As mentioned earlier, the Urban Cross is available with two engine options. First, let’s talk diesel. It is the same tried and tested 1.3-litre Multijet mill which produces 92bhp of max power and 209Nm of peak torque. The pronounced lag till the engine spins past 2,000rpm is still very much there. As is the strong mid-range past this point. So, even though the Urban Cross might not have the most linear of power deliveries, the nature and potency of the torque does give it good legs on the highway.
One can cruise at 100kmph at 2,400rpm in the fifth gear and simply step on the throttle to make an overtake. Moreover, the engine remains relatively quiet and refined even at three-digit speeds courtesy a nicely insulated cabin. City driving isn’t as pleasant. One has to constantly work the five-speed manual gearbox to make progress. And even though the clutch is light to operate, the rubbery gearshifts don’t make the constant shifting enjoyable. The engine itself tends to get noisy too when revved.
The petrol on the other hand is a joy to hear when revved. It is also pretty quick. The 138bhp 1.4-litre T-jet helps the Urban Cross post a 0-100kmph time of under 10 seconds. It has a slight lag while the turbo spools up, but from thereon the engine packs in a good punch. All that torque being sent to the front wheel means there is some torque steer under heavy acceleration. But it brings more of a smile than a frown.
Both the petrol and the diesel Urban Cross versions also score well on the ride and handling front. The ride is pliant and quiet and the car does not bounce around. The 205mm high ground clearance is a boon too, especially on our monsoon-ravaged roads. At higher speeds, it has a settled, confident ride with hardly any wallowing or cross wind buffeting affecting the car. The Urban Cross isn’t too bad around corners either. Not a lot of body roll, a steering that weighs up nicely, and brakes that bite well and tyres that aren’t short on grip. Between the diesel and petrol though, we’d take the petrol. Not only is it quicker, it also gets disc brakes all round instead of just at the front as is the case with the diesel.