Offered with the Toyota Urban Cruiser is a single-engine option – a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated K-Series four-cylinder petrol engine. It makes 103bhp of power at 6,000rpm and can be had either with a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. The one you see in the picture is the latter. This new motor also does duties on quite a few vehicles currently and has proven to be not only refined but also quite amiable to drive. It’s silent on the idle with no vibrations whatsoever to a point that you’d need to double-check whether or not the engine is on.
Pull the lever to D and there’s enough grunt to get going with ease. Although the max torque of 138Nm is accessible in the mid-range, there’s no lag or delay from the motor even lower down the rev-range. The Urban Cruiser picks up the pace with ease and in a linear manner. It’s relatively light too – tipping the scale under 1,130kg – which further helps in quick response without any delay. And so it is quite easy to keep pace with traffic in the city driving conditions. Show it some open roads and the free-revving motor will easily reach the redline with no hassle. But you won’t need to wring it so much since the strong mid-range will see you through most overtakes and at highway speeds.
Thanks to its well-balanced four-cylinder configuration, the K15 motor doesn’t vibrate harshly even when you keep it at a boil all day. You do, however, hear some amount of grumbling from the four-banger but not an unpleasant growl. As for the gearbox, the four-speed unit is a breeze to use. At first, it might not sound adequate, but in real-world driving, it suffices. The shifts aren’t exactly butter-smooth, but they aren’t a reason to complain either. It shifts appropriately and never makes you feel that you are missing out on the action when driving quickly. It likes to shift close to 2,000rpm or earlier.
But, put your foot down and it will hold on to the gear for longer. It also keeps the motor in the rev-range when driving hard and even on downshifts it responds nicely with no noticeable lag. There’s also 'L' and '2' selectable modes on the lever for times when you are encountering steep climb or are on the ghat sections. It holds on to a lower gear without upshifting, hence providing the necessary punch. Sure, when you plan on hooting it around, there will be a few occasions when the gearbox will run out of its couth. But apart from that, there’re no complaints from the cordial transmission.