With the new Toyota Yaris Cross, Toyota is getting involved in the booming segment of small SUVs. Its advantage: it is available with a hybrid drive.
Toyota SUV? Sure, Land Cruiser , RAV4 , Highlander or C-HR – Toyota has SUV tradition. The new Cross SUV variant of the popular small car Yaris is set to be just as popular: the mini SUV has been in dealerships since autumn 2021 . Toyota is quite late with its own model and has so far left the field to the assembled competition: VW T-Cross, Seat Arona, Skoda Kamiq , Renault Captur or Nissan Juke have been romping around on the market for a long time.
And the class is so popular that some brands even offer two models: Ford, for example, the Ecosport and the Puma , Hyundai the Kona and the Bayon . Now Toyota also has an offer in this class. What does the Yaris Cross do better than the competition?
With a length of 4.18 meters, it is shorter than a Golf.
Visually, it doesn’t have to hide: it looks modern and with its mighty flared fenders and up to 18-inch wheels it looks like a teenager who is proudly showing off his muscles. The ground clearance has been increased by 30 millimeters compared to the Yaris , which also means a higher seating position. This makes it quite easy to get started – and that’s exactly what most buyers appreciate about this vehicle class.
As much as the Yaris Cross mimics the big SUV and is at least 24 centimeters longer than the normal Yaris: 4.18 meters in length is not really big and is still a very manageable and, above all, parking-friendly size. Golf is ten centimeters longer.
Narrow fund, but large trunk, also 116 hp solo engine.
Feudal space conditions should therefore not be expected. The driver’s seat can be pushed backwards for people up to a height of around 1.90 meters – there is still plenty of room over the head. The interior width is rather narrow. Subjectively, you don’t feel cramped in the Yaris Cross, at least at the front.
At the back, the small interior width and the C-pillar right next to the head limit the feeling of space. Toyota has skipped a sliding rear seat, as offered by the VW T-Cross , which would give the long-legged passengers more freedom of movement, and obviously placed more value on a relatively lavish trunk .
According to Toyota, the luggage compartment holds a good 367 liters when the double loading floor is inserted. Without it, it’s a good 400 – at least for the front-wheel drive version. The all-wheel drive vehicle has to do without the double bottom, because the second electric motor on the rear axle demands its rights here. The ADAC measurement confirms this information approximately: It results in values between 330 and 1090 liters . Good: The rear seat can be split in a 40:20:40 ratio and the trunk cover is foldable, so it can be stowed away to save space when not in use.
Our Test consumption: 5.6 liters/100 km
Definitely, as the test showed. At least when you drive a route on which the hybrid drive can demonstrate its advantages and often use the electric motor. This means that if you drive in the city or across country with a light foot on the accelerator, the standard value can even be undercut. In the test, a three before the decimal point was actually possible. Especially in the city you notice how often the petrol engine takes a break and the electric motor takes over.
Although the full hybrid cannot keep up with an externally chargeable plug-in hybrid in terms of electric range, its battery is far too small for that. The juice of the 0.8 kWh battery only lasts up to a speed of 50 and a range of 1.5 kilometers – enough to drive in zone 30 emission-free.
When driving faster, the petrol engine naturally has to work harder, which results in fuel consumption of eight liters in the Ecotest on the Autobahn. A mere 3.7 l/100 km is measured in the city and 5.0 l/100 km outside of town. All in all, the Cross consumes just under a liter more at 5.6 liters than the streamlined and lighter Yaris. Due to the consistently low proportion of pollutants in the exhaust gas, it has four Ecotest stars.
The Yaris Cross is also available with all-wheel drive
Unlike many of its competitors, the Yaris Cross lives up to its all-terrain looks: it’s available with all-wheel drive as an option . The electric AWD-i system costs an additional 2670 euros with identical equipment. Normally, it only serves the front wheels. So that the rear wheels can also be driven if necessary, there is an additional electric motor on the rear axle. It only delivers 3.9 kW/5.3 hp, which should be enough in difficult road conditions to avoid getting stuck. At the push of a button, the driver can also influence the drive and choose between “Normal”, “Trial” and “Snow”. The system is certainly not intended for real terrain, but it can be of help on snow-covered roads.
Not sporty but Solid driving performance
It is very pleasant that Toyota has largely expelled bad manners from the hybrid system. While previous Toyotas howled when accelerating hard, this is no longer an issue in the Yaris Cross. Of course, it too is equipped with a variable-ratio gearbox , and when you boldly step on the gas, the engine speed initially jumps up. But not as high as in previous models, so it’s not quite as annoying.
Starting off with the hybrid is quick, and this is where the advantage of the immediate torque of the electric motor comes into play. The interaction of combustion engine and electric motor works perfectly. The automatic works pleasantly and ensures smooth transitions – everything works quite harmoniously. The driving performance is not famous , but if you mainly value economy, the 11.2 and 11.8 (all-wheel drive) seconds at 100 km/h shouldn’t bother you any more than “only” 170 km/h top speed.
The steering feels a bit doughy, especially in the middle, so it offers very little feedback here and the middle position cannot be felt blindly either. The suspension comfort looks a bit wooden on some bumps in the road. However, the Yaris Cross passed the avoidance test without any problems and safely.
The Yaris Cross is easy to use
The cockpit of the small SUV is free of surprises. Behind the steering wheel are easy-to-read instruments that do not confuse with excessive information. The touchscreen is easy to use after a short period of getting used to it, is well within the field of vision and is large enough. It’s also good that Toyota has solved the climate control quite conventionally via buttons. And: There is even a fully-fledged head-up display for the more expensive versions, which reflects information such as the speed and speed limit directly on the windshield – and not on a cheap plexiglass pane like the competition. The group of switches for the high-beam assistant, steering wheel heating and tailgate on the left below the steering wheel deserve criticism because they are unfavorably low and not in the driver’s field of vision.
Again Yaris , the Cross is equipped with Toyota Safety Sense , which combines various assistance systems such as distance radar, lane departure warning and emergency braking assistant. Traffic sign recognition is also on board, but unfortunately it doesn’t work particularly reliably. In any case, you shouldn’t trust the displayed speed limit.