Toyota Urban Cruiser vs Suzuki Vitara Brezza: Spec and price comparison

By Jason Woosey Time of article published Mar 9, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - Those seeking a relatively affordable SUV can look forward to a flurry of new entrants landing in South Africa this year, including the new Nissan Magnite and its Renault Kiger cousin as well as Kia’s upcoming Sonet.

But early to the party are a pair of twins called the Toyota Urban Cruiser and Suzuki Vitara Brezza. The Urban Cruiser was launched in SA this week, and it’s very closely related to the Vitara Brezza through a collaboration that sees the two Japanese carmakers build certain products for each other, aimed at specific markets.

Like the Toyota Starlet that was launched last year, the Urban Cruiser hails from Maruti Suzuki in India and while its body shape and rear styling are shared with the aforementioned Vitara Brezza, the Toyota does get a unique frontal design inspired by the Fortuner. But apart from that and the badging there is very little to tell them apart, visually at least.

Price positioning: Toyota vs Suzuki

There isn’t a radical difference in their positioning either, with the Toyota commanding a slight price premium - its range costing between R247 900 and R315 700, versus Suzuki’s R244 900 to R309 900 price range.

Toyota Urban Cruiser 1.5 XR.

While both are mechanically identical, powered by a Suzuki’s normally aspirated 1.5-litre petrol unit with 77kW and 138Nm, the interior specifications do differ to some degree, particularly in the base model.

Standard features: Urban Cruiser Xi vs Vitara Brezza GL

Both base models are equipped with a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and steering mounted controls, as well as electric windows and mirrors, rear park distance control, dual front airbags and ABS brakes, and both vehicles roll on 16-inch steel wheels with plastic covers.

Suzuki Vitara Brezza 1.5 GL.

However, while the Toyota Xi makes do with manual air conditioning, the Suzuki GL has automatic climate control as standard, as well as a reverse camera, electrically-folding mirrors and height adjustment for the driver’s seat - none of which you’ll find in the Toyota Xi.

But the Toyota base model does gain some ground back with its standard LED headlights and its keyless entry and start system with push-button start.

Standard features: Urban Cruiser Xs

Suzuki does not offer a mid-spec Vitara Brezza, but Toyota does offer such a model in the Urban Cruiser range. Badged Xs, the derivative gains automatic climate control, reverse camera, height-adjustment for the front seat, rear window wiper, split-folding rear seat, black roof rails and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Standard features: Urban Cruiser XR vs Vitara Brezza GLX

These are the flagship models in the respective ranges and both come standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, cooled glovebox and a leather-covered steering wheel. They’re also offered with two-tone paintwork featuring a contrasting roof.

Toyota Urban Cruiser 1.5 XR.

In essence, there are no significant specification differences between the range topping Urban Cruiser XR and Vitara Brezza GLX models.

Toyota Connect technology

When asked about the price difference between the Urban Cruiser and Vitara Brezza, Toyota South Africa mentioned its Toyota Connect telematics system as being one of the reasons.

This set-up includes an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot and 15Gb of complimentary data, as well as access to MyEntertainment e-services that offer music and video streaming.

Clients can also download the MyToyota app to manage things like service bookings while also gaining access to tracking data and certain vehicle information and history.

Manual or automatic?

All the trim grades in both ranges come standard with five-speed manual transmission, however both Suzuki variants are optionally available with a four-speed automatic gearbox, and this is only offered on the mid and high spec Toyotas, with the base Xi Urban Cruiser being a manual only affair.

Warranties and service plans

This is where buyers will need to weigh up their priorities.

On the warranty front, for as long as Suzuki’s promotional five-year/200 000km warranty remains a part of the deal, it is the superior plan, with Toyota’s manufacturer warranty only being valid for three years or 100 000km.

Suzuki Vitara Brezza 1.5 GLX.

The Suzuki’s service plan also looks more attractive, being valid for four years or 60 000km, versus Toyota’s three-service / 45 000km service plan that will theoretically expire after three years.

However, Toyota does have the advantage of a larger dealer network, amounting to 220 countrywide, versus Suzuki’s 61. If you’re living in, or frequent a remote part of the country then Toyota’s vast network could sway things for you. Then again, if you have a Suzuki dealer up the road and you’re happy with the service offered there, then Suzuki’s smaller network might not be a disadvantage at all.

Practicality and safety

Being near identical, both vehicles are 3995mm long, riding on a 2500mm wheelbase, and both offer a fairly useful ground clearance of 198mm - keeping in mind that they are front-wheel driven, with no AWD option. The towing capacity is 1100kg (braked) or 400kg (unbraked).

As for boot space, they offer a luggage volume of 328 litres with the rear seats in place. And while both have folding rear seats, only the Suzuki has a split function in the base model.

As for safety, the pair come with dual front airbags and ABS brakes, but worryingly no form of traction or stability control are offered on these vehicles. Outer rear Isofix child seat anchorages are standard on both vehicles.

Reassuringly, the Suzuki Maruti Vitara Brezza was awarded four stars for adult protection by Global NCAP.

IOL Motoring

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