Toyota launches new Yaris Cross compact SUV

Yaris crossed with an SUV to create the Yaris Cross

“Safe, connected and electrified,” is how Toyota Australia’s VP of Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley describes the brand’s new Yaris Cross compact SUV. 

It’s the latest member of the expanding Yaris family and the first time the nameplate has been applied to an SUV, following hot on the heels of the August launch of a fourth-generation Yaris hatch. 

The new model’s arrival caps a frenetic 10-week period for Australia’s number one automotive brand and is the latest in a barrage of new or updated Toyota models that cover about 60% of the brand’s local sales.

That list includes updates to the HiLux, Fortuner, Prado, LandCruiser 70-Series, RAV4, and CH-R.

The all-new Yaris Cross is Toyota’s first entry into the rapidly expanding light SUV segment with its key point of difference against rivals like the Mazda CX-3 being the availability of a hybrid powertrain with attendant performance, fuel-saving and environmental benefits. 

Stylish and compact, Toyota’s marketing spiel has the Yaris Cross targeting so-called “active urban dwellers,” with its role in the brand’s portfolio being to help manage the market transition away from conventional hatchbacks.

The trend is happening at such a pace that Toyota expects the Yaris Cross to outsell the Yaris hatch. 

The range comprises nine variants with a choice of petrol and hybrid powertrains in 2WD versions, hybrid only in AWD versions, and three grades for each powertrain combo – GX, GXL, and Urban.

All prices are listed below, with the entry-level GX and GXL pitched below the starting price of Toyota’s other small SUV, the CH-R. 

Despite being based on the Yaris hatch, the Yaris Cross is longer (240mm), wider (70mm), and taller (85mm) than its compact sibling with ride height that’s also been jacked-up by 20mm to provide additional SUV-like clearance. The new model’s wheelbase is also slightly longer and the track slightly wider than the hatch. 

2021 Toyota Yaris Cross.

Suspension is via MacPherson struts at the front on all models while at the rear 2WD models use a torsion beam with stabiliser bar and AWD versions use a more sophisticated double wishbone setup.

Petrol models are powered by a high-compression 1.5-litre, three-cylinder engine with variable valve timing producing 88kW and 145Nm driving through a CVT auto transmission with 10-speed manual function. Combined fuel consumption on 91RON is a fairly thrifty 5.4L/100km.

The compact and lightweight hybrid system is carried over from the Yaris hatch and, in 2WD models, combines a 1.5-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine with a pair of electric motor/generators for combined peak output of 85kW. Combined cycle fuel consumption is an impressive 3.8L/100km.

The hybrid AWD models add a third electric motor/generator to the rear axle which generates 3.9kW and 52Nm to provide AWD traction in slippery conditions. Peak power remains the same as the 2WD hybrid models at 85kW but fuel consumption rises slightly to 4.0L/100km.

The AWD system can direct torque in a range from 100% to the front wheels, or up to a 40-60 front-rear split as conditions demand, with the rear electric motor providing all of the drive for the back axle. A Trail Mode switch is included to improve traction on unsealed or snowy surfaces. 

All Yaris Cross models come equipped with Toyota’s Safety Sense suite of driver assistance technologies with additional features available as you move up the model range. 

GX models include the Pre-Collision Safety system with day/night pedestrian and day cyclist detection, plus emergency steering assist. The system also includes daytime intersection turn assistance, lane trace assist with lane centring function, lane-departure alert with steering assist, speed sign recognition, auto high beam, adaptive cruise control, cross-wind assist, rear view camera and eight airbags. 

The comprehensive airbag count includes a segment-first in the form of two centre airbags mounted between the front seats to protect occupants from colliding with each other.

Moving up the range, the GXL adds front and rear parking sensors, parking support brake, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and panoramic view monitor to the safety inventory. In addition to that lot, buyers of the top-spec Urban model also get a head up display.

Toyota Australia says the Yaris Cross is its first model offered with Toyota Connected Services, which is complimentary for the first three years of ownership. 

2021 Toyota Yaris Cross.

The feature employs a data communication module that in the event of an accident requiring intervention, or if an airbag deploys, automatically generates an SOS call to a 24/7 emergency call centre, relaying the location of the vehicle. 

The driver can also request emergency assistance via an SOS button. Toyota Connected Services can also assist authorities with tracking the location of a vehicle if stolen.

The Yaris Cross is enabled for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with its infotainment system also equipped to run myToyota apps including Waze and Stitcher.

The rear seat incorporates a 40/20/40 split-fold feature, folding flat for extra load space.

A dual-level 60/40-split deck board in the cargo area of 2WD versions allows for 390 litres of cargo space when in its lower position. 

In the upper position and in AWD models there’s 314 litres of space.

Top-spec Urban models also boast the convenience of a power tailgate with a kick-sensor for hands-free opening.

Two-wheel-drive versions come standard with a space-saver spare while AWD versions have the less-practical mobility repair kit in lieu of a spare wheel.

Capped price servicing applies for the first five services of ownership at $205 per service. 

The next cab off the rank in Toyota’s 2020 product offensive is the highly anticipated and sporty GR Yaris. 

Toyota Australia claims to have sold its first allocation of 1000 cars in just seven days with the order books now open for the next batch of the fiery 200kW/370Nm hot hatch. 

2021 Toyota Yaris Cross pricing:

  GX  GXL  Urban
 2WD petrol  $26,990  $29,990  $32,990
 2WD hybrid  $28,990  $31,990 $34,990
 AWD hybrid  $31,990  $34,990  $37,990