The New Crossover SUV in Town
Price From $26,990- To $37,990

Source: Toyota

by | Nov 14, 2021

Overview

Toyota’s latest crossover SUV that offers a hybrid powertrain and an AWD system is here to conquer the booming market dominated by Mazda CX-3 and Hyundai Kona.

Many auto manufacturers have been recently taking their hatchback platform, lifting it, and adding some cladding to make small crossovers. These allow the drivers to enjoy the increased cargo space and ride height that is usually associated with SUVs in a much smaller car which will be easier on your pocket.

The Yaris Cross is based on the same platform as Toyota Yaris and Toyota Corolla hatchbacks. But you cannot write off Yaris Cross as just a jacked-up Yaris. The pronounced wheel arches and massive 18 or 16-inch wheels give it a much bolder look. It has a unique design language that is more appropriate for its SUV tag.

Pros
A long list of advanced safety features, even in the base trim
Excellent cargo space
Fuel economy is better than most rivals
Cons
The three-cylinder engine feels a bit underpowered
A lot of hard plastics inside the cabin
One of the more expensive options in the market

Performance, Engine, and Comfort

(4/5)

The engine is very refined and produces a decent amount of power. It is pretty comfortable, and the ride quality is not bad either.

Engine & Performance

(4/5)

The naturally aspirated three-cylinder engine has been carried over from the Yaris hatchback, and it has the same power output as the Yaris Cross as well. But due to the extra weight that comes with the crossover SUV, you will feel the engine gasping for air when trying to find some quick acceleration for overtaking vehicles on the highway.

The hybrid powertrain assists with acceleration off the line, and it improves the refinement levels as well. But this is not a plug-in hybrid, so it can not travel on electricity alone. The hybrid system only kicks in when accelerating from a stop or cruising at a constant speed. But it encourages the driver through the instrument cluster to drive economically.

Engine and gear

The 1.5-liter naturally aspirated three-cylinder engine produces 88 kW (118 hp) @6600rpm and 145 Nm of torque @4800rpm in the non-hybrid variant. In the hybrid variant, the engine and the motor have a combined power output of 85 kW (114 hp) @5500rpm and 120 Nm of torque @3800rpm.

The Yaris Cross is only available with an automatic transmission. It is equipped with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gearbox with ten preset ratios. The acceleration is smooth and linear as it does not have to shift gears like a conventional gearbox.

Suspension

The 2WD and AWD variants have a MacPherson strut suspension at the front. In the 2WD variant, the rear is a torsion beam suspension, and in the AWD variant, the rear is a 2-link double-wishbone suspension.

The suspension is a bit firm compared to rivals, but it is still very comfortable. The stiff suspension helps a lot in countering the body roll that is experienced through corners.

Handling

The stiff suspension feels a bit shaky over small potholes and road imperfections in the non-hybrid variant. But the hybrid variants do not have this problem, and they feel more confident because of the weight added by the battery and motor on top of the rear axle.

The new TNGA (Toyota new global architecture) underpinning of the Yaris Cross is perfectly tuned, and the chassis feels solid. The Yaris Cross is highly maneuverable at all speeds. The steering is very light but gathers some weight at higher speeds. It is definitely not a sporty SUV by any standards, but keen drivers will appreciate the handling.

Vibration

The vibration and noise levels inside the cabin could have been greatly improved. At highway speeds, the road and wind noise even drown out the stereo, and it can be quite annoying after a point. The engine too could have used a bit more refinement. You feel the switch from motors to engine as you press the pedal, and the refinement drops.

Ride

The ride is comfy for the most part. The TNGA chassis is well-tuned to be comfortable without sacrificing handling.

Safety & Reliability

(4/5)

The 2021 Yaris Cross is a very safe car with an ANCAP rating of 5/5 stars for the crash tests. It scored 32.98 out of 38 for adult occupant protection and 42.9 out of 49 for child occupant protection.

Breaks

The Yaris Cross is equipped with ventilated disc brakes at the front and solid disc brakes at the rear. It has ABS, Brake Assist (BA), and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). The parking brake is electronic.

The brake pedal is lightweight and progressive. The hybrid variants also offer regenerative braking, which can be used to slow down the car without using the brake pedal, and it charges the battery.

