Toyota have given the Yaris some ‘high’ intensity training to strengthen and condition the functionality of the hatch and created the Yaris Cross SUV. Critics of SUVs say they are too large and inefficient for our urban areas, but does this apply to the Yaris Cross Urban Hybrid that I recently drove?
Measuring just over four metres long and less than 1.8 metres wide this nippy little SUV is powered by a 1.5 litre, 3-cylinder hybrid engine paired with a Continuously Variable Transmission. I found the CVT to be a bit rough and jerky on initial takeoff, but once the Yaris got moving it is smooth enough. Using 91RON petrol the engine produces an adequate 85kW (combined power) and 120Nm of torque. The all-wheel drive variant that I drove has a claimed combined fuel efficiency is 4.0L/100km and for time with the Yaris Cross I used just 5.4L/100km.
The Toyota hybrid system charges while you drive so there is no need to plug it in at the end of the day. The battery is engaged and disengaged automatically by the hybrid system to boost your fuel efficiency or you can select to drive on EV mode under certain driving conditions. The other drive modes available include Power and Eco, plus the AWD also gets Snow and Trail mode. But as the Urban spec Yaris Cross is fitted with 18” wheels I wouldn’t be heading too far off road in this small SUV.
Just like CrossFit exercise, which uses movements that you perform in your day-to-day life, the Yaris Cross works with you. Whether it’s the smart entry and start system including a gesture open boot that you can open without touching anything or the connectivity offered by Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, you will be sure to find the Yaris Cross easy to live with.
One feature that I would not be able to live with though is the dark brown synthetic leather used on the seats and dash and unfortunately there are no other trim options available. The brown felt-like material on the door easily got dust on it from my hands when I used the small-sized door handles, which I found a little tight to access.
On the plus side, the seats in the Urban variant are heated, something that I really appreciate in winter. The driver’s seat also has power adjustment for recline, forward/back and height, while the passenger seat only has manual adjustment for recline and forward/back. For me the lack of height adjustment is a disadvantage as I felt I was sitting up too high in the passenger seat.
There are plenty of storage cubbies and options in the Yaris Cross and if you have been out doing some CrossFit exercise you will be pleased to know that the door cubby in the front holds a good-sized solid drink bottle. There is another drink bottle holder in the top of the arm rest, but my elbow kept hitting this, plus there are two rigid cup holders in the centre console. At the front of the centre console is a hard plastic storage cubby and if you placed your phone here it would slide around. Problem is, this is where the two USB ports and one 12V outlet are located. For holding your car parking ticket there is a handy slot to the right-hand side of the steering wheel.
The 7″ colour touchscreen display gives you access to Toyota Connected Services and satellite navigation with SUNA traffic channel. One thing I could not work out how to do was to turn off the voice warnings for when I was entering a school zone, etc. This is a good feature if you are in an area that you don’t know, but an annoying one when you are driving around your local community.
Media sources include AM/FM, DAB+, USB, Bluetooth and Miracast. You can use voice recognition to operate some functions on the infotainment and I found this worked well for making calls and setting a destination on the sat nav. But like many other car companies the image on the voice control button on the steering wheel is a masculine-looking silhouette.
Other controls on the steering wheel enable you to navigate the 4.2″ Multi Information Display on the driver’s dash, make/hang up calls, change the media source and volume and operate the all-speed adaptive cruise control. The Urban Yaris Cross also includes a head-up display for the driver displaying speed and other information.
The rear seats have an adequate amount of headroom for adults and leg room is a bit tight. There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but due to the width of Yaris Cross only two car seats would fit here in all likelihood. This also means that the central seat can be folded down as an arm rest with two rigid cup holders. Like the front doors there is good-sized drink bottle storage in the rear door cubbies as well. Children may be unhappy not to get central air vents or any power outlets for devices, but parents will be like that the mat goes over the entire rear floor for easy cleaning.
In addition to gesture open, the boot can also be opened and closed using the button under the boot lid, on the key fob or in the cabin. The boot is an adequate size for a small SUV and would fit the weekly shop or a stroller and a small shop. If you need extra storage for longer items, the rear seats have a 40:20:40 split folding mechanism. There are only two basic hooks in the boot, a light and under the boot floor there is a tyre repair kit.
For safety on our urban streets the Yaris Cross is fitted with a long list of driver safety aids. These include a pre-collision safety system with pedestrian (day and night) and cyclist (day) detection, lane trace assist, intersection turn assistance and road sign assist (speed signs only), which I noticed even worked for roadwork speed signs. The GXL and Urban variants also come with blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert. Other safety features I noted on the Yaris Cross I drove were a 360o rear view camera with front and rear sensors, automatic high beam, automatic headlights, but no automatic wipers.
Passive safety includes eight air bags located at the front, front side, front centre and curtain. The Toyota Yaris has a 5-star ANCAP (2020), but this does not apply to the Yaris Cross so officially it has no ANCAP safety rating.
All new Toyota vehicles are backed by a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty. If your vehicle is properly serviced and maintained per its Warranty and Service Book, Toyota will extend your engine and driveline warranty for an additional two years. Toyota will also increase the standard guarantee on new Hybrid batteries to up to 10 years as long as the owner undertakes an annual inspection as part of routine maintenance according to the vehicle logbook. The service interval for the Yaris Cross hybrid is 12 months or 15,000kms, whichever occurs first and the current cost for the first five services is $205 each or $1,025 in total.
The Toyota Yaris Cross Urban Hybrid is a small SUV that fits within our urban environment. Prices for the all-wheel drive version start at $37,990 plus on-road costs and the only option fitted to the Yaris Cross I drove was the two-tone paint in Atomic Rush with a Black roof costing an extra $775, bringing the as tested price to $38,765 plus on-roads. Visit your preferred Toyota dealer for more information or build and price your Yaris Cross on-line now.
|Practicality of an SUV without the size||The brown synthetic leather interior|
|Fuel efficient hybrid engine||Couldn’t turn off sat nav warning voice|
|Up to 10 years warranty on the hybrid battery||No ANCAP safety rating|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazin