Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder Review: A Hybrid For The Masses

We've finally driven the Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder. It's a car that will bring Toyota's famed hybrid technology to the masses. How does it fare? and does it live up to our expectations
13 mins read
30-Jan-23 11:07 AM IST
Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder Review: A Hybrid For The Masses banner

Finally, a mass model from Toyota that drives in with its much touted and globally acclaimed hybrid tech, in a more accessible way. So far, we’d gotten cars like the  Prius, the Camry, and the Vellfire, but now the hybrid drive goes mass, with the Urban Cruiser Hyryder.

Also Read: 2022 Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder Hybrid SUV Unveiled; Bookings Open

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder Design

The compact SUV buyers really want their new vehicle to look like an SUV. So, the ample proportions on the Hyryder will really sit well with them. The car looks nice and modern, and hence very contemporary. There’s also a lot of talk about how the Hyryder has a lot in common with the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara, so let's get that out of the way. Yes, certain body panels and especially the side profile will remind you of that car, but it's the face where I really like the typical Toyota design language that shows up the slim DRLs and the headlight down below. It’s even evident in the way the front wheel has been finished; it’s very much in line with the SUV styling for Toyota models worldwide. The hybrid badging along the side is also something that you see on all Toyota models and the two-tone roof, especially with a speedy blue colour, looks really good. Now the dual tone will be available only on 4 of the 7 body colours offered on the Hyryder.

Certain body panels will remind you of the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara, but it's the face where the typical Toyota design language shows up.

At the rear, you get the split LED tail lamps which are slim and go well with the overall design of the car. The stance is also good. The SUV is 4365 mm long and the short front and rear overhangs sit well with the overall proportions. The wheelbase is 2600 mm and that’s less than cars like the Seltos, Creta and even the Kushaq and Taigun.

Hyryder's wheelbase is 2600 mm, which is less than Seltos, Creta and even the Kushaq and Taigun.

Toyota Urban Cruiser HyryderDimensions  
Length4355 mm
Width1795 mm
Height1645 mm
Wheelbase2600 mm

Also Read: Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder vs Rivals - Spec Comparison

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder Cabin

Inside the cabin, there’s a lot more to talk about. I am really pleased that you have both a height and reach adjustment on the steering wheel. A lot of cars don't have it. And it's great that this does. There is a 360-degree surround camera that offers a view of everything around the car. Now that's something that I recently saw on the new generation of the S-cross that I just drove in the UK. 

The Urban Cruiser Hyryder is offered with dual-tone or all-black interiors depending on the variant.

A lot of features have been shared with the Grand Vitara. So what you get is a lot of connectivity and a lot of connected car features. So let's get that out of the way. You got a USB charging point up front. It's also what allows you to have wired connectivity of your phone. But the good news is that, you also have the option of going with just wireless, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Then there’s also wireless charging and you can turn that on or off as well. So again, a good thing from the point of view of usability. And then the other feature that everybody loves these days is seat ventilation. So you've got the front seat and the passenger seat that have seat ventilation. There’s a huge panoramic sunroof, and a brown and black two-tone interior on the top-spec. There's also an all-black version of the cabin that you can get depending on the variant. Features like head-up display, virtual instrument cluster are also part of the package and the cluster looks very sharp with good graphics. Depending on the drive mode, the speedo colour actually changes. You can have an analogue or a digital speedometer. And you can also see the energy flow in terms of what's happening with the hybrid system. All of those display readouts make it pretty convenient for those in the car.  The steering wheel too gets a host of controls and these include cruise control, volume adjustment for your music and your phone as well as virtual assistant. The seats very comfortable you get a decent SUV ride height. Now let's take a look at the backseat.  

Also Read: Maruti Grand Vitara vs Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder: What Is Different

The rear seat is reasonably comfortable and has good under thigh support.

I am very happy with the seat because it is reasonably comfortable and has good under thigh support. It could have been a little plumper. But sense of space is pretty good. You can also recline the seat to give it a little bit more of an angle. So it makes things a little more comfortable for sure. Now the sense of space is good even from the point of view of the glass or the greenhouse area. And you do get the rear AC vents something that most Indian buyers will look for. And now increasingly also look for USB charging. So you've got the regular USB A and USB C point back here, which makes things a little more convenient for family members who want to charge their devices. With 55 connected car features, the Hyryder is certainly modern.

Rear seats get USB-A as well as USB-C charging ports, along with AC vents.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder Features

The 9-inch infotainment unit could have been bigger and dominated the dashboard but given the proportions, it looks a little small. The read outs are very good in the daytime with bright sunshine, I can see the Apple CarPlay screen, no problem. But when you turn off CarPlay and you go back to just cars on menu, it's very nice and tastefully done in a black background, but you see a lot of reflections. And so that means that readability becomes a problem especially when you're driving you can't be focusing on the words here, right? You got to keep your attention on the road. That is a little bit of a deal breaker. There should be a day mode, which uses lighter colours or a screen that is angled towards the driver. This is a little bit of a problem for me.

The infotainment system's OS is very nice and tastefully done in a black background, but you see a lot of reflections.

And then there’s the slight issue with the rear-view camera. Now one thing I noticed is a small matter but something that you will have to get used to is putting the car in reverse. And yes, it just takes that little extra second for the display to come up. So if you really rely on the camera, well wait for it to come before you start moving. What is nice though is that you have the 360 camera and when you start driving away, you also have the front view. 

There’s no third row on the Hyryder and you won’t see one in the foreseeable future but the boot space may well surprise you.

