Here are a few things you should know about the Toyota Urban Cruiser recently launched by Toyota Kenya Limited .
I will also explain why the nameplate “Urban Cruiser” is not new in Toyota’s line up.
It’s not a Toyota
This compact SUV is a re-badged and face-lifted Suzuki Vitara Brezza.
It is of Indian Origin
There is a twist here. This car is a Suzuki by DNA. It is assembled in the city of Gurugram in India by Maruti Suzuki, Suzuki Motor Corporation’s Indian subsidiary, however it is sold by Toyota’s Indian subsidiary called Toyota Kirlosker Motor. In fact this vehicle is not sold in the Japanese Domestic Market.
Name borrowed from variant of the famous Toyota IST
The Toyota IST XP 100 series which is a car loved by many, was sold in the European markets between 2007 to 2014 as the Toyota Urban Cruiser, and it was ( and still is ) a pretty and reliable car. So just like they riveted the name “Starlet” on the Indian Suzuki Baleno and launched it as the 2020 Toyota Starlet. they did the same with the Toyota Urban Cruiser.
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Let’s talk about value for money on this car.
It might be a bit hard to convince Kenyans to buy this car with it’s prices starting at Ksh. 2,700,000 and this is why;
It is a pretty basic car; 1500cc engine under the hood; with not so many extras.
What can Sh. .,7 million buy you in the foreign used car market? Well, it can get you a 7 year old Subaru Forester XT with a sun roof, AWD, Subaru’s eye-sight technology and so many other sophisticated safety features. In spite of the Urban Cruiser being brand new, the foreign used vehicles within that price tag namely Subaru Forester XT, Hyundai Santa FE, Mitsubishi Outlander, Mazda CX-5, Volvo XC60 have way much more to offer. The most sophisticated safety feature on the new Urban Cruiser is Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) a technology that is 22 years old now.
It is a good car, not bad to cruise around, but the biggest set back to it remains to be its price tag.
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Until the local dealerships and the government come together and find out how to bring down the costs of brand new vehicles, many Kenyans will stick to foreign used vehicles and the deal ships will continue to have government and other organisations as their primary customers and not the ordinary mwananchi.