By Mike Torpey on 2022-09-25 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Toyota Yaris Cross
THE development team at Toyota thought long and hard before coming up with a final design for the new Yaris Cross small SUV.
They had been tasked with creating a model that carried forward the qualities of the reigning European car of the year, its Yaris hatchback stablemate, while maximising interior space and practicality.
The theme was called Always on the Move and the aim to deliver something that's ‘Easy, Fast, Smart'.
Well they got two of them right because the Yaris Cross is both easy and smart, though you aren't exactly going to squeeze much in the way of hair-raising performance from the car's 1.5-litre engine.
What's without question though is that Toyota has done more than merely beef up the existing Yaris.
No doubt the Cross is a looker with its stylish, urban appeal defined by a raised stance, slim lozenge-shaped headlamps and wide rear haunches.
Both cars of course fit into the category of things Toyota do exceptionally well - small vehicles and hybrids.
In fact the arrival of Yaris Cross means that Toyota now has the largest hybrid electric model range on the UK market, alongside the compact C-HR, mid-size RAV4 and seven-seat Highlander.
Prices start from £22,515 and there are four main trim grades of Icon, Design, Excel and Dynamic plus a limited run Premiere Edition, all using a 1.5-litre petrol engine boosted by electric motors.
The combined system delivers 114bhp and 120Nm of pulling power, which equates to 0-62mph acceleration in 11.1 seconds and, perhaps more important to the family motorist, the potential for fuel consumption of 56.5 miles per gallon.
That's for the more popular front-wheel drive variants. Intelligent all-wheel drive (AWD-i) is also available with similar fuel figures but Â£2,360 more expensive.
Inside, there's good visibility all round, ample headroom and plenty of space up front though rear legroom can be a bit tight. You also get a large boot capable of accommodating 397 litres of clobber, increasing to 1,097 litres with the split-fold rear seats folded flat.
Our high grade Excel model looked really smart with its piano black finish and dark chrome details on the front grille and door mirrors while the cabin features heated front seats, dual-zone air con, power lumbar adjustment for the driver's seat and an auto-dimming rear view mirror.
You also get the new high definition Toyota Smart Connect multimedia set-up with nine-inch display, safety features like a blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert plus 18-inch 15-spoke machined alloy wheels.
There's also a screen behind the steering wheel displaying hybrid driving performance data and other info.
Out on the road the Yaris Cross is both nimble and engaging in urban and rural conditions and stable at speed on the motorway, the standard CVT auto transmission working smoothly throughout.
And three drive modes called Normal, Eco and Power alter the car's responses while an all-electric EV mode is handy for urban journeys.
Toyota Yaris Cross Excel Hybrid
Mechanical:114bhp, 1,490cc, 3-cylinder, petrol engine and electric motors driving front wheels via e-CVT transmission
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