There’s no third row on the Hyryder and you won’t see one in the foreseeable future.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder Boot Space

The Hyryder’s boot is spacious. You get 255 litres of boot volume. You can of course collapse these seats (there's a 60:40 split on them). If you want even more cargo space, there is a little extra bonus room and it's nice to have a little tray over it because you could put your laptop in among other things, and it won't get spotted. The reason for this extra bonus space is also because there’s a battery pack. And the mild hybrid version won't have that at all right? So on that you get an extra 100 litres of space overall. So it's 355 litres on that one. But this is good to have. Now in case you're wondering where the spare wheel goes, you still get a full size spare. Of course it's a steel rim, it’s under the boot in typical SUV style.

The Hyryder gets 255 litres of boot volume, and the mild hybrid gets an extra 100 litres of space, where the batteries sit on the strong hybrid.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder Engine Options.

There's lots of options for consumers on the Hyrder. That's a good thing. I don't just mean the different grades but also the different drive trains. So, you've got the full hybrid system. That's the car with me. That's the Toyota system on the 1.5 TNGA petrol engine. That's what's mated to the motor here on the mild hybrid, which is the Neo drive on the Toyota side of things. It's the K series Suzuki petrol engine, also 1.5 litre, you do have automatic and manual and yes, you have an all-wheel drive, but that's only on the manual on the K series engine. Now the mileage figure is going to be a huge headline because on the hybrid, you get nearly 28 kmpl. On the mild hybrid, it's also pretty good 21 kmpl

The Hyryder gets two engine options, and it can even be mated to an all-wheel drive system on the K-Series engine.

Toyota Hyryder NeoDrive Petrol

Displacement1462 cc
Max Power101 bhp @ @ 6000 rpm
Peak Torque136.8 Nm @ 4400 rpm
Transmission5MT/6AT
 

Toyota Hyryder Hybrid

Displacement1490 cc
BatteryLithium-ion
Combined Power113 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Combined Torque141 Nm @ 4400 - 4800 rpm
Transmissione-CVT

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder: How Does It Drive?

You have a hybrid car, you want to see the energy flow, it kind of makes you drive a little more efficiently, to be honest, and so that's not a bad thing because you will save fuel and get a fantastic mileage. Now, I have been testing the car so I've been driving it pretty hard on the highway, and then kind of slow through this rural area. And I was still averaging close to 20 kmpl.

Despite driving hard on the highway and then slow through some rural areas, the Hyryder still returned a fuel economy figure close to 20 kmpl.

The whole idea of driving a hybrid is that you want to conserve fuel and so which is why the focus is on fuel efficiency. This isn't the car you get if you want something that's really sporty. It drives very well in terms of being very smooth. It's very nice when you're cruising, but when you want that instant burst of acceleration, well that is where the car is slow. Now I have to say when you put it into power mode, well, then things start getting a little bit better. You do get a more urgent feel from the engine and a better response. But on the whole like I said, this guy is not for someone who wants very quick initial acceleration, but as a nice highway cruiser, it works just fine.

The Hyryder is not for someone who wants quick acceleration, but as a highway cruiser it works just fine.

The cruiser aspect gets even more amplified by the EV Mode. When there's enough charge in the battery, you can press this EV mode button, and the car just glide silently because it goes into EV mode, which means it's only driving on battery power. That's like all other hybrids that we've talked about on the show before. Give it a little gas. You want a little extra power. Well that's fine, of course. The engine comes to life as well. And that's when the full hybrid drive starts. When the gasoline engine does come on your feel, a little bit of a vibration come through to the cabin, and there's a bit of a growl which I would have liked to have seen being a little more just a little more refined, but otherwise, it's a pretty superfluous and very easy smooth flow between the use of the motor and the use of the petrol engine.

There’s another advantage to having a hybrid powertrain and that’s energy conservation. This special hybrid only gearbox gives you the D or drive mode and also gives you the B mode. B is engine braking. So basically, it means that the engine comes on purely to be able to give you more recuperation of energy more regenerative energy going into the battery. So the engine acts as the brake in a sense kind of like single pedal driving, and I quite like it. But the good news is that even when you're in D mode, there is still a lot of regeneration and that is of course how the battery self-charges anyway.
We didn’t get to drive the mild hybrid version though and wait to see how that engine performs. But the ride quality is expected to be similar on both

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder Ride And Handling

The sense of heft and the sense of a little bit of stiff feeling you would want from a car this size well that is missing. And I think that's where the Suzuki antecedent start to show up the car feels a little tinny, a little light and even ride quality therefore is not fantastic.

The sense of heft you would want from a car this size is missing on the Hyryder.

The Hyryder also comes with an All-wheel drive system and that’s available only with the manual transmission and the mild hybrid K-Series engine version, one I’d love to test when I get one from Toyota. Because it’s the only AWD in the compact SUV segment right now. 

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder Safety

The Hyryder comes with the option of 6 airbags which includes the curtain airbags. This is only at the top-end though. I wish that had been standard. What is nice though is that you have this standard three-point seatbelt for the middle passenger that is great to see. There’s no ADAS tech in this yet and for those asking for crash test ratings, well, sorry to disappoint you, we do not have that star rating for you because, these have not been crash tested by GNCAP. However, the company has performed crash tests internally at its Rohtak facility and is confident of its capabilities. 

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder Verdict

The Urban Cruiser Hyryder in the Hybrid avatar is available in 3 variants, while the mild-hybrid is available in 4.  So, consumers are going to get a lot of choice when it comes to variants and even colour options. And with Toyota one thing is certain, maintenance costs will be in check. 

I expect the price for the mild hybrid SUV to be between Rs. 10 lakh-13 lakh while the hybrid will come at a premium so costs may likely begin from Rs. 12 lakh to Rs. 15 lakh. 

The Urban Cruiser Hyryder has its faults, but the big plus is that it introduces a hybrid in the compact SUV space and that differentiator could just be the curve ball from Toyota to tilt the balance in its favour. 

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