Toyota has launched many vehicles, in different segments of the Indian Auto Market, however, the compact SUV segment is one such is one division, which they have not ventured in yet. It now seems that that is all set to change, as Toyota will be launching a rebadged version of the Maruti Brezza, this year in August. When Toyota launches this Maruti sourced vehicle, it will most probably be named as the ‘Urban Cruiser’, and it will carry forwards only a few cosmetic changes, which will just about make it distinguishable in comparison to the Brezza.
2 years back in March, Toyota and Maruti came to an agreement that they would supply vehicles to each other in the Indian market. The conclusion they reached suggested that Maruti Suzuki would supply their Baleno and Brezza to Toyota, while Toyota would give their Corolla to Maruti Suzuki.(the Corolla has already been discontinued by Toyota, so I am not entirely sure of how this is going to work now). This partnership would allow Toyota to find some footing in the relatively lower end segment, while Toyota would assist Maruti in the higher end market.
The Urban Cruiser coming into existence has been confirmed in 2 ways, the first one being that Maruti Suzuki themselves approving the supply of the Brezza to Toyota, and the second being the fact that Toyota applied for an application to trademark the title ‘Urban Cruiser’.
The Brezza and the Urban Cruiser will not be very different vehicles, they will share the new 1.5 litre petrol engine which produces 105 ps while being mated to a 5 speed manual or a 4 speed automatic. The body quality of the Brezza will further be maintained in the Urban Cruiser as well.
However, a few differences in terms of looks and powertrain options could be expected. Toyota’s iteration of the Brezza could sport new bumper and side skirts, while the interiors of the Urban Cruiser could get a lighter theme. The Maruti Brezza utilises the SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) technology only in the automatic variant, and it is entirely possible that Toyota may position this hybrid technology in the manual variants of the Urban Cruiser.
By doing so, it would allow all the variants of the Urban Cruiser to enjoy the feature of higher fuel efficiency that is achieved thanks to the smart hybrid system. Toyota actually managed to do the same with the Glanza, making it entirely possible that they might just do the same with the Urban Cruiser as well.
When the Glanza was launched, Toyota introduced it in the G and V variants, and both these variants were based on the top spec Baleno. This meant that Toyota had omitted the base variant, and they could pull of a similar move with the Urban Cruiser. This would naturally mean that the Urban Cruiser will be available at a higher premium than the Brezza, but while doing so, the entry level variants, with a higher equipment level, would undercut the higher end Brezza variants. The entry level variant of the Glanza which had the equipment level of the higher end Baleno, was actually priced Rs 68,000 lesser than that of the Zeta variant in the Baleno.
Toyota had initially planned on launching the Urban Cruiser in August, but Covid 19 could play spoilsport and delay the launch. On release, the Urban Cruiser will have to take on a host of competitors, such as its twin the Maruti Brezza, and other rivals such as the Hyundai Venue, Mahindra Xuv 300 and Tata Nexon. The Nissan Magnite and Kia Sonet are soon going to join this list as well. Soon all these vehicles will be at loggerheads, and I cannot wait to find out who wins the laurel of the best compact SUV.