Toyota Yaris Cross

The Yaris Cross is underpinned by the same TGNA-B platform and 1.5-litre petrol hybrid powertrain as the Yaris but adds a heavy dollop of Toyota RAV4 styling with a gaping front grille and some angular wheelarches that are clad in tough-looking plastic. There’s no increase in wheelbase over the standard car, but a 30mm elevation in suspension gives the Yaris Cross a suitably SUV-style stance.

Unlike many rivals, the Toyota isn’t all off-road mouth and no trousers (waterproof with plenty of pockets, natch), because you can actually specify a four-wheel drive version. The intelligent all-wheel drive set-up (dubbed AWD-i) is similar to that seen in other hybrid Toyota and Lexus models and uses an electric motor to drive the rear axle at lower speeds, doing away with the need for a prop-shaft and transfer case. It doesn’t make the Yaris Cross a full-on mud-plugger, but it means you’re unlikely to be left stranded by a flurry of snow or trapped in a muddy festival car park.

As with the standard Yaris, the Cross is hybrid only. Under its snub nose is a 1.5-litre petrol that uses a clean-burning Atkinson-cycle and is hooked-up to a pair of electric motors, all driving through the brand’s familiar epiycylic power-splitting transmission (the one that’s often mis-labelled as a CVT).

The motors are powered by a compact 178V lithium-ion battery that has enough energy to carry the Yars Cross in EV mode for a mile or so (although it tends to cut in for shortish periods only on light throttle openings to increase overall fuel efficiency).

In standard guise this set-up delivers a combined output of 114bhp, while for 2024 the the GR Sport and limited run (it’ll be on sale for about a year) Premiere Edition feature a higher 129bhp figure, which has been achieved through a combination of tweaked ICE and massaged electric motors. 

Previous criticisms of the car’s refinement mean that all 2024 Yaris models have been treated to extra soundproofing the front bulkhead, some hydraulic engine mounts, a revised induction tract and acoustic glass for the windscreen and side windows. Combined, these changes aim to make the Cross a quieter companion.

Given it’s essentially a Yaris on stilts, it’s no surprise to find the Cross uses the same suspension set-up as the standard supermini, with MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam arrangement at the rear.

Entry-level Icon cars get 16-inch alloys and Design adds larger 17-inch rims, while Excel, GR Sport and Premiere Edition feature 18-inch wheels of varying styles. There’s also a special paint option and natty two-tone finish for the Premiere Edition, while the GR Sport gets a racy mesh grille for some sporty visual appeal.

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