The midsize SUV segment in India has been growing with many new models incoming such as Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Tata Harrier, Volkswagen Taigun, MG Astor and more. Now, Toyota is also venturing into this segment, in the form of the recently introduced Urban Cruiser Hyryder. Well, time will tell if it can earn a reputation within its class, perhaps similar to what the Corolla did in Part D. But for now, let's see if the current industry leaders Creta and Seltos are worth fighting.
Although this may be subjective, we Indians want our car to look good and have presence on the road, so the demand for SUVs has also increased. The Urban Cruiser Hyryder is no sub-four-meter SUV and will sit on top of the Urban Cruiser facelift, if it's ever released again. Hyryder will make its presence felt through its unique design, making it stand out from the crowd of these SUVs. It is characterized by a separate lamp configuration, which has recently gained great popularity. Then the slim grille, sleek daytime running lights, modern alloys, and C-shaped LED taillights, among many other components, are a great recipe for such a well-proportioned SUV.
Cabin that pampers?
It goes without saying that SUVs in this segment are spacious. But then how much more competition? We'll see when we get to measure it. But in terms of first impressions, this one has the most boxes checked correctly. It feels and looks good in its two-tone interior with a leather-wrapped instrument panel. However, sharing components is straightforward in terms of switches, buttons, and stems. And the boot space was slightly hacked due to the mixed configuration. However, SUVs in this segment pamper themselves with comfort and features, and the Hyryder is also well equipped. This includes a state-of-the-art touchscreen infotainment system combined with connected car technology, digital instrument cluster, head-up display, 360-degree camera, automatic climate control, ventilated seats, panoramic sunroof, rear seats 2-step recliners, and wireless charger, and much more. Even on the safety front, there are six airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system, ESP, hill stabilization assist, and hill descent control, among other things.
There's no diesel engine option, so potential buyers looking for torque and a fuel-efficient powertrain may be disappointed. However, Toyota hasn't played it safe in this department with the usual proliferation of gasoline options. In fact, it has used its hybrid experience to bring innovation to the sector. The Urban Cruiser Hyryder is the first SUV here with a powerful hybrid engine. It uses a 1.5-liter petrol engine that generates 91 hp and 122 Nm of torque and is coupled to an electric motor that produces 78 hp and 141 Nm. There is a 177.6 V lithium-ion battery that offers a fully electric range of up to 25 km. This will help the gasoline factory to save more fuel. Imagine a large gas-powered SUV that offers an overall fuel efficiency of 15 to 15 miles per second. Now wouldn't that be frugal? Yes, indeed.
Also, in addition to this powerful and efficient hybrid, Toyota wants to offer more options to buyers. The Toyota-Maruti partnership plays a vital role, as the Urban Cruiser Hyryder will also be offered with Maruti Suzuki's 1.5-litre K-series mild hybrid powertrain. This engine produces 103 horsepower and 137 Nm of torque, and will be available with either a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission. And that's not all, this version will also have an optional AWD version, again a first in this segment.
Will it be a revelation of sorts?
In our opinion, it definitely will be. And not just because of its engines, but also because of the looks, the cabin, the list of features, the space and more. Not to mention the reliability that comes with the Toyota brand. A standard three-year/1km warranty will be offered which can be extended to five years/220,000km. On top of that, it comes with a standard eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on the hybrid batteries. All of this makes for a nice package without having to rely on EV power or just AWD capability. It will certainly be worth fighting against its competitors. But hey, everything also depends on the prices. If Toyota gets it right, there's nothing to stop it from having a winner on its hands.