As a crossover mini-MPV, the Urban Cruiser is a new venture for Toyota that taps into a growing sub-segment. It has chunky, urban styling that has the potential to win younger cust-omers who find the Yaris a bit too sensible to move across from other brands.
Dealers have to hope that Urban Cruiser’s high price doesn’t deter those customers.
Marketing will need to reflect the strength of Toyota’s brand and customer service along with the individuality of owning an Urban Cruiser. Toyota GB aims to sell 2,500 in a full year, so the model will remain relatively exclusive and should retain decent margins for dealers.
Target customers will be active couples and singles in their 30s and 40s. These buyers are open to PCPs and other captive finance products, so dealers should achieve some additional margin on sales.
PCPs in particular will help dealers overcome prospective buyers’ reservations about the high list price, as strong guaranteed future values will keep monthly payments affordable.
The car is offered in either 1.3-litre petrol front-wheel drive or 1.4-litre diesel all-wheel drive derivatives.
The petrol variant has variable valve timing and a stop-start system to keep CO2 emissions down to 129g/km, while the diesel achieves 130g/km, which Toyota insists is the lowest ever for a car with four-wheel drive.
Both engines give the car adequate speed around town and on the open road.
Slightly shorter than a BMW 1 Series, Urban Cruiser is pretty manoeuvrable and practical.
Boot space is 314 litres, which increases to 749 litres with the rear seats folded down. The split-fold rear bench also slides and reclines to increase the comfort for passengers in the back.
All models come equipped as standard with 16in alloy wheels,
Bluetooth, automatic air conditioning, keyless entry and push-button engine start-up, rear privacy glass and an electrochromic auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
The six-speaker audio system includes an aux-in socket, and the leather-trimmed steering wheel features additional controls for the music system and Bluetooth operation.
Buyers can choose from several option packs that tailor Urban Cruiser better to their lifestyles.
An Urban Pack offering parking sensors and bumper protectors and a Tech Pack providing iPod integration and a digital radio are expected to be popular choices. Other options include leather upholstery and built-in sat-nav.
Buyers will also be reassured of the car’s safety credentials, with its seven airbags, electronic stability control, front foglamps, active headrests and seatbelt reminder warnings all standard.
It’s a fairly recent sub-segment, but the forthcoming Mini SUV, Kia Soul and Citroën C3 Picasso rival it on styling, practicality and city-focus.
Toyota said Urban Cruiser’s specification reflects its market position as a stylish, contemporary vehicle that meets the needs of discerning B-segment customers.
The consumer view
The petrol costs a whopping £14,500, while the diesel will set you back £16,400. When you consider what else that could buy, the Urban Cruiser doesn’t seem so appealing after all.
Oh dear, we can’t think of a good reason to buy the Urban Cruiser. Not at these prices. In the USA, it’s badged the Scion Xd and costs around £11,000.