‘CROSS PURPOSES’ - Toyota Yaris Cross Independent New Review (Ref:1516/12360)


Car and Driving’s Independent New Review of the Toyota Yaris Cross.

By Jonathan Crouch Added 24th November, 2023

Toyota's improved Yaris Cross small SUV will continue to be a hugely significant for this Japanese maker. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.

Ten Second Review

In this Yaris Cross, Toyota has a credible truly class-competitive supermini-sized SUV. The Yaris Cross fills an important gap in the company's Crossover line-up, just below the C-HR, and gets a useful update here. It should continue to worry Juke and Puma sector rivals with features like full-Hybrid power and AWD that are relatively unusual in this segment.



There are many supermini-based crossover SUVs now on the market, but few of them seem to have hit the B-segment sweet spot quite like Toyota's little Yaris Cross. It was introduced back in 2021 and quickly became a brand favourite and a segment best seller prior to the light mid-term update we look at here, announced in late 2023. That's brought us a more digitalised cabin and a wider raft of safety features.

As before, for our market anyway, it comes only with a full-Hybrid engine, but the 1.5-litre unit is now available with a choice of outputs. This powerplant isn't a token gesture mild hybrid like you'd get in, say, that rival Ford Puma or, perhaps, a Kia Stonic, but a full-fat petrol/electric powertrain that doesn't need plugging in but can run all-electrically some of the time. In this segment, only Hyundai, Honda and Renault can also offer that. And none of them can offer this confection with 4WD, an option for this Yaris Cross at the top of the range. If your interest in this improved Yaris Cross is starting to grow, you might be interested to check it out.

Driving Experience

Under the bonnet, the 1.5-litre full-Hybrid self-charging petrol/electric powerplant is of course the same one that's fitted to the conventional Yaris supermini, which means that as there, you can now get it in two states of tune. Most customers will continue with the previous 114bhp output version, but you can now get this engine in a perkier 130bhp state of tune, with torque increased by 30% from 141Nm to 185Nm. That improves the 0-62mph sprint time by half a second to 10.7s. All Yaris Cross models continue with the same e-CVT auto gearbox. And the Hybrid engine continues with its pleasing preference for reverting to battery power in urban driving whenever possible. As a result, the company expects that over 80% of urban journeys in this car will be able to be completed under electric power alone. Toyota says it's put a lot of work into reducing noise and vibration with this revised model, with thicker windscreen glass, more sound deadening and a dynamic damper added to the left-side engine mount - amongst other changes.

As before, along with the front-driven drivetrain, there's something unusual in this class - the option of 4WD. The 'Intelligent All-Wheel Drive' system in question is, as you'd expect, of the electric rather than the mechanical kind and operates in front wheel drive most of the time, sending drive to the rear wheels only when tractional needs really require it to. This AWD-i version gets a more sophisticated double-wishbone rear suspension set-up too, compared to the front wheel drive car's more basic torsion beam arrangement. All of this is bolted to the smallest version of the 'TNGA' 'Toyota New Global Architecture' platform.

Design and Build

There aren't any significant visual changes to this improved Yaris Cross. Which means that, as before, two words are supposed to sum up the look of this car; 'robust' and 'minimalistic'. The first references the design cues it shares with other Toyota SUVs - the RAV4-like squared-off wheel arches for instance. The second word is suggestive of this Yaris Cross model's dinky compact dimensions; it's 4,180mm long, 1,765mm wide and 1,560mm tall. To give you some class perspective, that makes it 6mm shorter than a Ford Puma but 45mm longer than a Nissan Juke.

Thankfully, this is more than a Yaris supermini with an SUV makeover. The wheelbase is 240mm longer, the ground clearance is 30mm higher and it's 90mm higher and 20mm wider. And there are some unique Yaris Cross styling details too - the way the exterior has been sculpted to feature a diamond shape when viewed from the top for instance. There are bigger wheels too, up to 18-inches in size.

Inside, the Yaris supermini parentage is much more obvious - even the door cards are the same. But there's differentiation too - the steering wheel, the instrumentation and the larger central touchscreen are all unique to the Yaris Cross, as is the useful storage bin added in the centre console. With this updated design, the seat upholstery has been refreshed with a new pattern and a soft lower instrument panel covering has been introduced on all grades.

This revised model also features a cabin redesigned for more of a 'digital experience'. This takes in both a customisable driver's instrument display and a faster and more powerful multimedia system with added functionality. The combimeter instrument display will be either 7.0 or 12.3-inches depending on trim and is customisable with up to four selectable layout options: 'Smart', 'Casual', 'Sporty' and 'Tough'.

As for the cabin's central infotainment monitor (which now comes with wireless 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto'), well that now comes either in a base 9.0-inch guise, or, if you stretch to the pricier 'Toyota Smart Connect' multimedia system, is 10.5-inches in size. That ritzier set-up provides cloud-based navigation, with an 'always connected' system ensuring journey planning benefits from up-to-the-moment information on routes, traffic and delays. This display also now incorporates an intuitive "Hey Toyota" voice recognition system. For example, simply state 'Hey Toyota, I'm cold' and the system will automatically raise the climate control temperature.

As before, this Yaris Cross model is actually better packaged inside than a C-HR, a car which, though 200mm longer, offers less rear seat space than this, its cheaper showroom stablemate. There's a more practically-sized 397-litre boot too, with features like an adjustable-height cargo floor, underfloor storage and Toyota's Belt Flex system for securing small items.

Market and Model

As before, you cab expect a Yaris Cross to be pitched between the price of a Yaris Hybrid and a C-HR hybrid. As a result, base 'Icon' models sit in the £24,500 bracket, with the mid-range 'Design' spec costing from around £27,000. You'll need around £29,000 for plusher 'Excel' trim or sporty 'Dynamic'-spec, the later available with AWD-i 4-wheel drive for around £2,400 more. The top-spec 'GR Sport' sits at the top of the line-up. Across the range, safety has been prioritised. Standard advanced driver assistance systems include full speed-range intelligent adaptive cruise control and lane trace assist. Plus like the Yaris supermini, the Yaris Cross was the first car in its segment to be fitted with a centre airbag.

As before, safety remains a design priority. That's been enhanced with new radar and camera scanning systems that can scan further and wider than before, so there's increased scope for detecting accident risks. For example, the Pre-Collision System can recognise a potential head-on impact with a wider range of objects and vehicles in the car's path, including pedestrians, cyclists and now also motorcycles. Acceleration Suppression is a new addition to the Toyota Safety Sense portfolio. This intervenes to slow any sudden acceleration when it recognises the risk of a collision with a vehicle ahead. Proactive Driving Assist is another new feature, designed to help avoid familiar accident hazards when driving at low speed. Deceleration Assist provides smooth deceleration when the driver releases the accelerator to slow down when approaching a slower vehicle ahead, or entering a bend. And Steering Assist recognises a bend in the road ahead and adjusts steering force to help the driver make a smooth and stable turn.

The new Emergency Driving Stop System is able to support the driver, should they be taken ill or incapacitated. If it detects the driver has made no inputs - steering, braking, accelerating - for a certain amount of time, it will sound a warning. If there is no reaction from the driver, it will bring the car to a gentle stop, activate the hazard lights, and unlock the doors. There's also protection when the car is stationary. With the optional Safe Exit Assist set-up, a visual and audible warning system helps guard against a door being inadvertently opened into the path of vehicles and cyclists approaching from the rear. And the Rear Seat Reminder System will alert the driver with visual and sound warnings if they have left a child or pet on the back seat, helping avoid the risk of 'hot car' incidents.

The brand has also added an extra 'Overtake Prevention Support' feature to stop unintentional undertaking manouevres. As before, standard advanced driver assistance systems include full speed-range intelligent adaptive cruise control and lane trace assist. In addition to these systems, this Yaris Cross has been developed to provide the best possible occupant protection, in line with the stricter testing standards now applied.

Cost of Ownership

The Yaris supermini has always offered residual values that have usually held up better than more conventional small hatch rivals and that story hasn't changed much with this Yaris Cross. The full-Hybrid engine's intrinsic efficiency helps a lot here - there'll be a ready stream of customers wanting that on the used market when the time comes to sell, most of these people well aware that Toyota Hybrids have an enviable record for reliability.

As for frugality, well this Yaris Cross can't match the 68.9mpg combined cycle fuel figure of its Yaris supermini showroom stablemate, but it won't be too far off that kind of level. Averaging over 55mpg on a regular basis should be comfortably possible. As for CO2, well that's rated at between 103 and 122g/km, depending on variant for front-wheel-drive versions, with the all-wheel-drive variants delivering a figure of below 135g/km.

The Yaris Cross is covered by a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty and buyers also get five years of pan-European roadside breakdown assistance, a three year paint warranty and twelve years of anti-perforation cover. And extended warranty can be bought at extra price as part of a package that includes free MOTs and extended roadside assistance cover. There's a dedicated 'MyT' app that allows you to book a service online using your 'phone. And Toyota has a 'Fixed Price Servicing' plan, so you'll know in advance exactly how much any work will cost before you check into a dealer.


In some ways, Toyota's never really made the most of its pioneering Hybrid technology, but with this Yaris Cross has really done so. You could argue - rightly - that not many folk choose a fashion-led small crossover with sensible priorities, but if you were to prioritise those in selecting this kind of car, then this one makes an incredible amount of sense, with genuine 45-55mpg regularly achievable economy. That's thanks to its full-Hybrid powertrain, the kind of engine the brand is able to offer here more affordably than you'll find in direct rivals. And a trendy vibe's thrown in too, especially with this revised model.

You could argue that twenty years ago, the original three-door RAV4 pioneered this class of car, but the brand never properly capitalised on that model, instead bringing us quirky but unappealing small lifestyle products like the Yaris Verso and the Urban Cruiser. The RAV4's modernday successor, the C-HR, has found favour but is too expensive for most Juke and Puma folk. The Yaris Cross suits their needs more precisely. Which is why you can expect continued sales success from this car.

  • Performance
  • Handling
  • Comfort
  • Space
  • Styling
  • Build
  • Value
  • Equipment
  • Economy
  • Depreciation
  • Insurance
  • Total (68/110)

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Terms and Conditions:

  1. Emissions and efficiency data taken from official test results, where available, when new. Data shown is intended to provide a standard figure for comparing the relative fuel economy of different vehicles of a similar age and condition, and does not represent the average fuel consumption that will be achieved on the road. Actual figures will depend on factors including the age of the vehicle, how it has been maintained, road and weather conditions and driving style.