Raise your hand if a member of your family has ever owned a Toyota… me too! Growing up, Toyota was always the first go-to brand that a lot of my friends’s family went for – including mine, because my uncle owned taxis. I grew up in a rural area where big cars were a must, and I remember being young and watching all the neighbourhood kids chase after the only Toyota Prado that existed on our street – in my naive mind, it was a sign of making it in life.
Well, call it a full circle moment because I have finally had the chance to test drive my first ever Toyota car, a brand I never imagined I would have the privilege of adding to my portfolio. Toyota is a versatile car brand popularly known for offering affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles that are reliable and can cater to almost every LSM you can think of.
Toyota recently released their Urban Cruiser XR which comes in a broad selection of colours fit for those who want to own and entry-level SUV that is affordable and fuel efficient. From a subjective point of view, I personally wouldn’t agree with categorising it under the SUV umbrella (considering it is more or less the same size as the Hyundai Venue), but it boasts a young economical 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and is available in both an automatic and manual transmission.
They did great by mashing the burnt orange body with a white roof. It gives the car’s exterior a fresh look, and it’s worth noting that I have peeped a lot of car brands taking the two-tone colourway as a means to appeal to a younger market. It also comes with standard 16-inch alloy wheels however, and this is a big HOWEVER, Toyota needs to start looking at reinventing its grill to introduce a more sporty aesthetic that fits this particular car model (or am I just asking for too much?). It is an urban cruiser which means it’s stylish, young and fresh – I know that they are capable of refreshing certain features whilst still remaining steadfast with the Toyota identity. I also mention this in my review video.
The vehicle also has automatic folding mirrors, which are a plus because I had just come off the back of testing a Picanto which required the manual use of a button to prompt the blindspot mirrors to fold – a slight put-off for me. The convenience of locking a car and the mirrors folding on their own is amazing! You also get the standard LED front fog and rear lamps accompanied by my personal favourite — a rearview camera.
The 1.5 litres car engine develops maximum power of 77 kW @ 6 000 r/min and 138 Nm of peak torque @ 4 400 r/min. Fuel consumption is at a mere 6.2l /100 km and corresponding emissions, ranging from 145g to 147g of CO2/km, making it extremely environmentally friendly. The first of many favourable features are the fabric seats because I have realised that I am not a fan of leather finishing. The Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are promising tech features that provide you with an easier way to connect your handheld device with just a swipe of the digital 8-inch infotainment screen. It has power steering with a cruise control feature. You will obviously get your auto air-conditioning for all the passengers in the car.
Considering that I was rolling with tall people (Michelle and Micaela are both 6ft. tall) I was extremely pleased to note that there was more than enough leg room in the front passenger and back seats, making for a comfortable ride with no one digging their knees into the two front seats. Because I do a lot of road trips, the boot is massive enough for a few 7 litre bags as the car is fitted with a generous boot space of 328 litres, and if that is not enough you can opt to fold the seat at a 60:40 split at the rear for more room.
The Toyota Urban Cruiser has driver and front passenger airbags; Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) which helps to keep you in control and swiftly bring you to a safe halt; Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD), a further evolution of ABS that individually distributes braking force to each corner to allow for variances in weight distribution and tyre grip to increase stability, stopping distance and vehicle control; Rear Park Distance Control (PDC) for effortless parking; Sensors located at the back of the vehicle constantly scan for nearby stationary objects when in reverse gear. When a nearby object is detected, a buzzer sounds inside the cabin as well as its proximity will be displayed on the infotainment screen display
I have a few hang-ups with the car: I hate that I regularly struggled to shift to reverse and it was really frustrating – I even asked Michelle to reverse and tell me whether I was imagining things or not, and she confirmed that the reverse gear was problematic. For a manual transmission, the insulation on the car is horrible because you can hear the noisy engine in full force. It was vexing hle. Finally, the grill is a little boring so if Toyota is reading this, I hope they can look into making this more attractive.
Besides that, I am all here for the PUSH BUTTON TO START, that is always fun to have.
The damage to your wallet:
1.5 Xi Manual: R247 900
1.5 Xs Manual: R267 800
1.5 Xs Automatic: R289 00
1.5 X R Manual: R294 500
1.5 X R Automatic: R315 700
About the photographer:
Hi lovelies, I am Micaela Peters, the founder of Micaela Sling Photography. My photography aims to bring your brand to life through visual storytelling and authentically capture the essence of the beauty of all things.
I enjoy capturing the beautiful spaces and faces I have come across. I am a major lover of cultures, adventures and just life and all it has to teach us. I guess I’m extremely inquisitive, most probably because of diverse heritage – San, Xhosa, Sotho, Zulu, British and Scottish