Euro-designed and built, Toyota’s new Yaris-based hybrid crossover is going worldwide
Toyota is bringing the bravado in a way we haven’t been used to seeing from the Japanese giant in recent years. Not only is it convinced it started the SUV trend with the original RAV4 25 years ago, it’s practically guaranteeing its new Yaris Cross will be a massive sales success.
Making a baby SUV is a pretty easy recipe: use the platform from a supermini (in this case Toyota’s GA-B architecture from the latest Yaris); lift the ride height (it’s 30mm taller than the Yaris); and graft on some chunky styling cues inspired by the other SUVs in your range. The new car’s blocky wheelarches, down-turned face and horizontal rear lights are all seen on the current RAV4.
Given Toyota’s wholesale addiction to hybrid powertrains, you won’t be surprised to learn that the Yaris Cross uses a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and an e-motor for a combined 114bhp; around the same power you get in the Nissan Juke or a mid-range VW T-Cross. But the Yaris Cross has a party piece – an all-wheel-drive option, which is rare on the baby SUV landscape. On that derivative, the hybrid powertrain uses two e-motors – one on each axle – even if the total power output remains the same. Toyota’s pondering a non-hybrid model, but we don’t expect it to arrive in the UK.
The rest of the formula is equally simple: copy the supermini’s cockpit, give the boot some extra capacity and throw in some family-practical touches (as Ford has with the Puma’s wetsuit-ready MegaBox). The Yaris Cross, then, has a smart ’n’ simple interior, a high-set infotainment screen and loads of squidgy plastics from the regular Yaris, plus some handy clip straps in the boot. The all-wheel-drive model will have a slightly smaller boot in terms of volume, due to that second e-motor, but Toyota promises the difference will be negligible. Want one? The car’s due in the UK mid-2021, for around £22k. Toyota’s eyeing up 150,000 European conquest sales in the first year of sale – eight per cent of the baby crossover market.