Toyota Yaris Cross

Design

Toyota Yaris Cross, 2022, front
Toyota Yaris Cross, 2022, front
Toyota Yaris Cross, 2022, nose
Toyota Yaris Cross, 2022, side
Toyota Yaris Cross, 2022, rear
Toyota Yaris Cross, 2022, interior
Toyota Yaris Cross, 2022, boot
Toyota Yaris Cross, 2022, boot, maximum

I'M not normally a fan of hatchbacks that have been pumped up to fit with the current trend for SUVs so I was prepared to dislike the Yaris Cross. How wrong could I have been?

I loved it, so I wasn't surprised to see it was named Best Small Crossover in the 2022 UK Car of the Year Awards and then 2022 World Urban Car in the World Car Awards. Huge praise indeed.

For the uninitiated, or those like me who were not previously interested, what is the Toyota Yaris Cross?

Launched in 2021, the Yaris Cross brings together Toyota's experience and know-how in small car and SUV design and engineering, developed for Europe and specifically with European customers in mind.

Obviously, it follows in the footsteps of the Yaris, which was named Car of the Year in Europe in 2021 and is built on the same small-car TNGA platform with a drivetrain that consists of a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol-electric engine producing 114bhp linked to a CVT automatictransmission.

Thankfully, this is more than a Yaris supermini with an SUV makeover. Compared to the hatchback, the Yaris Cross is 95mm taller, 20mm wider and 240mm longer, and it rides 25mm higher though the wheelbase is unchanged. The changes, to my mind, suit it, making it better-looking than its sibling and providing better visibility for the driver.

The Yaris Cross comes in five trims levels of which the Design is one-up from the well-specced, entry level Icon. It's expected to account for as much as half of UK sales. Not surprising as it's very good value featuring 17-inch alloys, LED front and rear lights, rear privacy glass, aluminium roof rails, rain-sensing wipers, and smart entry with push-button start.

There are front and rear power windows, automatic air conditioning, a rear-view camera, an Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible eight-inch multimedia system, plus light blue ambient lighting.

There's good rear passenger space and the rear seats split 40:20:40 for maximum practicality. With all seats in place there's 397 litres of luggage space available; drop the rear seats and the volume extends to a plentiful 1,097 litres.

In terms of driving modes, there's a default ‘Normal' one plus Eco and Power settings, an EV mode and a setting marked ‘B' for extra regeneration to unlock even more efficiency. After a week of driving my usual urban commute, some dual carriageways, and country B-roads, I managed 55mpg over 300 miles of which nearly 40 per cent was spent in EV mode.

And it is enjoyable to drive too with its light and nimble steering and good body control. It feels solid, composed and comfortable to drive. It's a nippy joy around town but feels equally at home on a country lane. And Toyota finally seems to have almost tamed those noisy CVT transmissions. It no longer screams when you want a quick blast of power.

The Yaris Cross maintains the Yaris family's historic record of providing class-leading levels of safety - it was the first small car in its class to achieve the highest five-star Euro NCAP rating. So, the latest generation Toyota Safety Sense active safety and driver assistance systems are provided as standard.

The package includes an emergency braking system also able to spot pedestrians at night and cyclists during the daytime, intelligent cruise control, lane departure alert and automatic high beam.

FAST FACTS

Toyota Yaris Cross Design

Price:£25,690

Mechanical:114bhp, 1,490cc, three-cylinder petrol-electric engine driving front wheels via a CVT automatic gearbox

Max Speed:106mph

0-62mph: 11.2seconds

Combined MPG:62.8mpg

Insurance Group:12

C02 emissions:102g/km

Bik rating: 25%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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