Toyota Hyryder hybrid review, driving: price, specs, performance, fuel economy
Although late in the midsize SUV party, Toyota has prepared well with segment-unique mild and powerful hybrids as well as all-wheel drive.
Although late in coming to India with diesels being on the brink of extinction and electric vehicles being rather expensive, there is a dearth of vehicles with high efficiency and low running cost thus creating an opportunity for hybrids.
Leveraging its global alliance with Suzuki to share technology and models, Toyota, a pioneer in hybrid technology, has teamed up with Maruti, the masters of frugal engineering, to jointly develop a midsize SUV rivaling Hyundai Creta, which will be sold by both brands. The Toyota SUV is dubbed the Urban Cruiser Hyryder and the Maruti iteration is called the Grand Vitara, and both will be manufactured at Toyota’s Bidadi plant in Karnataka.
The talking point of these SUVs will be their strong hybrid system, a technology which for a very long time was only available in Toyota’s premium cars in India, due to the significant costs involved. However, the shared components with Maruti, heavy localization and economies of scale will likely control costs and get a very aggressively priced SUV.
Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder: underbody, dimensions
Built on Suzuki’s Global C platform, the Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder and Maruti Grand Vitara share their underpinnings with the second-generation Maruti Brezza and borrow several components from the Maruti parts bin. While the Hyryder’s silhouette is identical to that of its Maruti twin, Toyota has done well to present its SUV as its own, with unique design features such as twin DRLs and the black grille panel with a grain pattern. carbon fiber and a tasteful chrome treatment. The LED headlights also have chrome surrounds, and they flank the oversized air dam which is highlighted by a dark gray chin.
The ground clearance of 210 mm is the best in its class.
The raised flat bonnet, square wheel arches, plastic body cladding and silver roof rails add much-needed sturdiness to an otherwise neat and clean side profile. Its split taillight configuration is very interesting with attractive twin C-shaped LED elements in the brake lights, while the reverse light and indicators are placed lower, in a separate vertical housing. With a heavy dose of chrome and distinct lines, the trunk lid stands out and, like the front, the rear bumper gets a dark gray faux skid plate over the plastic cladding.
Measuring 4365mm long, the Hyryder is longer than the Creta and Seltos, however, the Seltos is taller and wider; and, at 2,600mm, the Hyryder’s wheelbase is 10mm shorter than its Korean rivals. Toyota’s standout spec is its segment-best 210mm (vacuum) ground clearance, in line with its SUV credentials.
There are two engines to choose from: one is a 103hp, 1.5-litre, four-cylinder K15C petrol engine from Maruti, with a mild-hybrid system, and the other is Toyota’s powerful hybrid engine. The mild-hybrid version gets either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic, with the manual also getting a segment-first all-wheel-drive option.
Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder: interior
If you’ve been in the second-generation Maruti Brezza, the interior ambience of the Hyryder will feel very familiar to you, as the cars share the dashboard, gear shifter and steering. But Toyota has done an excellent job dressing the cabin, worthy of a car in this segment. The padded area on the dash with the double stitching as well as the vertical silver trim on the center console are design cues borrowed from the more expensive Toyota Fortuner. The cabin’s brown and black theme is attractive, and the massive panoramic sunroof kicks its premium quotient up a notch. Unique to the Hyryder, both windows of the panoramic sunroof open, freeing up a large opening area. Few bits like the power window switches are shared with lesser Marutis and these stick out like a sore thumb on an otherwise well-appointed interior.
Uniquely, the two panes of the panoramic sunroof slide open, opening up a large area.
Toyota has the seat padding, and the seats are wide, supportive and very comfortable. Added to the comfort is the ventilation of the seats for the front passengers, which is a godsend in a tropical climate like ours, and fortunately, it has become the norm in this segment. The driving position is upright and quite commanding, exactly what you’d expect from an SUV, however, the location of the interior rear-view mirror and the large freestanding touchscreen hamper frontal visibility to some extent. What’s nice is that to aid visibility while parking, the Toyota has a handy 360-degree parking camera. The hybrid version also gets a 7-inch instrument cluster that’s large, informative and very easy on the eyes, and it’s especially satisfying to watch the power flow animation on the MID (more on that later) . The driver also gets a head-up display that shows a digital speedometer along with other data.
The seats are wide, supportive and very comfortable.
