Toyota Yaris Cross revealed: A new hybrid SUV set for 2021

Urban life presents particular challenges. When it comes to driving, it’s an environment where motorists increasingly appreciate the robust, high-riding qualities of an SUV, but on a scale tailored to suit urban streets and with a genuine emphasis on environmental performance.

At the same time, they want a vehicle that’s distinctive and stylish, and which has all the flexibility they need for an active lifestyle. These are exactly the qualities Toyota has instilled in the all-new Yaris Cross.

The new Yaris Cross has been designed and developed for Europe, specifically to meet the requirements and preferences of the region’s B-SUV market. It will be made in Europe too, at Toyota Motor Manufacturing France, alongside the new generation Yaris hatchback, from 2021.

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Toyota Yaris Cross hybrid technology

The new Yaris Cross draws on Toyota’s strong heritage of advanced hybrid technology, small car design and SUV engineering.

Toyota’s world leadership in hybrid vehicle technology includes the first use of a hybrid system in a B-segment car with the original Yaris Hybrid in 2012. The unmatched experience it has gained ensures that Yaris Cross’s new fourth-generation hybrid powertrain delivers exceptional performance and efficiency.

Toyota Yaris Cross

As a member of the Yaris family, Yaris Cross is constructed on Toyota’s new GA-B compact car platform. It also shares the ‘big-small’ design and packaging concept that characterised the original Yaris, presenting a roomy interior within compact exterior dimensions.

Yaris Cross is also a genuine SUV, benefiting from Toyota’s experience in originating the concept of the recreational SUV 25 years ago with RAV4 – today the world’s best-selling SUV – and more recently in producing the stylish and highly efficient C-HR. A raised ride height and the availability of AWD-i intelligent all-wheel-drive reinforce its authentic SUV credentials.

Adding Yaris Cross to the line-up will give Toyota an SUV range that spans the B, C and D segments.

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Toyota Yaris Cross powertrain

Yaris Cross benefits from Toyota’s fourth generation hybrid technology. Toyota successfully pioneered the use of full hybrid technology in B-segment cars with the introduction of the first Yaris Hybrid hatchback in 2012. Since then, more than half a million have been sold in Europe, making it a powerful tool in building public awareness and appreciation of the technology.

Toyota Yaris Cross side

Yaris and Yaris Cross are the first models to use Toyota’s latest hybrid system, developed directly from the larger 2.0 and 2.5-litre powertrains used by recent new models such as Corolla, C-HR, RAV4 and Camry. This features a new 1.5-litre, three-cylinder Atkinson cycle petrol engine, precision-engineered to reduce friction and mechanical losses and optimise combustion speed.  The result is high torque at low engine speeds and excellent fuel efficiency. The engine’s thermal efficiency is rated at 40 per cent, which is greater than comparable diesel engines and ensures strong fuel economy and low CO2 emissions.

The new hybrid system has a maximum output of 114bhp. Special attention has been given to power delivery, making the system very responsive to drive. In terms of emissions efficiency, the front-wheel-drive model starts from below 120g/km CO2 and the AWD-i version from below 135g/km.

Toyota Yaris Cross interior

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Toyota Yaris Cross dimensions

With Yaris Cross, Toyota has produced an authentic SUV on a smaller scale, giving customers the higher driving position, practicality and interior spaciousness they desire, in a car with compact dimensions that make it well-suited to urban driving.

The design evokes the classic qualities of SUVs, with a higher body and larger wheels/tyres communicating strength and purpose.

Yaris Cross has the same 2,560mm wheelbase as the new Yaris hatchback, but is 240mm longer overall, with 60mm added to the front overhang and 180mm to the rear, securing more interior space. The ground clearance is 30mm higher and the vehicle is taller and wider overall – by 90 and 20mm respectively.

Toyota Yaris Cross side profile

Yaris Cross exterior dimensions:

  • Overall length: 4,180mm
  • Overall width: 1,765mm
  • Overall height: 1,560mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,560mm

Being a true SUV, Yaris Cross benefits from special attention paid to its practicality and versatility.

Details include a power back door, for easy access when you have your hands full, and an adjustable deck height, giving the flexibility of either a secure underfloor compartment, or more space to carry larger items. The deck board itself can be divided in two, to gain both more load space and underfloor storage. The luggage compartment has a new flex belt system to keep items securely in place when driving.

