The Toyota Urban Cruiser is a slightly odd-looking device that is the unofficial replacement for the three-door RAV4, a rival for pseudo-SUVs such as the Suzuki SX4, a challenger for ultra-practicals like the Kia Soul and Citroën C3 Picasso – or all of the above combined.
The Urban Cruiser is based heavily on the Scion xD, a 'trendy' family runabout sold by Toyota's youth brand, Scion, in the United States. But that, in turn, is based on the Japan-only Toyota Ist, which is, in turn, based on the current Toyota Yaris. Are you still with us on this?
Just two models are available in UK: the 1.33-litre petrol variant, which only comes with front-wheel drive, and a 1.4-litre diesel that is only available with Toyota's Active Torque Control four-wheel drive system. Both cars get six-speed manual gearboxes as standard.
On the outside, Toyota has done a reasonable job of hiding the Urban Cruiser's Yaris origins (even its wheelbase is the same). With those tall sides, a shallow glassline and whopping great C-pillars, it's every bit the pseudo-SUV. The diesel 4x4 gets taller ride height, too, adding to the off-road effect.
Inside, though, the car fails to live up to its vaguely funky external styling. You sit high (although the steering wheel remains oddly low), so you do get a relatively lofty view of the road ahead, and there's plenty of practicality. But acres of black plastic on the dash seem a world away from what the chunky exterior promises.