If you are a regular reader of this website, or follow the SA new car market closely, you’re probably thinking that you’ve seen this car somewhere before, and you’d be correct… sort of. A few weeks ago we brought you news of the Suzuki Vitara Brezza (original story here) on which the Toyota Urban Cruiser is based. Confused? Let us clarify.

Follow Double Apex on Instagram and Facebook where we share more car content.

Order from our online store and take advantage of free delivery in South Africa on orders over R349.

Platform sharing and badge engineering

Sharing resources in the automotive sector is old news. Often cars from the same stable are based on the same platform or share engines/transmissions. Audi’s A3 and VW’s Golf are good examples. Badge engineering is when manufacturers share entire vehicles, with simply the badge replaced and a few aesthetic changes taking place. The Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 fall into this category.

Automotive giant Toyota has shares in several other automakers, which allows the corporation to offer models that are built by others, with their own badges. We’ve already seen Toyota pull off this trick with the recently launched Starlet (click here for our review) which is a Suzuki Baleno. Incidentally, Toyota also owns shares in Mazda and wholly owns Daihatsu.

Regardless of how you feel about such practices, they are here to stay. In the case of this alliance, SA buyers are given more choice in the marketplace with the added peace of mind of Toyota’s large, 220-strong, dealer network.

Small car range

The Toyota Urban Cruiser is the third new small car to be launched by TSAM locally in just a few months. The aforementioned Starlet and the small Agya hatch are the others. These three offerings will help Toyota to maintain market strength as a large percentage of new car sales are taking place in this end of the market. The Urban Cruiser fulfills the role of small family car with it’s SUV-esque proportions, seating for five and generous (328 litres) boot space.

One engine, two transmissions

Much like its Brezza twin the Toyota Urban Cruiser is powered by 1,5-litre four-cylinder engine. The naturally-aspirated unit delivers 77 kW and 138 N.m of peak torque. This engine can be mated with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels.

Three flavours

Buyers can choose between three trim levels Xi, Xs and Xr. All derivatives come standard with a large touchscreen infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allows for smartphone connectivity. Air-conditioning, electric windows and power/USB outlets are also standard fitment as is a multi-function steering wheel, LED running lamps and rear parking sensors.

Xs variants and alloy wheels, roof rails, power-retractable mirrors and rear window wiper with demister function are some of the exterior upgrades. In the cabin there is the added convenience of climate-control air-conditioning and a reverse camera. A 60:40 split backrest adds practicality.

Range-topping Xr versions have LED fog lamps, automatic headlights, cruise control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rain-sensing wipers, dual 12-volt power outlets, front armrest and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, among others. In keeping with the appeal to a younger seat Toyota Urban Cruiser models come standard with the Toyota Connect telematics system which includes an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot and complimentary 15 Gb of data.


Urban Cruiser 1,5 Xi MT – R247 900

Urban Cruiser 1,5 Xs MT – R267 800

Urban Cruiser 1,5 Xs AT – R289 000

Urban Cruiser 1,5 Xr MT – R294 500

Urban Cruiser 1,5 Xr AT – R315 700

Prices include a three-services/45 000 km service plan and a three-year/100 000 km warranty.