Home / Reviews / First Drive / Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder First Drive Review – High Time for Hybrid


The all-new Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder is the first hybrid car from the global giant for a mass-market segment. We drove the top-of-the-line Hyryder Hybrid V in Bengaluru.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder

Story: Jim Gorde | Photography: Apurva Ambep

The mid-size SUV segment, revitalised by the Renault Duster over a decade ago, is a bustling space today, and, while it has been long dominated by a handful of names, Toyota are no strangers to the segment although their absence has been puzzling. RAV4? Pass. Enter the Hyryder.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder

The alliance between the two Indo-Japanese majors has seen some fruitful collaborations in the Baleno-Glanza and the Vitara Brezza-Urban Cruiser badge-engineering efforts. The third goes a little deeper with an Atkinson-cycle petrol engine from the Toyota New Generation Architecture (TNGA) family appearing in both, the new Hyryder and the Grand Vitara. The Urban Cruiser Hyryder brings a refreshing new design with styling akin to the Venza, a mid-size coupé SUV sold in the USA. The Hyryder measures 4,365 millimetres long, 1,795 mm wide, 1,635 mm high, and has a 2,600-mm wheelbase, with 17-inch wheels and 215/60 rubber. It features sleek LED projector headlights with twin LED daytime lights on either side of a carbon-fibre-like grille slat and a wide air-dam with sporty skid-plates. It has seven colour choices and four dual-tone colour choices on offer.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder interior

The Urban Cruiser Hyryder gets a unique dual-pane sliding sunroof and sporty contrasting silver roof-rails to add to its butch appeal. The unique smart keyless entry and go is retained. Inside, it’s large, spacious and feels more premium in many ways. A neat two-tone dark brown theme dresses the cabin with contrasting brushed aluminium trim. The side windows are large and light in the cabin is aplenty with the dual-pane sliding sunroof featuring double sliding glass panes; one over the other, with a thin sun-blind all at the touch of a button . The new steering wheel has all the controls including for media, voice and cruise, and the Toyota Connect suite adds it own element of the present within.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder

Toyota have four powertrains to choose from but the primary focus is on pushing the “self-charging electric vehicle” “strong-hybrid” powertrain which pairs the TNGA “M15A-FXE” 1.5-litre, three-cylinder, Atkinson-cycle petrol engine that makes 92.4 hp and 122 Nm, with a 59-kW electric motor, good for 80 hp and 141 Nm, powered by a 177.6-volt battery pack. The peak combined output is 116 hp and what felt like about 200 Nm of torque. This one promises as much as 27.97 km/litre. During the drive I saw a consistent 25 to 26 km/l overall, even through traffic.

The incredibly frugal powertrain is also quite punchy and responsive and can gather pace when there is the need to overtake. The e-motor does most of the driving and the engine works primarily as a generator for the battery pack. Depending on how much pressure one puts on the accelerator pedal, the engine revs rise or fall, or it rolls on in complete silence under gentle pedal input until about 50 km/h. This  “M15A-FXE” engine is a hybrid-specific, Atkinson-cycle, higher compression unit (14.0:1) with a thermal efficiency of 41 per cent! Yes, it is a naturally-aspirated three-cylinder unit but it’s the 141-Nm e-motor that does most of the driving and a combined 116 hp is more than sufficient for what is a 1.3-tonne crossover SUV.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder

We drove it towards the city over a bunch of ungainly, read typical, roads riddled with potholes and came away impressed with the ride quality. The suspension is only slightly firm but with pliant damping, it absorbs bumps well and feels sure-footed doing so. On the open highway, the steering feels nicely weighted, even responsive, and the effort needed is not exactly minimal but it is comfortable. There is enough wiggle room and the cabin is not snug, it’s spacious enough for five and even the centre passenger in the second row gets a three-point seat belt with the reel installed above, in the headliner.

The Urban Cruiser Hyryder brings a long list of kit and safety. It feels well-built, even robust, although some heavy crosswinds did make it feel a little light when going down the highway at the legal speed limit. That’s not to say it was unsettling in the least, but it was noticeable.

Overall, the Urban Cruiser Hyryder is an extremely refined, premium mid-size SUV that epitomises everything that Toyota have worked to create over their many decades of existence. Comfort, reliability, quality and efficiency are evident from the outset and the Hyryder should be able to have itself a nice portion of the pie. Expect this Hybrid to be in the Rs 15-18 lakh range, while the mild-hybrid neoDrive will start from about Rs 11 lakh. Good value? Surely seems like it.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder

Need to Know – Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder Hybrid

Price: Rs 16-18 lakh (estimated, ex-showroom)

Engine: 1,490 cc, in-line three, Atkinson-cycle, petrol
Max Power: 92.4 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Max Torque: 122 Nm @ 3,800-4,800 rpm
Battery Pack: 177.6-volt, lithium-ion
Electric Motor: 59 kW (80.2 hp), 141 Nm @ 0-3995 rpm
Net Peak Output: 116 hp, 200 Nm (estimated)
Transmission: Electronically-controlled, continuously variable automatic, front-wheel drive
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, torsion beam rear
Weight: 1,310 kg

Also read: Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara First Drive Review


About the author: Jim Gorde


Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible immediate future until hydrogen FCEVs take over.

t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia/@jimbosez


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