand Vitara. Both the vehicles are shared on the exact same platform, have similar features and same powertrain options while there is a stark difference in the designs of these cars. A colleague from the auto industry was kind enough to drive the car and share his review with us.
On the outside, the vehicle looks better in person than what it does in pictures. The size is similar to the Hyundai Creta and the blue colour looks quite striking. The fascia, however, does bear some resemblance to the Tata Harrier thanks to the design of the DRLs and headlamps. The glossy black grille looks nice but will be a scratch magnet and the thick front bumper has a greyish insert at the bottom.
This vehicle is based on Suzuki’s global C-platform and heavy part sharing has been done with Maruti Suzuki, especially when it comes to the interiors and engines. The alloys look sporty and the side looks big enough due to the large windows and the additional glass behind the C-pillar. Top variants will get dual tone colour themes. However, the design has more crossover hints and less SUVish elements. The rear is proportionately designed too and nothing feels out of place here.
The cabin is almost identical to that of the Maruti Grand Vitara save for different colour themes. The steering wheel is the same one that we have seen on many recent Maruti cars and the HUD, touchscreen, and many other buttons have been borrowed from a bouquet of Maruti cars like Brezza, Baleno, XL6, etc. However, the quality of fit and finish is a notch above the Brezza and the same holds true for the Grand Vitara as well which we noticed during the unveil of the vehicle.
The SmartPlay infotainment is nicely done and sound quality is decent for a car of this segment. Other useful features include front ventilated seats, wireless charging, TPMS, cruise control, vehicle stability control, hill descent control, hill start assist, 6 airbags, ISOFIX and ABS with EBD.
The cabin has decent space on offer and outward visibility is okay too. The front seats offer nice comfort and it’s not too difficult to find a nice driving position. The rear seats also score well and knee room and head room are decent. The rear bench can be reclined so you can adjust it based on what suits your comfort levels. The large dual-pane sunroof adds a lot of airiness to the cabin. The boot is bigger on the K15C mild-hybrid variants and much smaller on the strong hybrid variants.
I got a chance to sample only the strong hybrid variant which comes with Toyota’s powertrain and tech. This 1.5-litre engine delivers 91 HP and 122 Nm while the electric motor generates 79 HP and 141 Nm. The combined power output is 114 HP. The power delivery is just about fine from the engine, it is not very enthusiastic, but it is smooth. The engine takes time to build revs and at times, you feel it could have been slightly more responsive.
There is a pure EV mode too on which the vehicle can run on city speeds similar to the Honda City e:HEV. At higher speeds, the engine comes into play. This strong hybrid variant is extremely efficient and I was able to manage 25 km/l in the city and 21 km/l on the highway, so realistically a range of 900-1000 kms on a full tank of petrol is possible.
Didn’t get a chance to sample the K15C variant but this is the same engine which powers the Brezza, Ertiga and XL6. It is known to be decently fuel efficient but isn’t very punchy and lacks grunt. It is very refined and is smooth for daily commuting but makes you feel wanting on the highway if you intend to push the car hard. The strong hybrid version will also be significantly pricier than the regular versions.
The Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder is a neutral handler. The steering is very light at city speeds and feels okay at higher speeds. Doesn’t offer a lot of feedback. Even the handling characteristics are aimed towards comfort more and there’s no sportiness as such. There is a fair amount of body roll when you push the vehicle hard. The ride quality is supple at low speeds and feels decent as the speeds increase but it is not extremely plush. The good thing is that the Hyryder feels very easy to manoeuvre in tight scenarios thanks to its light controls.
All in all, the Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder is a decent package. The K15C variants will be more VFM while the strong hybrid variants will be much expensive. Being a Toyota, service is likely to be top notch but we expect a lot of people to be confused between this and the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara. The platform, interior components, K15C engine – everything is from Maruti Suzuki while the second engine and strong hybrid tech are from Toyota. Both the automakers will reveal prices of their respective vehicles in September and it will be interesting to see the difference. The Hyryder was supposed to be launched on 16th August but it got postponed to a later date due to reasons best known to Toyota.