Toyota’s Yaris family – supermini & hot-hatch – now has a small SUV, with the arrival of the Yaris Cross, a Yaris on steroids. Quite a bit larger than its supermini brethren, it’s almost as spacious inside as the larger CH-R & offers company car drivers tax-friendly CO2 emissions from 102g/km. Company Car & Van got to grips with one recently & here’s what we thought.
Built on the same TNGA platform as the other Yaris models, it’s powered by a 1.5 litre three cylinder petrol engine with a CVT transmission. The front axle features an electric generator & motor that gives the Cross it’s hybrid powertrain. As a whole, it’s 240mm longer than the standard Yaris, with 60mm added to the front & 180mm to the rear. The ground clearance is 30mm higher & the vehicle is wider & taller overall by 20 & 90mm respectively.
Four choices beginning with Icon, then Design, Excel & finally Dynamic.
All come generously equipped with Icon offering 16″ 10-spoke alloys, Toyota Safety Sense, Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system with 8″ touchscreen, DAB, Bluetooth, six-speaker audio system, Smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay & Android, AutoSmart entry, push-button start, a reversing camera, automatic air con & a 4.2″ multi-information display.
Design adds 17″ dark grey/machined five-double-spoke alloys, LED projector headlights, rear lights & sequential indicators, light blue ambient cabin lighting, aluminium roof rails, black headlining, a 7″ multi-information display & rear privacy glass.
Excel enhances this with the addition of 18″ dark grey/machined five-triple-spoke alloys, a power tailgate with kick sensor, 9″ Toyota Smart Connect multimedia system, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert with auto brake, intelligent parking sensors, a heated steering wheel & front seats, an auto dimming rear view mirror & dual-zone climate control.
Range topping Dynamic offers a more distinctive SUV appearance & can be specified with front or all-wheel drive. It features in addition to Excel, 18″ dark grey five-triple-spoke alloys, a bi-tone paint finish with black roof & the option of intelligent all-wheel drive.
All Yaris Cross models benefit from Toyota Safety Sense active safety & driver assistance systems as standard.
The package includes a Pre-Collision System with pedestrian & cyclist recognition & Emergency Steering Assist; full-range intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control; Lane Departure Alert & Lane Trace Assist; Road Sign Assist & Automatic High Beam. Yaris Cross also come with eCall which can automatically summon emergency services assistance in the event of a serious impact.
We were testing the Dynamic model, which features the 3-cylinder 1.5 hybrid engine, which comes with 114bhp, with the electric motor producing up to 79bhp. Top speed is 105 mph with 0-62mph reached in 11.2 seconds. Fuel consumption is a claimed 54.6-56.5 mg, with CO2 emissions of 112-117.2 g/km.
The cabin features plenty of black, grey & chrome & is unmistakably a Toyota. Quality’s good with decent materials used & straightforward switchgear.
The dashboard is dominated by the touchscreen, which is a big a jump up in quality for Toyota. It comes with clear graphics & fast response to inputs. Underneath the touchscreen, sit narrow air vents & separate climate controls, with a single USB input. Located between the front seats are the gear stick, electric hand brake, Drive & EV mode buttons.
The 397 litre boot features a height-adjustable luggage deck, which can be divided in two. The luggage compartment also has a new flexible belt system to keep items secure when driving.
The cabin feels more spacious than the larger Toyota CH-R & comes with a glove box, centre cubby, under armrest storage, four small door pockets & a couple of drinks holders located between the front seats.
The increased size created by the cars extra 240mm is most noticeable in the cabin, with front seat drivers spoilt for both head & legroom. The rear seats will take three, but only really on shorter journeys. Those in the back have good headroom but taller passengers will struggle if sat behind a tall driver for legroom. The cars extra 25mm of height gives the driver a decent driving position.
In common with many hybrids, the Cross will drive in EV mode up to 30mph, when the petrol engine will kick in. There’s a default driving setting, plus Eco, Power, EV & B, instigated by pulling the gear stick all the way towards you, which increases the regenerative braking effect.
We tried them all out, sticking to Eco mode on the motorway & utilising EV mode & B in town on slower, local routes. Power gives you a little bit more oomph when joining a motorway. A week & 300 miles driven, 200 of which were on the motorway, saw us average 55.3mpg.
The Cross’s small stature means it feels nippier than it actually is. City streets are its bread & butter & the chassis & wheels coped well with the pot-holed & worn-out tarmac locally. Put your foot down & you may notice the CVT gearbox groaning a little. Once up to speed though & the Cross will sit quite happily at motorway speeds.
The on-board Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert & Lane Trace Assist, work well on the motorway, but are best turned off for town & country driving. Talking of the motorway, we tended to set the cruise at 70mph, sit back, relax & let the Cross do the work for you.
My companions, had no complaints about the cars ride or any excess cabin noise upsetting their journey & the bonus of a decent sized boot meant that I was able to transport 4 adults plus bags to a local tennis match in some comfort.
Overall, the Cross won’t set your pulse racing, being more of a solid performer than a superstar, with it’s light, positive steering & decent road handling the stand outs. EV mode will take you a good 30 miles if used carefully & we reckon that if we hadn’t been bombing along the M6 for 200 miles, we could easily have achieved 60+ mpg.
It looks good from every angle & also al versions come very well equipped. Highlight is the much improved infotainment system over Toyota’s of old. From a practical perspective, it feels at least as spacious inside as the larger CH-R & it’s easy to drive. Long journeys were comfortable & the Yaris Cross offers good fuel economy & low CO2 emissions.
We still don’t like the CVT gearbox, although we will concede, that it does work better in smaller Toyota’s. Exterior looks are striking, but sharp angles won’t appeal to all. The interior is little bland.
Existing Yaris & CH-R customers, plus Renault Captur, Hyundai Kona, KIA Stonic & Nissan Juke drivers should take a closer look. You won’t be disappointed. The Cross feels like a grown-up Yaris, with room on board for 4 adults & a family-sized boot. Decent fuel economy & low CO2’s offer those fleet customers not yet ready for full-electric an opportunity to save some money & most importantly, we think it’s a great looking car that punches above it’s weight for practically & price
Overall a Kris Kross 4.25/5
Yaris Cross Icon FWD £22,515
Yaris Cross Design FWD £24,140
Yaris Cross Excel FWD £26,745
Yaris Cross Dynamic FWD £26,465
Yaris Cross Dynamic AWD-i £28,825
With two limited edition models available for 12 months;
Yaris Cross Premiere Edition FWD £28,185
Yaris Cross Premiere Edition AWD-i £30,545