Starting Price: €27,260
Price as tested: €34,140
- A very likeable entry to a busy segment from one of Ireland’s most trusted brands
- The price of the Adventure spec model is starting to get high, maybe stick with a standard Sol version
WHAT IS IT?
The Toyota Yaris Cross feeds into our insatiable desire for the Crossover, which if you don’t know is a car that is not quite a car, not quite SUV, but rather somewhere in the middle. The latest Yaris has been lauded by customers and critics alike for its dramatic improvement from plucky nun-mobile to a class-leading supermini. It was the 3rd most popular car in Ireland in 2021 and it's been a while since a supermini was that popular. It is also the reigning Car of the Year in Europe. So you would forgive Toyota for wanting to use the leftovers from this particularly successful recipe to make a crowd-pleasing Crossover.
These of course are all the rage, and no longer the pretty awful things they used to be. At first, these were little more than cynical marketing exercises, often hastily cobbled together to try and capitalise on a trend (we are looking at you 1st generation Ford EcoSport and Volkswagen Cross Polo). This segment had to get better and thankfully has of late. The Hyundai Kona, Ford Puma, Peugeot 2008 and SEAT Arona dominate this category. All of these vehicles are big sellers and deserve to be.
The French-built Yaris Cross doesn’t look all that much like a Yaris, but a little more like a mini RAV4, even though it is actually larger than the original RAV4.
HOW ABOUT THE LOOKS?
As we’ve said, it is more like a mini RAV4 in terms of styling than a Yaris, especially at the front, where, like the larger RAV4, there are two grilles, with the upper and lower grilles forming two stacked trapezoid shapes – a signature design for Toyota SUVs. Slim, lozenge-shaped headlights use LED projector lamps with separate, vertical daytime running lights and circular LED fog lights set at the bottom corners of the lower grille. At the rear, there is a wide tailgate and a square central section, with wide rear haunches and rear, LED lights. This looks like a substantial car, and it is 95mm taller, 20mm wider and 240mm longer than a standard Yaris. It sits on the same 2,560mm wheelbase as the Yaris but has 25mm greater ground clearance. We were driving the Adventure grade, which comes with a more “rugged” exterior with a front under-run and a lower bumper protection plate at the rear. There are also silver roof rails and 18” alloy wheels with a dark grey finish.
Overall it is a handsome car.
WHAT IS THE INSIDE LIKE?
The cabin is a leap forward for Toyota, which always had good quality, if slightly drab cabins, but this is changing for the better. Here there are piano black details and a piano black headlining. The leather-like seats have an ‘adventure’ grade design and there is a deco-line across the instrument panel and inner door mouldings. In the Yaris Cross,
Toyota is introducing its latest multimedia platform. It uses a 9”, high-definition touch screen that is easy to see in a variety of light conditions and has an embedded SIM card that allows the constant connection. The new system is a big improvement from what we’ve seen in other Toyota models and is a good sign of what is to come from the brand. There are over-the-air software updates and service updates possible with this new system and owners can also remotely control a number of features such as locking and unlocking the car, onboard climate control and hazard lights (handy for searching for your car at night in a busy car park). There is Wireless Apple CarPlay too and Android Auto, but it was a little unusual for such a new car that they use USB-A, rather than the more modern USB-C, as it becoming the norm. The Head-Up Display that’s standard on the Adventure version gives the car a very premium feel and keeps your eyes firmly on the road.
In terms of practicality, the rear seat divides and folds 40:20:20 and the load compartment features a bi-folding deck board. With all seats in place and under the deckboard, there are 397 litres of cargo space available; drop the rear seats and the volume extends to a maximum
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
The 116hp Hybrid engine, might, on paper seem a bit weedy for a Crossover but it actually feels fine and because it’s a hybrid it is very good at fuel-sipping and over our days with the car, we were regularly seeing, albeit on short school runs and trips to the shops (typical enough for this car) EV percentages of 75%, which is very decent. The Yaris Cross has a very tiny fuel tank and despite that, the needle showed a great stubbornness to move much. What isn’t so good is the CVT gearbox which is a little ponderous and hesitant and this can give the sense that the engine is revving too high when you move off. It does settle down but it can grate, as the 3-cylinder 1.5-litre doesn’t sound that great in this model.
WHICH ONE SHOULD I BUY?
We aren’t sure that you should plump up the extra money for the Adventure Grade – yes the Head-Up Display and styling is nice, but the Sol probably makes the best buy. This is an increasingly crowded segment, dominated by the likes of the Hyundai Kona, with the most you can spend on one of those coming in at just €28,245 with a petrol engine, but for the price of this Yaris Cross Adventure, you could be in a Kona Electric Premium. You also have the option of the Peugeot 2008, with an all-electric version starting at €33,356. Also, a good buy at this price would be the SEAT Arona, with an FR Plus 1.0 TSI 110hp model costing €31,655.
IS IT SAFE?
The Yaris was the first small car to achieve the five-star Euro NCAP rating and in this new Yaris Cross, there are a variety of active safety and driver assistance systems provided as standard. There is a Pre-Collision System (PCS) with vehicle detection, day/night pedestrian detection, daytime cyclist detection, Intersection Turn Assistance and Emergency Steering Assist. There is Full-Range Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert (LDA) and Lane Tracing Assist LTA), Road Sign Assist (RSA) and Automatic High Beam (ABH). All of these work well without being overly intrusive. €32,000 will also get you a decent spec ST-Line Ford Puma with a Mild Hybrid powertrain.
The Yaris Cross is a very likeable car and with Irish buyers’ obvious and well-earned trust for the brand, this Yaris Cross version is likely to be a top-seller. This is a frugal and good performing car, only slightly let down by a less than inspiring CVT transmission. But that doesn’t spoil the overall experience of the Yaris Cross, which has now quite quickly elbowed itself into contention as one of the best in the segment.
Toyota Yaris Cross Adventure
Engine: 1.5-litre 3-cylinder Hybrid
0-100km/h: 11.2 seconds
Fuel Economy: 5.2 l/100km
Top Speed: 170 km/h
Annual Motor Tax: €190
Luggage Capacity: 397-litres
Price as tested: €34,140