Interior, quality and features
They may be called subcompact SUVs but those who buy them will use the space on offer to the fullest hence this area is very important. Here the Urban Cruiser claws it back with a wide and spacious rear seat. It has the best legroom and also the airiest cabin with the ability to sit three passengers easily. The Magnite and Sonet come in together while the Magnite has a slight advantage for the legroom with the wide rear seat while the Sonet lacks the sense of space that the other two have and is best used as a four-seater. The Sonet has a massive boot though and scores over others here.
Since the Magnite and the Urban Cruise do without diesel, we will concentrate on petrol which by the way, the Sonet offers the most in options. Alongside the diesel manual and automatic, the Sonet comes with a 1.2l petrol and a 1.0 turbo unit. The turbo unit is the one to go for which has either an iMT and a DCT 7-speed automatic. The Magnite comes with either a 1.0 petrol or a 1.0 turbo petrol. Only the turbo petrol Magnite gives you the option of a CVT auto while a 5-speed manual is standard. The Urban Cruiser has only one 1.5l petrol but it is either available with a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. If you enjoy driving then all three are not bad choices. The Sonet feels the fastest along with the most refined engine here though. The turbo petrol is refined for city use but also has power when you push it. The DCT gearbox is convenient and the best option in terms of performance or mileage. The Sonet also has drive and traction modes.
The Magnite with the turbo manual is the more fun to drive car with a punchy performance while the CVT is less fun but more relaxing. Both hide turbo lag well but the Sonet is more refined while the Magnite is slightly more sprightly. The Urban Cruiser cannot match the other two for the turbo power but the 1.5l engine has just about enough to keep up and the manual version is quite fun to drive. Not so the 4-speed auto as it is slow.
The Sonet is the best handling and feels the most agile while the Urban Cruiser has the better ride with the tougher suspension. The Magnite feels more like an agile hatchback in its character. In terms of mileage, the Magnite manual will give 15-16 kmpl while the CVT is around or slightly less. The Urban Cruiser with the automatic has a mild hybrid and gets some excellent mileage figures of 15 kmpl in the real world. The Sonet manages both performance and efficiency with the DCT coming in at 14/15 when driven in normal mode while sport lowers it.
The Magnite is the most affordable way to park a subcompact SUV on your driveaway with prices starting at Rs 5.4 lakhs and going all the way to Rs 9.4 lakh. A reasonably loaded compact SUV at below Rs 10 lakh is rare but the CVT Magnite turbo petrol is exactly that. If you are on a tighter budget then the Magnite is a good choice and it does not even feel built to a price. However, if you want a “bigger” SUV then the Urban Cruiser fits the bill even though it is down on features and quite expensive (Rs 8.5- 11.5 lakh) while the automatic is a bit thirsty. It is the most spacious and the Toyota badge means it will give fuss-free ownership for years But a subcompact SUV should be more than that. It should be feature-packed and great to drive plus more importantly look/feel expensive from the word go. The Sonet (Rs 6.7- 13.2 lakh) is exactly that with its looks, long feature list, a huge number of options when it comes to engines or even an automatic gearbox! Yes, the top-spec Sonet seems a bit pricey but you really get what you pay for and the one we would get in this company.