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Toyota Yaris Cross drive system

One of the features that defines the new Yaris Cross as an authentic SUV is the availability of an intelligent all-wheel-drive (AWD) system – a unique feature in its class for a hybrid model.

AWD-i provides extra stability and traction in everyday driving, in poor conditions and on low-grip surfaces. An electric system, it is more compact and weighs less than mechanical AWD units, helping the Yaris Cross Hybrid AWD-i achieve better fuel consumption and CO2 emissions than any of its all-wheel-drive B-SUV competitors.

Toyota Yaris Cross rear

The system directs drive torque to the rear axle when pulling away and when accelerating. In normal driving, Yaris Cross operates with front-wheel drive, but when low-grip conditions are detected, all-wheel drive is engaged automatically, for example on wet cobblestones, in heavy rain, on wet or packed snow, or on sand.

Toyota Yaris Cross driver assistance systems

The foundation of the new Yaris Cross’s safety performance is its GA-B platform, giving the car an exceptionally rigid body. With the intention of meeting the highest and more rigorous independent test standards, it will further benefit from Toyota Safety Sense active safety systems and advanced driver assistance functions, helping to avoid a wide range of common accident risks through driver information, early warnings and, when necessary, automatic braking and steering intervention.

Toyota Yaris Cross headlights

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Toyota Yaris Cross design

The design process brought together a wide team drawn from Toyota studios in Europe and Japan. Lance Scott, Design General Manager at the Toyota ED2 studio in the South of France, gives an insight into the ideas and inspiration that guided the process.

“When we started, we understood that while style is the number one purchase reason in the B-SUV segment, customers are also keen to have a high level of practicality. These are not easy things to reconcile, especially in a compact package.

“From the very start of the design concept we had European customers in mind, but we needed to understand more about them. So we interviewed real customers to learn about their lifestyle, what they liked, what their daily activities were and how they enjoyed themselves.

Toyota Yaris Cross headlights

“After an enjoyable and enlightening process, we came back enthusiastic to design a car that would mirror their personality and deliver a vibrant combination of sophistication and energy.

“As a team, we came up with the key words ‘Robust’ and ‘Minimalistic,’ which we felt expressed both compactness and agility, as well as the robustness and strength of an SUV.

“When we started to sketch ideas for the exterior, the iconic image of a diamond consistently came to mind. Subsequently we coined the phrase ‘nimble diamond’ to express the hard, strong and premium image of the gemstone, combined with the agile and fun-to-drive personality we felt the car needed to convey.

“From the top, or plan view, we ‘cut’ or ‘shaved’ the body to give us a diamond shape, which in turn gave us the space to emphasise the wings. The diamond body shape combined with the four bold wings gave us an energetic shape that was also strong and sophisticated.

Toyota Yaris Cross performance

“Clearly, we want to the car to be perceived immediately as an SUV, so we emphasised a higher ground clearance; a strong horizontal axis, giving great balance and poise; big, squared wheel arches; and of course big wheels, up to 18 inches in diameter.

“The face was another very important aspect for us. We wanted to keep the strong DNA of Toyota’s SUV line-up, but at the same time give Yaris Cross its own identity.

“At the rear, we again focused on a good stance, with wide wings showing how the car looks planted on its wheels. Combining the horizontal taillights and rear screen clearly shows the shared family identity with the Yaris hatchback, yet the wider and more squared tailgate hints at the greater flexibility of the luggage space for day-to-day use.

Toyota Yaris Cross taillights

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“For the exterior colour, we started thinking about something that would express an active and high-quality image that our target customers would really appreciate. Looking at future colour trends, we can see a growing tendency for gold and other precious metals, but we wanted to offer something a bit more natural and urban. Adding a subtle hint of green to the gold direction, and de-saturating the colour to emphasise the metal-like appearance, gave us this fresh, urban, yet active appeal, highlighting the surface form of the exterior. The result is a colour we call Brass Gold.”

Toyota expects to produce more than 150,000 Yaris Cross a year at the TMMF Onnaing factory, near Valenciennes in France, and achieve a B-SUV segment share of more than eight per cent.

Does the Toyota Yaris Cross take your fancy? Let us know in the comments section below or via social media: we’re on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.


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