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.