From £15,685
Fun to look at, less fun to drive - and over-priced

Our Verdict

Toyota Urban Cruiser 2009-2012
Two engines are available in the UK: a 1.33-litre petrol and a 1.4-litre diesel

The Toyota Urban Cruiser is a slightly odd city car that's dull to drive, despite some good engines and a funky exterior

What is it?

This is the Toyota Urban Cruiser 1.4 D4-D. It’s the only four-wheel-drive version of Toyota’s new supermini-sized crossover SUV.

The 89bhp 1.4-litre diesel powers the wheels via a four-wheel drive system that can apportion up to 50 per cent of the power to the rear wheels, though in normal running the Toyota Urban Cruiser 1.4 D4-D is 100 per cent front-wheel drive.

The Toyota Urban Cruiser 1.4 D4-D’s off-road credentials are enhanced by a marginally raised ride height over the petrol-engined two-wheel-drive version. There’s also a differential lock that holds the drive in a permanent 50-50 split. UK-spec models won’t get the black plastic body cladding of the car in these pictures, however.

What’s it like?

The Urban Cruiser’s little diesel pushes it along more comfortably than the zippy but weedy 1.33 petrol version, but it’s not exactly a car that you relish the open road in.

Both ride and refinement are acceptable but nothing better, while the handling is safe but will push into understeer early. In short, there’s little enjoyment to be had from pushing the Urban Cruiser too hard, though the beeps from the ESP system and the squeal-prone tyres discourage you from doing that anyway.

In town, the light controls and the Urban Cruiser’s diminutive stance make it suited to busy traffic, but the interior, though spacious, feels oddly claustrophobic. That’s most likely to do with the raised ground clearance forcing a higher driving position, but a Kia Soul, with its higher roof, manages to combine a commanding driving position with a decent sense of airiness.

Should I buy one?

Maybe. The Toyota Urban Cruiser isn’t a bad car, but it isn’t inspiring. It is also, in top spec guise, up against some tough off-beat competition from the likes of the Mini Clubman on one side, or basic versions of full-size SUVs on the other.

Matt Rigby

Join the debate

Comments
12

9 April 2009

£16k sounds a lot for a 1.4 diesel supermini with 89 bhp no matter how "funky" it looks.

£16k gets you a half decent 2.0 turbodiesel in most mid size hatches that this will be competing against, and why add 4x4 with engines this small as the weight penalty outnumbers any potential handling advantage?

9 April 2009

"Funky", eh? I take it has the obligatory tray on the dash for the Werther's Originals?

Where has all Japanese design went to?

10 April 2009

usual toyota bashing. i wonder why they are the most succesful car company in the world.

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

10 April 2009

[quote Orangewheels]

£16k sounds a lot for a 1.4 diesel supermini with 89 bhp no matter how "funky" it looks.

£16k gets you a half decent 2.0 turbodiesel in most mid size hatches that this will be competing against, and why add 4x4 with engines this small as the weight penalty outnumbers any potential handling advantage?

[/quote] You miss the point. It's a niche model - it's not competing with a mid-sized turbo-d hatchback.

10 April 2009

[quote kcrally]usual toyota bashing. i wonder why they are the most succesful car company in the world.
[/quote]

Because these days (with no sports/sporty cars like MR-2, Celica, Supra etc), they focus solely on making cars for people who aren't car enthusiasts/geeks like us - bar the iQ as an engineering marvel. They focus on making cars for people who just want something to take them places with the minimum emotional involvement in the experience. And that's their choice. I'm sure people who own Toyotas are very happy with them, however I wouldn't choose them because they strike me as completely soulless.

And in the case of the Urban Cruiser - soulless, horrid to look at and a name that sounds like a criminal offence.

10 April 2009

[quote kcrally] usual toyota bashing. i wonder why they are the most succesful car company in the world.[/quote]

Not hard to work out. A lot of people buy a car to get from A to B, not for the driving pleasure.

They are reliable.

Where has all Japanese design went to?

13 April 2009

[quote Zeddy]They are reliable.[/quote]

That's as maybe but 'fun to look at' ? In what universe is that wardrobe fun to look at?

13 April 2009

When did I say they were???

Where has all Japanese design went to?

13 April 2009

Easy tiger- it wasn't you that said it, it was Autocar. I was agreeing with your point and heaping scorn on Autocar's assertion that this thing is in some way 'fun'.

Sorry for the lack of distinction.

14 April 2009

what does 'zippy but weedy' mean? Anyone?

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