Toyota has entered the hotly-contested compact SUV segment with the all-new Yaris Cross.
Originally due to be revealed at the cancelled Geneva motor show last month, the new Yaris Cross was revealed via an online presentation. Built in France alongside the new Yaris hatchback, the Yaris Cross aims to blend SUV styling with a more compact design than a traditional four-wheel-drive vehicle.
It’s the second model to use Toyota’s latest GA-B platform, which allows for more interior space and practicality within compact exterior dimensions. It’s 24cm longer than the Yaris (despite sharing the same length wheelbase), with overhangs which are 6cm more at the front and 18cm at the rear. A raised driving position is gained thanks to a bump in a ground clearance of 3cm – while the whole vehicle is 9cm taller than the Yaris.
Toyota expects to produce 150,000 Yaris Cross models a year.
Powered by a hybrid powertrain, the Yaris Cross combines a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder Atkinson cycle petrol engine with an electric motor and batteries. Toyota claims that this hybrid technology is more efficient than ever, with emissions for the front-wheel-drive model ‘below 90g/km of CO2’ and 100g/km for the all-wheel-drive version.
Interior pictures of the car show a cabin dominated by a large central screen, which appears to show the inclusion of Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity.
That all-wheel-drive version has been designed to offer more stability in poor conditions and on slippery surfaces. In standard driving, the Yaris Cross is predominantly front-wheel-drive, but when low-grip surfaces are detected, it switches automatically to power the rear wheels too.
Though prices are yet to be announced, expect the Yaris Cross to command a premium over the standard Yaris which comes in from £17,765.
Expert analysis: The small SUV segment is one of the busiest in the new car market. According to The Car Expert’s unque Expert Rating analyser, which aggregates reviews from 21 of the top UK motoring websites, the Ford Puma is the highest-rated car in this class – just ahead of the Volkswagen T-Cross and about 20 other rivals. So the Yaris Cross will have a job ahead of it to stand out in a tough crowd.