Cars/ First-drive/ Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder | Hybrid Highness

Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder | Hybrid Highness

Toyota aspires to position itself firmly with its first-in-class hybrid technology

For

Efficiency,Ride Comfort

Against

Performance , Boot Space

Driving

Efficiency over performance!

Toyota has brought its tried-and-tested 1.5-litre engine found in the internationally-sold Yaris hatchback. The engine running on an Atkinson Cycle produces 91 horses and 122 Nm of torque and is paired with an electric motor that produces 79hp and 141 Nm of torque. To read about an Atkinson cycle, click here.There are two motors, out of which one is a starter generator connected to the engine, and the other is connected to the transaxle that drives the wheel. The latter aids in regeneration during deceleration and supplements the engine with the additional required energy. 115 horsepower! Yes, that’s the total combined power output from the hybrid system. Agreed, on paper, it’s not an appreciable number, but the boost from the electric motor right from zero RPM compensates for the less power and torque from the engine. However, the acceleration is not brisk, which clearly reflects that the Toyota Hyryder is tuned toward fuel efficiency rather than performance.

A dedicated energy flow meter is displayed on the instrument cluster and on the infotainment screen showing how the motor and engine work in tandem to power the wheels. During deceleration, you can clearly notice the motor juicing up the 177V battery pack. And, of course, when pedalled spiritedly, the engine and motor work together to power the wheels. We encountered a fuel efficiency of 16-17kmpl with our spirited driving style.

The Urban Cruiser Hyryder comes with two driving modes in addition to the normal mode – Eco and Power. The modes are the derivatives of ECU mapping, and power modifies according to the change in modes. However, we didn’t find any significant difference whatsoever. Interestingly there is a dedicated EV mode, which drives the car up to 2-3km with a speed limit of around 30-40km. The EV mode will be activated only if the battery is charged more than 60 per cent. And as soon as the battery depletes more than 60 per cent, the hybrid mode is activated. Note- you need to be very gentle with the pedal to drive in the EV mode. Well, quite honestly, I found this mode to be a little gimmicky, and one would barely use it in the real world. There is also a ‘B’ mode on the gear lever, which not only assists with hill hold or hill assist but also maximizes regenerative braking. Wherein the electric motor changes its polarity and acts as a generator that charges up the battery by converting kinetic energy into electrical energy. The regenerative braking effect isn’t strong, and you must press the brake pedal to stop the vehicle completely.

Step on the gas, and you will notice the lively pickup, but it struggles to build up speed due to a lack of mid-range and high-end grunts. On top of that, the engine gets quite noisy and annoying. The three-cylinder engine isn’t refined, and the rubber-band effect makes driving quite sluggish. Plan overtakes cautiously, as the Hyryder doesn’t like to be driven enthusiastically. And as I already mentioned, drive it gently, and the car will bless you with praiseworthy fuel economy.

Take me on a Road-trip!

The Urban Cruiser Hyryder gets the MacPherson struts in the front and a Torsion beam at the rear. The suspension is well-mannered, wherein you can feel the softness of the springs when going over the bad patches of the road. Spring rates and dampers are well-engineered to provide a comfortable experience. We also took the Hyryder through rough patches, though only for a shorter stretch, and it didn’t cause any sort of discomfort whatsoever. The Hyryder feels stable cruising at triple-digit speeds and manages to tackle the undulations pretty well.

The steering feel is responsive, and feedback is quite confidence-inspiring. The body roll is also minimal. The only drawback, though, is the self-centering of the steering wheel. It lacks uniformity and becomes a little jerky. While cruising at highway speed, the steering weighs out a bit, which further aids stability.

The Hyryder gets the ventilated disc at the front and the solid disc at the rear. The braking offers decent bite, but due to regeneration, the braking feedback is a little different. However, you get acclimatized to the feel and feedback of brakes quite effortlessly after initial impressions.

 



TopGear Magazine Jan 2023