Big car / Small car / Big car
If you took a photo of the super-modern SUV, supermini Toyota Yaris Cross without any sense of scale (like below), you could be fooled into thinking it was a closer relative to the larger Toyota RAV4. In reality, it may be smaller but it certainly has big ideas and no shortage of character.
The Yaris name is now on three cars in the Toyota range, the first is the supermini, then there is the über cool hot hatch and now this one, the ‘Cross’. It’s big on tech & big on performance and I really enjoyed driving it from the get-go, its hybrid drivetrain is sooo smooth and while it’s not super revved, driving on the open road is just as good as its proposition to be a small SUV / big city car.
Its cockpit is comfortable and the raised driving position means all-round visibility is good too. The car is sturdy and well-balanced, it’s intuitive and felt like a friendly and familiar companion after just a short space of time behind the wheel. We headed to sunny Skegness through windy B-roads and there wasn’t a sniff of driver fatigue to be had in either direction.
I tested an Automatic Four-wheeled Drive, Yaris Cross (with Tech Pack) – it’s built on the same small-car TNGA platform as the regular Yaris supermini and the power comes from a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine linked to a CVT transmission while an electric generator coupled with a motor (capable of 79bhp) sit next to each other on the front axle.
It’s actually surprising how much non-motorway driving can be done using electric power and it’s even possible to achieve the official 65mpg figure given by Toyota. The top speed is a fairly sedate 105mph and the 0-62mph (100km/h) time is also a steady 11.8 seconds even though somehow it feels faster.
To keep things simple, Toyota has kept driving modes simple – there are ‘Normal’ and ‘ECO drive settings’, along with ‘Power’ for when you need a bit more, erm power. There is also an EV mode that will push extra regeneration back into the battery when you brake, cleverly marked ‘B’.
The interior of the car is plush rather than luxurious, but the seats are comfortable and the usual high Toyota build quality is noticeable throughout. The ‘Tech pack’ full kit is exhaustive (see below for the full list) and includes adaptive cruise control, reversing camera, Air-con, LED lights, aluminium roof rails and 17-inch alloy wheels. In fact, it’s probably easier to say what it doesn’t include rather than what it does – (ejector seat, revolving number plates and machine guns). The one thing Toyota has rightly updated is the infotainment system and while it’s not as bleeding edge as some other (more expensive) motors it just works, superbly. Android Auto and ‘Apple CarPlay’ integrate seamlessly and the car set-up screens are functional and nice to look at and there’s not a joystick in sight.
There are a few things worth considering, the boot is reasonable if not spectacular and if you have a couple of tall people in the front, the rear seat leg room becomes fairly tight for the three adult passengers in the back, especially if you were heading out on a long journey. And while I know aesthetics are subjective, for me the Yaris Cross is a bit too quirky looking and froggy style-wise to really fall in love with. Having said that my partner really liked its exterior stylings, and obviously, she has really good taste.
Despite its minor flaws, there is a lot to like about the Yaris Cross and even in these crazy fuel price times with a good eco-driving technique you can clock up the miles without clocking up the credit card balance too much. It does have credible rivals to consider too, such as the Hyundai Kona hybrid and the Renault Captur E-Tech, but if you are looking for an SUV cross that is leading the way, this little big car could be just the ticket.
7″ Multi-information display screen / Multimedia, audio, telephone and voice recognition switches on steering wheel / Pre-collision system enhanced with emergency steering assist / My T Connected services / Road sign assist – RSA / 8.2″ multimedia system with Smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android auto / Reversing camera / Multi-information display switches on steering wheel / Lane trace assist / Full range intelligent adaptive cruise control / Electric power steering / eCall emergency system / Driver attention alert system / Bluetooth connectivity / Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
DAB Digital radio / USB connection / 6 speakers / Exterior Features / Rear wiper / Rear side wing doors / Rain sensor / 3rd brake light / LED rear light guide / LED front light guide / LED daytime running lights guide / Front and rear electric windows with auto up/down function / Auto high beam [AHB] with on/off switch / Black upper front grille / Black Shark-fin antenna /Automatic headlights /Auto windscreen wipers / Auto high beam assist /Aluminium roof rails / Acoustic windscreen glass /Body colour rear bumper /Body colour door handles / Electric adjustable heated door mirrors /Follow me home headlights / Rear LED lights with sequential indicators /Rear auto power windows with anti jam protection /Privacy glass
Manually retractable door mirrors / LED projector headlights /LED front fog lights / Front auto power windows with anti jam protection
Soft tonneau cover /Rear cup holders / Mirror on driver and passenger sun visor /Manual telescopic and tilting steering wheel /Light blue ambient lighting on front doors / Leather gearshift /Rear head restraints / Height adjustable driver’s seat Single front passenger seat / 3 seat bench in 2nd row / Hooks for luggage /holding belts / Height adjustable front passenger seat / Front head restraints /3 spoke leather steering wheel / Front cup holders / Front console box / Footwell in light blue ambient lighting / Centre console in light blue ambent lighting / Black roof lining / Auto air conditioning / 40:20:40 split folding rear seat / 2x / Rear coat hooks / 12v power outlet / Emergency brake light system (EBS) / Tyre pressure warning system
Traction control / Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) 8 airbags: Driver & passenger’s airbags, dual / side curtain airbags, side impact airbags, front centre airbag / Pre-collision system with pedestrian and / cyclist detection / Electronic parking brake / 3×3 point rear seat belts / ABS+EBD+Brake assist / Driver and passenger side airbags / Rear passenger side airbags / Driver and passenger front airbags / Driver / and passenger central airbags / Rear door child safety locks
Keyless smart entry with push button start
Tyre repair kit
Fuel Tank 36 litres / Mpg Combined 62 mpg / Mpg Extra High 45 mpg / Mpg High 72 mpg / Mpg Low 88v mpg / Mpg Medium 83 mpg
Power116 bhp / Battery TypeLithium-ion / 0 to 62 mph – 11 seconds / Torque89 lb ft
Top speed106 mph
Insurance Group 12E
5 Star Safety Rating
For more info visit www.toyota.co.uk/new-cars/yaris-cross