Test Drive: Toyota Yaris Cross: tricks in the box

The Cross version of the Yaris city car offers more performance in a bigger package than its sibling. It is 20 cm longer and 2.5 cm higher,  enough to turn the Yaris into a real all-rounder. Its petrol 1500 cc 3-cylinder engine produces 122 HP and is backed up by a 59 kW electric motor. As luck would have it, we took it to Reims using mainly B roads. It always performed adequately but doesn’t like to be rushed.


Timing was right as we were in a family trip mood. This implies a smooth and delicate laid-back driving style. Just what the Yaris Cross appreciates. Inside, the comfort is quite firm and the seats could be better, more in line with Europeans’ larger bodies. Nevertheless,  we never experienced back pain- which means the seats design is sound. The steering wheel is a nice affair featuring the trip computer and the cruise control switches. Unsurprisingly, most of the rest is shared with the smaller Yaris.


I like it

The Yaris Cross is nicely designed and refreshing to look at, far from the usual « tartan cap and slippers »  OAP Toyota styling. Its angular wheel arches dressed in black help the wheels to look bigger and fill the arches and blend in well with its sturdy C-pillar and straight front end featuring quite a long bonnet. The black roof is a trendy extra that visually lowers the car and makes it appear wider than it is.


Quite clever

Toyota now has a massive experience engineering hybrids. The brand is also quite successfull selling these and this Yaris cross is one of the brand’s best products. Driving it in an urban environment at lower speeds means it will switch to electric mode smoothly and in complete silence as soon as it can. Lifting up your right foot on a motorway incline will have the car switching to electric mode as well. Our test total distance was 1,073 km and it averaged just 5.0 l/100 km. The body structure is fairly strong and rigid, endowing the car with an ever nice and tidy enough road behavior. This is really a genuinely sorted out and competent car.


I don’t like it

The Yaris Cross’ biggest flaw is probably its lack of soundproofing. The small lump sitting under the bonnet will be quite vocal and raucous if you use the…loud pedal ! Wind noise is also audible on motorways stretches using the cruise control. As is often the case with Toyota cars, the rain entering the wheel arches can be noisy too. Some features and details are soon quite annoying, like the dashboard screen language settings that are disconnected from the central infotainment system. Which means two separate adjustments… Finally, the heated steering wheel  for the steering wheel and rear window defroster are badly placed on the left side of the dashboard.


Why I buy it

Our test car was a Dynamic Plus version, starting from € 33,520. It features the Safety Sense equipment which includes lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, automatic high beam switching and adaptive cruise control. This Toyota was comfortable on main roads as well as in cities, even with three people onboard. It really shines in urban environments, where it takes full advantage of its hybrid powerplant. The car moves silently and easily achieves rather low fuel consumption figures, a real asset.


Why I don’t buy it

Soundproofing is surely not one of the Toyota Yaris Cross’ main assets… However, with the radio on, in urban driving, it shouldn’t be too obvious. The dashboard is rather bland but the spec list is spot on, everything you need and want is there. Compared to its smaller sibling, the Cross features more generous storage compartments but the lightweight fabric luggage cover is pretty low key and won’t surely stand the test of time, especially if you regularly fill up the boot on supermarket trips. (Translation: Dimitri Urbain)


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