Airbags

The Yaris Cross is equipped with 8 SRS airbags in total. Two in the front, two in the sides of the front passenger seats, two in between the passenger seats to prevent the passengers from colliding, and two curtain airbags.

Electronics

Some of the most notable features are:

  • Lane keep assist
  • Pre-collision warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Intersection turn assistance
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Active cornering assist
  • Automatic high beam

Lights

The base GX trim is equipped with halogen headlights which are not very good. Both the higher trims have LED headlights which have much better illumination. The taillights are all LED as well.

Traction control

Traction control and vehicle stability control are equipped in all trims as standard.

Extras

Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and satellite navigation are only available in the GXL and Urban trims. The powered tailgate, heated front seats, and Head-Up display are exclusive to the Urban trim.​

Fuel Economy

(4/5)

Fuel economy is one of the selling points for the Yaris Cross. Both the hybrid and non-hybrid variants are very fuel-efficient.

Engine size

The 2021 Yaris Cross is offered with a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated three-cylinder engine.

Gas per mileage consumption

The non-hybrid version has an officially rated fuel efficiency of 5.4-liters/100km. The hybrid 2WD variant is rated for 3.8-liters/100km, and the AWD variant is rated for 4.0-liters/100km. These are significantly better than most rivals in the market.

Interior

(3.5/5)

The interior is a bit of a letdown, especially at this price point. There is a lot of space inside the cabin, but the quality of the materials used is not that great.

Driving seat

The driver’s seat is very comfortable. It has adequate bolstering and good lumbar support. It is well suited for long journeys. Electrical adjustability is only available in the top Urban trim.

Dashboard

The top of the dashboard is covered in soft-touch material, and the rest of the panels are mostly hard plastics. In the two lower trims, it is a dark gray plastic matching the rest of the interiors, which forms a monotone pattern. The top trim gets brown plastics instead on the dashboard and on the door panel.

There is a central floating 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It has physical button shortcuts making it easy to use. The controls for the single-zone automatic climate control can be found under that. There is a USB port and a 12V socket beneath that.

The multimedia controls on the steering are well laid out, and the buttons feel tactile. The instrument cluster is divided into three digital displays, and it looks cool. The central screen can display the speed limits and several other information. The other two screens display the speed, gear, and economy.

Passenger seats and extras

In the GX and GXL variants, the seats are covered in a grey fabric, and in the Urban trim, it is brown synthetic leather with a rough fabric in the middle. The front seats are heated in the top trim, but the passenger seat does not get height adjustment.

The rear seats are comfortable and spacious. But the rear passengers do not get separate AC vents. There are ample storage spaces in the form of door pockets and cup holders. 

Overall height and space

The Yaris Cross is 4180mm long, 1765mm wide, 1590mm tall, and has a wheelbase of 2560mm. It has a ground clearance of 170mm. Legroom and headroom are adequate in both rows, so taller people should not have any problem with the seating.

Trunk space

It has a cargo capacity of 390L in the 2WD variants and 314L in the AWD variant. The Yaris Cross has one of the most spacious trunks compared to rivals.

Price and Extras

(4/5)
The Yaris Cross is a bit pricey compared to rivals. But Toyota’s hybrid powertrain and the AWD system are compelling value propositions.

Market Price

Trim
GX
GXL
Urban
2WD Non-Hybrid
$26,990
$29,990
$32,990
2WD Hybrid
$28,990
$31,990
$34,990
AWD Hybrid
$31,990
$34,990
$37,990

Warranty

Toyota offers a five-year unlimited kilometer warranty for all trims of the Yaris Cross. The petrol engine and driveline will have an additional two-year extended warranty, and the hybrid battery pack has a ten-year coverage.

The service cost is capped at $205 per scheduled visit for the first five years or 75,000 km.

Verdict

The 2021 Yaris Cross is a great car. It offers some desirable features at a very compelling price point. Even though the initial price is a bit steep, the impressive fuel efficiency and low maintenance cost make up for it. Rivals such as Mazda CX-3, Kia Seltos, and Hyundai Venue offer different packages, and they are worth checking out.