By Breda Corrigan
The Toyota Yaris Cross is a mix of two things, small hybrid car and SUV. It combines compact dimensions with the ability to run solely on electric power at low speeds, while the option of a four-wheel drive model ensures the new Yaris Cross is a truly authentic urban adventurer. Having recently been awarded the coveted title of World Urban Car 2022, the Yaris Cross stands out from the crowd for all the right reasons. The all-hybrid Yaris Cross range is designed to be the world’s safest compact car, with a segment-first centre airbag which protects passengers from bumping into each other in the event of a side impact.
The Toyota Yaris Cross is longer and wider than the standard Yaris hatchback which it is based on, and offers a raised driving position that is important to many SUV buyers. Competition in the compact SUV market segment is strong, with the Ford Puma, Renault Capture, Peugeot 2008, Hyundai Kona and the Opel Mokka just some of the talented rivals to the Yaris Cross. Although built upon the same TNGA platform as the Yaris hatchback, the Yaris Cross benefits from styling influences from the much larger RAV4 SUV. At the front there are neat lights and grille, with indicators set into fake vents at the outer edges of the bumper. Blending bold, sophisticated looks with commanding views of the road, the Yaris Cross offers genuine SUV attitude on a scale that fits perfectly into the city and beyond.
Substantial Cabin & Boot Space.
Inside, the Yaris Cross is similar in many respects to the Yaris hatch, with many instruments and infotainment features carried over, but the cabin looks and feels more substantial than that of the standard Yaris. Space up front is impressive and the front seats are hugely comfortable too, while the space on offer to rear seat passengers is pretty much in and around the class norm. The 397-litre boot space behind the rear seats is impressive, and is aided by the inclusion of a split-level floor and 40:20:40 split folding seat backs for even greater practicality.
Four Trim Variants.
Available in a choice of Luna, Luna Sport, Sol and Adventure trim variants, the new Yaris Cross comes as standard in front-wheel drive format, with the range-topping Adventure variant available with the option of intelligent All-Wheel Drive (i-AWD) which automatically switches from front-wheel drive to all-wheel drive depending on road conditions. Seamless wireless mobile device connectivity through Toyota Smart Connect features industry-standard cross-device support for the first time on a core Toyota model. In terms of safety, all trim variants benefit from the standardisation of Toyota Safety Sense 2, which provides all occupants with the very latest crash prevention and protection systems should they be called upon in an emergency. The hybrid powertrain in the Yaris Cross is based on the 1.5-litre petrol engine which debuted in the new Yaris hatchback. Producing 116bhp and 120Nm of torque, the 3-cylinder engine enables the Yaris Cross to sprint from 0-100km/h in 11.2-seconds, and can return a fuel efficiency figure as low as 4.5l/100km on a WLTP combined driving cycle. An on-board EV indicator is a really engaging feature that allows drivers to see when they are driving in pure zero-emission EV mode, and this can be up to 80% of the time according to Toyota.
Test Car Details.
My test car was a new Yaris Cross Adventure (2WD) in Pearl Ice White pearlescent paintwork with contrasting black door mirror casings and roof, along with dark grey body trim and stylish 18” dark grey alloy wheels. Thanks to a relatively high seating position, the outward view from within the Yaris Cross is excellent. This great visibility combines with Toyota’s lightweight steering and compact dimensions to allow for easy manoeuvrability in and out of tight parking spaces, all of which is helped by the standard reversing camera to make the process even easier. The Yaris Cross feels punchy around town, so you can confidently nip in and out of gaps in the traffic. A firm suspension set-up can make the Yaris Cross feel a bit restless on patchy road surfaces, but it settles down very well on the open road. Additionally, the firmer set-up means that the car doesn’t roll too much through corners, and it feels well planted on the road as a result. The Yaris Cross can run on electric power alone at speeds up to 128km/h, the distance of which will depend on the power in the hybrid powerpack at the time. Overall refinement is good, with the petrol engine only really making itself heard when the accelerator pedal is forcibly pressed. Key standard equipment in range-topping Adventure trim includes aluminium roof rails, front & rear under-runs, a 10” coloured Head Up Display (HUD), black partial leather upholstery, upper instrument panel, and roof lining, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, DAB radio with 6 speakers, rear privacy glass, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, and adaptive cruise control, along with many more comfort, convenience, safety and infotainment features.
Verdict, Pricing & Warranty.
Toyota’s reputation for bulletproof reliability is a well-known phenomenon, and their hybrid engine expertise is second-to-none too, so the new Yaris Cross truly has hit the ground running – so to speak. It is an attractive compact SUV, with the benefit of an economical hybrid powertrain, along with the option of all-wheel drive capability for owners who plan on taking their Yaris Cross off the beaten track at times. It is extremely well built, very spacious and is great to drive too. The all-new, all-hybrid Toyota Yaris Cross is available in Toyota dealerships nationwide, and is priced from just €28,050. All Toyota passenger cars come with a 3 year/100,000km warranty on mechanical components (with the exception of wear & tear items) along with a 12 year anti-corrosion warranty, and a 5 year/100,000km warranty on Hybrid Components.