|TOYOTA YARIS CROSS 1.5 HYBRID 1.5 DYNAMIC|
|The story: Toyota is to fill the glaring home in its range this autumn with the addition of the Yaris Cross small crossover, slotting in below the C-HR as a crossover sibling to the Yaris hatchback.|
|Key rival:||Ford Puma|
|On sale:||September 2021|
Toyota has been missing out on the action in the rapidly growing and popular world of small crossovers, but has decided now is the time to build on the success of the likes of its hybrid Corolla, Yaris and C-HR, and plunge into the sector.
The new Yaris Cross arrives in the UK in September, but Toyota has let us have an early drive of a near-production car ahead of the right-hand-drive vehicles arriving
in the UK, such is the importance of its latest model. Hence the last hints of camouflage on the test car that’s not quite entered full production.
As should be expected, the Yaris Cross deploys a 116hp hybrid powertrain. Two-wheel-drive versions are expected to get below 100g/km, while four-wheel-drive models should beat 105g/km. Toyota says its big engineering priorities for the Cross were that it’s comfortable, compact and spacious, has top levels of safety, an efficient powertrain, and that it’s fun.
It’s 90mm taller, 20mm wider and 240mm longer than a Yaris hatchback, and combines the styling of Yaris and the larger C-HR crossover to good effect, although there is maybe a little too much shark-nose to the front-end, and the alloys don’t seem to fill the arches quite enough despite being 18 inches in diameter. Nevertheless, it’s a smart design that continues the good work of recent new Toyota models, and the liberal use of black cladding helps emphasise the SUV credentials.
The rear seats are neatly sculpted for extra comfort, although there could be a little more legroom, and the boot is a decent size, but isn’t the most practical of shapes with some intrusion preventing
big square loads from being housed comfortably. What the boot does have is a high degree of flexibility thanks to the very clever 60:40 split boot floor that allows different parts to be set at different heights to prevent smaller or fragile loads from flying around. It’s a simple yet wonderfully effective solution.
The powertrain offers plenty of performance given the modest figures, although it’s not fair to pass judgement on the noise levels in what is a pre-production car. Still, it delivers a composed and secure handling balance, and the hybrid system offers long-established running cost benefits versus petrol or diesel, especially if lower-speed work is the prevalence.