Re: Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder Review
Bahut badhiya sameeksha (great review) BHPians – Vidyut and Eddy – as always. Hyryder (thereby Grand Vitara, as well) is a mixed bag like all other cars – there is nothing called “perfect car,” and we highlight pros and cons based on our requirements/convenience and outcome vis-à-vis expectation.
I believe irrespective of OEMs (here MSL+TKM combined), over the past few years, we have been a witness to many new good cars rolling on our road successfully – this one will be no different. It will succeed. A lot of thinking and engineering go into making these cars although as end users we are at liberty to opine, and pass judgement, as well. I am seeing an interesting convergence and emulation of one another’s strengths by these OEMs – eventual beneficiary will be end users (and govt. of course that coughs up 43% tax – very high by any standards).
MSL – known for offering no frills, VFM, low budget cars, is actually trying to premium-ise offerings via collaboration route (with TKM) through a dedicated channel of experience (NEXA) and adding “features” which hitherto have been the forte of Korean automaker (s). Reason is very simple – for long it held over 50% market share, which has now slipped to 43% and can slip further unless arrested – today we have options galore – not just budget tin cans. MSL knows this and doing its bits on safety, features and premium feeling.
Hyundai and Kia – known for offering features up to brim, are actually trying to add safety as standard notwithstanding the initial jolt of lower than expected NCAP rating. Reason is simple – necessity cannot be covered up by offering “good-to-have” things (without any impact on utility, we can live without many of these).
M&M and TaMo – Known for making robust vehicles but sans refinement and little or no customer experience – CV, fleet and tractor owners would not mind, but we do – they are learning and improving – results are so much visible. Safety in cars manufactured by the duo is kind of given – paaaanch (5*) – already challenged the dominancy of MSL and Hyundai. How assiduously TaMo transformed NEXON since its launch to the number 1 SUV (all SUV segments combined) now is commendable. Their investment in EVs is going to be game changer – but trust me only after a decade or more. We are still building roads gentlemen. EV infra is a distant dream.
Toyota – Despite being no. 1 in the world (always for a reason), it never invested significantly in India’s mass market segments – quite conservative – happy with a few successful vehicles – enough to stay afloat and grow moderately – no one can ever take “reliability and safety” badge from it – tie up with MSL for rebadged products was a great move to test waters and roll out hybrids (more of its own versions to follow). Someone in the forum questioned Toyota’s ability to survive in India after pulling out the most reliable vehicle in India – Innova and apparent failure of Hyryder – trust me, they are smarter than us and know exactly what to do – let’s not be judgmental. Remember Qualis? Even a rebadged Brezza (Urban Cruiser, the outgoing model) sold over 6,700 units in July 2022 especially when new Brezza was already available.
VW – Never gets its engineering and performance wrong (top notch) - had to increase VFM and wider reach proposition – Rapid, Taigun and Kushaq are great examples and many to follow…
Honda – They really need to shed that “attitude”. While City hybrid is a valiant attempt given its an iconic brand, in a world of SUVs and MPVs, not sure how long it will sustain. Someone told me – marketing at its best is to find a product that customers want and at its worst find customers for a product.
Others – all others are following all or a combination of strategies highlighted supra. Appreciate that.
Overall, I am happy to see the convergence and fierce competition in these segments – makes all comparable and gives us options to choose from.
Coming specific to the SUV car we are discussing, I think its actually an URBAN CRUISER HYRYDER – made for city with high FE, can cruise easily, high GC helps manage tough Indian roads (I know how it is in Bangalore) and hybrid technology provides a better (than EV) transition to environment friendly urban mobility.
A few important pointers that I believe are:
1) Being a Toyota car – reliability, safety and reasonable cost of ownership are given even if the car gives “more Maruti than Toyota look.” Toyota will never let dilute these USPs.
2) Looks are subjective – I really liked the Hyryder overall. Some may like Grand Vitara or Creta or Seltos and more – I like all these though.
3) A lot has been said about “Maruti-like, not-so-plush interior features.” Without seeing (the taste of the pudding is in the eating), I believe if my 9-year-old petrol Etios’ (all experts called it really cheap, frugal and fraught with cost cutting) interior and exterior and everything survived (save usual wear and tear and tyres) without much fuss in Bengaluru’s great road, I have no reasons to believe these are not robust enough to live or outlive their life. Beyond this, all opinions are subjective and purely personal.
4) FE of Hyryder/Grand Vitara is for real given this is strong Hybrid – I mean the more you drive in city (B2B or otherwise) the closer the actual mileage will be against the claimed 28 kmpl. Exactly opposite happens with ICE vehicles in city (lets limit to comparable ones). This is because of the technology employed – 60% usage on electric/EV mode. So, the higher mileage is not just some innovation on ICE – it is due to strong hybrid. Hence, the troikas (Honda, Suzuki and Toyota) lobbying with North Block for tax relief/incentive is tenable and should be considered. Read this: As EVs Struggle To Win Indian Hearts, Honda Demands Tax Cut For Hybrid Vehicles (outlookindia.com)
5) Second row of most SUVs in this segment (especially for those who have always used sedans) is a compromise and it is always a point of less claustrophobic or more. If you see the dimension of Hyryder, its is fairly comparable with rest all and I never read in any review that says second row can accommodate three adults easily and has ample head and leg rooms. However, for tall people, this can be a deal breaker unless the back support recline is enough to offset the cramped headroom.
6) Boot space is a dampener, but I think Toyota-MSL were quite wary of that. As suggested by Vidyut, some additional space with optimization can be carved out, but on any given day it will be a compromise.
7) On pricing, I think if partnership with MSL has resulted in perceived compromise in quality of package then it could be a blessing when it comes to pricing. MSL is likely to keep the pricing of smart hybrid competitive even if it means overlap with Brezza (Arena) and XL6 (Nexa). Add some 2-3 lakhs premium over that for strong hybrid. That said, MSL will have more difficulty in positioning Grand Vitara than Toyota in positioning Hyryder. There is a huge space for Toyota to position this car. Given this, Toyota will have limited room to add premium. Prospective MSL customers will have to do a lot of math and brain wrenching to decide between mild vs strong hybrid. For Toyota customers – it should be simple as long as price is competitive. We all have a fair indication of price based on media leaks and guesstimates.
8) On performance, 3 cylinders and NVH – This could definitely dissuade enthusiasts (I am a bit though) – never had any difficulty is cruising at 120-140 kmph on highways (it does not beep also being an old car). I believe all BHPian are enthusiasts albeit at different levels of degree – is it really that difficult to add performance or rather leave performance undiluted in their utter zeal for fuel economy? They should have discussed with VW folks.
To sum up – this is a strong contender – I will certainly “taste” it and then decide whether to bite or wait for them to learn and do course correction in next avatar or model (say HYCROSS).
Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 10th October 2022 at 15:21.
Reason: Kindly add a translation of any vernacular comments for our broader audience. Thanks.