THE four-wheel drive version of Toyota’s two¬model crossover – the
Urban Cruiser – also happens to get the clean, green, diesel engine.
The other model, front-drive only, gets a 1.3-litre petrol unit. The Urban Cruiser represents more evidence of how Toyota is stretching motoring’s technological frontiers at a phenomenal rate, with the all-wheel drive set-up supplying torque to the wheels that need it and the powerplant having the lowest 4×4 C02 emissions figure (among standard internal combustion engines) at 130g/km.
It’s imbued with Optimal Drive, too, the name for Toyota’s under¬bonnet wizardry that combines to deliver more power, better economy and that all-important low C02 output.
The emissions figure is also bang on the mandatory average mark that cars sold in EU countries have to achieve by 2015. This small off-road er can achieve 57.6mpg on the combined cycle, which removes the need for an overly large fuel tank – it’s a smallish 42 litres – giving Toyota’s designers more room to play with in both the boot and the five-door hatchback’s interior.
Removing a spare wheel helps the cabin configuration, too, with a substitute tyre inflation kit about half the size of a thick phone directory strapped under the driver’s seat.
lraction and stability control systems are standard fit, along with state-of-the-art brakes that utilise both brake-force distribution and braking assistance.
All this is shoehorned into a beefy body that has dispensed with the flowing lines seen on the rival Nissan Qashqai and opted for a more chunkier, tougher, look. Rear privacy glass only underlines that effect. A six-speed manual gearbox comes with the 1,364cc, 89bhp oil-burner, whose strength lies in the ability to deliver the torque maximum from just 1,800rpm.
The Urban Cruiser’s top speed is 109mph, and it has a 0-62mph time of 12.5 seconds.
This crossover’s ride and handling is typical Toyota – solid, with-you¬all-the-way stuff that doesn’t do indecision. Front fog lights, a rear seat that slides and reclines, auto climate control and Bluetooth media links are the highlights of an extensive equipment list. However, the real value of this car lies in its engineering excellence, not the add-oDS.
The price is £16,420 for the diesel and just under £2,000 less for the petrol variant. That holds up extremely well against any other small crossover rival.
Toyota Urban Cruiser
Top speed: 109mph
Combined mpg: 57.6mpg
OTR price: £16,420