You might not have seen one on Irish roads just yet but the fresh faced Toyota Yaris Cross is an all-new model that blends Toyota’s small car experience with it’s SUV design and engineering knowledge. It has been developed specifically with European customers in mind from the word go and aims to capitalise on the key qualities of the new generation Yaris hatchback. This philosophy includes maximising interior space and practicality whilst also giving it the fourth generation hybrid electric powertrain, excellent safety standards and making it fun to drive! To do this this Toyota used its knowhow from over 27 years of creating the RAV4 with their intelligent all wheel drive (AWD-i) system and applied it to this B-segment car. The European market for B-segment SUVs appears to be growing steadily at present and Toyota expects growth to continue with many customers downsizing from larger C-segment models or seeking an alternative to B-segment hatches in vehicles that better suit their needs.
So what do we see when we approach the Yaris Cross, is it in essence just a normal Yaris on stilts? Well no, not exactly, the front end has a strong modern look with upper and lower grilles forming a completely new face. Slim and sharp shaped headlights use LED projector lamps with separate, vertical daytime running lights and circular LED fog lights set at the bottom corners of the lower grille. Walking around to the rear and you will see a wide tailgate and a square central section that makes for a practical loading area. There’s actually 397 litres of cargo space available and you can drop the rear seats to fit a maximum of 1,097 litres. The rear lights use LED technology and sequential turn indicators on higher spec models.
For more perspective the Yaris Cross comes in 95mm taller at 1,595mm, 20mm wider (1,765mm) and 240mm longer (4,180mm) than a standard Yaris. Ground clearance also jumps by 25mm to 170mm to stay true to that SUV design. Opening the drivers door and you are greeted by a host of new trim finishes on the door panels, arm rests and even the A pillars. The centre console has the multimedia display north of the shift lever and incorporates the heating and driving function controls. This Yaris Cross uses Toyota’s latest multimedia system with a nine-inch, High Definition touchscreen display for easier visibility and has an embedded SIM card that provides constant connection. The Drive Mode Select and all-wheel drive mode switches are grouped immediately in front of the shift lever and within easy reach of the driver.
As mentioned Toyota’s fourth generation hybrid electric technology unit powers the Yaris Cross. It’s a sophisticated three-cylinder, 1.5-litre hybrid engine that has the same basic structure and operation as the larger two-litre unit featured in the Toyota Corolla and C-HR. The power is made low down in the rev range and you get 90bhp at 5,500rpm and 120Nm between 3,600 and 4,800 rpm. Maximum output when combining engine and electric motors is 114bhp. Fuel economy and CO2 emissions (WLTP combined) are 54.6-64.2mpg fuel economy and 100- 117g/km, which is very impressive!
The Yaris Cross uses the latest generation Toyota Safety Sense active safety and driver assistance system which are are provided as standard on all versions. It adopts a series of new and improved measures that can detect a wider range of common accident risks, warn the driver and initiate measures to prevent an impact, or lessen the consequences if a collision is unavoidable. Buyers can expect Pre-Collision System (PCS), Full-range Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert (LDA) and Lane Trace Assist (LTA), Road Sign Assist (RSA), Automatic High Beam (AHB) along with the usual gaggle of airbags and a strong safety cell to keep you and yours safe!
Irish buyers will have a choice of 4 different specifications to choose from kicking off with Luna from €28,050. The next price walk up to Luna Sport for €31,030 will add Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, 17-inch bi-tone Alloys and privacy glass to name but a few. Our test car was the Sol model priced at €34,390 and featured heated sports seats and a 9-inch multimedia display. The top of the range Adventure model features the even larger 10-inch display, 18-inch alloys and aluminium roof rails. As always various PCP and finance options are available from your local Toyota dealer.
The introduction of Yaris Cross has been an interesting one really. It not just extends the Toyota Yaris family, joining the hatchback Yaris and GR Yaris but also gives Toyota the largest hybrid electric SUV model range on the market. With the compact C-HR, mid-size RAV4 and seven-seat Highlander this really gives buyers adequate choice from one manufacturer. It carries forward some the best bits from the Yaris hatchback to include the powertrain, safety systems and generous space but is it enough to make you really want one? After spending a week with the Yaris Cross we can say it’s a perfectly capable machine but no more so than the standard Yaris. Unless you need that added height or ground clearance for where you live, we feel the normal Yaris will serve you perfectly well. For us we understand why Toyota brought the Yaris Cross to the market. It wanted to compete with the likes of the Renault Captur, VW T-Cross and perhaps the Ford Puma but our choice should you want to stick with Toyota would be to opt for the much better looking C-HR. The striking design of this vehicle makes it a clear favourite in our eyes. Then again we could be wrong and car design is subjective and as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Either way you know with a Toyota you are getting a pedigree machine backed up by a standard 3-year warranty and up to 10 years’ extended hybrid battery care warranty. This should give you further peace of mind!
Normal Yaris as good!