The Yaris just got tougher and more electrifying

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Toyota is in the midst of reorganizing its lineup and the Yaris Cross will be the next one to step in, as the brand’s newest compact crossover. With the Yaris Cross being positioned under the C-HR, Toyota will now have a complete portfolio of crossover vehicles. The model is aimed specifically for Europe, where compact dimensions, combined with a high seating position and rugged design are valued. The model will be assembled in France, where more than 150,000 units per year will be made. Here’s why Toyota is betting so much on it.

Drivetrain & Performance

2021 Toyota Yaris Cross Exterior
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Toyota’s fourth-generation hybrid technology finds its way into the Yaris Cross. The brand is a pioneer in the B segment, when it comes to full-hybrid vehicles, introducing the first Yaris hybrid in 2012. Consequently, it became a very successful model, with over half a million being sold in Europe.

The 2021 Yaris Cross will use a 1.5-liter inline-three unit with an Atkinson cycle. The 1.5-liter unit is a derivative of the larger 2.0 and 2.5-liter units, used in the latest C-HR, Corolla, Camry, and RAV4 models.

The three-cylinder unit is precision-engineered for reduced friction and mechanical losses, as well as optimized combustion speed. It is said to have a thermal efficiency of 40 percent, which is better than the current diesel engines. With this in mind, we can expect a very good fuel economy. In terms of CO2 emissions, we are looking at 90 g/km for the front-wheel-drive and 100 g/km for the all-wheel-drive version.

2021 Toyota Yaris Cross Exterior
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One thing you don’t often hear talked-about in a car like this is the chassis rigidity. The Yaris Cross is the second car in Toyota’s lineup to be based on the GA-B platform, which provides high levels of body rigidity, resulting in a balanced chassis.

Although we don’t have detailed performance specs, we know that the system will have a combined power output of 114 horsepower (85 kW) and 104 pound-feet (141 Nm).

Interior

2021 Toyota Yaris Cross Interior
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The interior continues the same quirky, energetic style of the exterior.

The layout is quite similar to the normal Yaris, but everything has been touched a bit, for a bit more upscale feel. The two-tone interior features a two-tier dashboard layout, the upper one being reserved for things like the instrument cluster, infotainment screen, and air vents. The touchscreen is actually only seven inches wide since it’s flanked by quick menu buttons on both sides. It does feature Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but they are not wireless. You also get voice recognition, which can be used through a button on the steering wheel. You’ll be happy to know that the Yaris Cross provides plenty of interior storage, in the form of cup holders and various openings throughout the interior and the dashboard. However, there is no armrest.

2021 Toyota Yaris Cross Interior
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The Yaris Cross comes as standard with plenty of passive safety features, such as Autonomous Emergency braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, radar cruise control, and center airbag, which is meant to prevent passengers from colliding with each other, inside the car, after a crash.
Interior space has been optimized as well. The car can seat four adults comfortably, even in the back, thanks to the rather tall roofline, which unlike most cars does not swoop down towards the back.

Practicality is surprisingly good too. Upon opening, the power tailgate reveals 390 liters (13.8 cubic feet) of flexible cargo area.

Under it, you will find an additional storage room, as well as a space-saver spare tire. The rear seats fold down in a 40-20-40 fashion giving you even more space for luggage and even a flat loading area if you leave the floor elevators at the bottom.

How much will it cost?

2021 Toyota Yaris Cross Exterior
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As mentioned, the Yaris Cross is aimed at the European market. This includes the UK, where starting prices will be £21,000. For the rest of Europe, the expected starting price is around the €22,000 mark.

Competition

Hyundai Venue

2020 Hyundai Venue
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The CUV segment is already booming and the Koreans are bringing some serious contenders. One of them is the Hyundai Venue. Although the Venue is shorter at 3,995 mm (157.3 inches) it still offers plentiful interior space and an even bigger boot – 529 liters (18.7 cubic feet). There’s no Hybrid version, however. Instead, you can choose between a variety of petrol engines with 1.0 to 1.6 liters of displacement and a 1.4-liter turbo-diesel. Power ranges from 83 to 121 horsepower. You can choose between a six-speed manual and IVT, which is Hyundai’s CVT gearbox, or for the 1.0-liter – a seven-speed DCT unit. There’s no all-wheel-drive version available, as power goes to the front wheels only. Starting prices for Europe are just over €14,500.

Read our full review on the Hyundai Venue

Citroen C3 Aircross

2018 Citroen C3 Aircross High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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France makes some of the quirkiest and most attractive compact cars and their C3 Aircross will be a fierce competition for the Yaris Cross, at least on the European market. In Europe, starting prices around the €17,000 mark. It offers a flexible interior where the rear seats are able to move back and forth, like the front. This means, you can set the seats for more legroom at the expense of the cargo area, which has a capacity of 300 liters (10.6 cubic feet). Other than that, you can choose between a couple of versions of their very efficient 1.2-liter PureTech inline-three petrol and a 1.5-liter BlueHDI inline-four turbodiesel. Power ranges from 83 to 110 horsepower. Power goes to the front wheels only. The base petrol and diesel versions have a five-speed manual, while the rest can be had with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.

Read our full review on the Citroen C3 Aircross

Conclusion

2021 Toyota Yaris Cross Exterior
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Hatchbacks and crossovers are still the top-sellers in Europe. The Yaris Cross not only completes Toyota’s crossover lineup but also combines everything that’s good from the hatchback and crossover vehicles, in a single package. Yes, it may be a bit more expensive than some of its competitors, but you do get a proven hybrid technology along with a great reliability record that comes with a Toyota. The new Toyota Yaris Cross simplifies the choice between a hatchback and a crossover because it is technically both. Moreover, it’s one of the very few cars in the segment that offers both a hybrid powertrain and all-wheel-drive.

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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