As in the front, the Hyryder’s rear-seat experience is also very good, with well-judged padding and a supportive seat. You sit quite high in an almost theatrical position because the bench is placed at a higher level than the front. There’s ample knee room and room to stow your feet under the front seat, and the backrest also reclines to get more comfortable. The headroom, on the other hand, is adequate for all but those around six feet tall, who will find their head brushing the roof. A welcome addition is the inclusion of three individual adjustable neck restraints as well as three-point seat belts for all passengers.
The back seat is very comfortable and the backrest also reclines.
Boot space in the hybrid is compromised due to the placement of the 1.8kWh lithium-ion battery, resulting in a raised boot floor, limiting cargo space to 255 litres, or 100 liters less than the standard petrol version. There’s a clever extra storage area under the trunk floor as well as smaller storage areas on either side of the rectangular trunk for storing smaller items. The full-size spare tire (on steel wheel) is tucked outside, under the trunk, as in the Innova and Fortuner.
The 255-liter trunk is small – 100 liters less than the mild hybrid version.
Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder: performance, ride and handling
The focus here is on the 92bhp, 1,490cc three-cylinder petrol engine running the more efficient Atkinson cycle, mated to Toyota’s fourth-generation hybrid system including a 1.8kWh lithium-ion battery; and an 80hp electric motor, which not only drives the wheels but also recharges its battery. Power is transmitted via an e-CVT (in Toyota parlance), which switches between direct electric, hybrid and petrol-only modes, and channels power to the front wheels.
The three-cylinder engine runs smoothly without vibrations, but breaks the silence of the electric vehicle when it starts.
Being a powerful hybrid, the Hyryder has an EV mode, so you can drive purely on battery power and it happens automatically or manually via a button on the console – if, of course, the conditions are met such as sufficient charge in The batteries. Toyota claims that up to 50-60% of an urban commute is possible in fully electric mode, with the gasoline engine kicking in to deliver better performance under heavier throttle, or when the state of charge of the battery drops below a certain level. And when it does, you’ll hear a growl from the three-cylinder engine – it’s not a typical noise and there’s no vibration to speak of either, but that low-frequency hum will break the silence. full-electric mode.
The system switches seamlessly between petrol-only, electric and hybrid modes.
It’ll do the urban grind with ease, and with part-gas inputs you’ll do well to keep up with the flow of traffic. Aggressive drivers or those expecting a vigorous, turbo-petrol-like power rush will find the Hyryder’s leisurely speed lackluster, due to its flat midrange. But with your foot nailed to the ground, churning out a combined 116bhp in hybrid mode, the Hyryder will sprint from 0-60mph in just 12.10 seconds in its sportiest “Power” mode, which is on par with the Kia. Seltos 115 hp, 1.5 liters of gasoline. IVT is 12.06 seconds. In other modes like ‘Normal’ and ‘Eco’ the performance is quite similar, and it does the sprint in 13.10 and 13.35 seconds, respectively.
Like the Brezza it shares its platform with, the Toyota also offers an excellent balance of ride and handling. Its foundation feels solid and with a generous 210mm of ground clearance, it tackles bad and rough roads with a sense of authority. What’s also nice is that the ride remains calm at all speeds, body roll for such a tall vehicle is well contained and it gives confidence when making sudden lane changes or tackling corners. Its steering isn’t finger light, but what’s nice is that it consistently weighs as you pick up speed and gives you a good feel.
Well-judged ride and handling; its foundations seem solid.
The Hyryder has four-wheel disc brakes, and stopping power is strong. When slowing down, especially at low speeds, you may hear an electric whine when you step on the brake, as the motor-generator converts kinetic energy into electricity and recharges the lithium-ion battery and also makes stopping easier.
Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder: should I buy one?
Toyota may be late to join the midsize SUV bandwagon, but it came all guns blazing with the Hyryder. Besides looking completely modern and giving off a rugged appeal, it gets the basics right with a well-judged balance of ride and handling. Toyota has done really well to give the interior a premium treatment; the seats are comfortable, the space offered is abundant and its list of equipment is generous. The ace up its sleeve is its hybrid technology which is smooth in its operation and is likely to be very effective in the real world. Sure, performance isn’t quite as strong as its turbo-petrol rivals and its trunk is quite small, but in all other areas the Hyryder comes across as a well-rounded practical SUV. Plus, the allure of the Toyota badge will only add to its appeal. Ultimately what will make or break the deal, however, will be its price. Toyota, can we have the price, please?
Video review of the 2022 Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder