Toyota has locked in the pint-sized Yaris Cross for Australia, as it prepares to take the fight to the Mazda CX-3 and Hyundai Venue with all-wheel drive and hybrid power.
Set to arrive in Australia later this year, the Yaris Cross is based on the same GA-B version of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) as the regular Yaris, and will be offered with a choice of petrol or hybrid powertrains.
It will also be available with all-wheel drive, unlike the front-drive only Hyundai Venue.
Two powertrains are available: a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, and a petrol-electric hybrid. Australia will get both.
The hybrid also uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine, however Toyota has been scant with the details. It’ll make 87kW of power, and emit under 130g/km of CO2 in heavier, slightly less efficient all-wheel drive guise. Given the Yaris has a claimed fuel use figure below 4.0L/100km, expect to see the same here.
Details about exactly how the hybrid all-wheel drive system will work haven’t been revealed, however the RAV4 hybrid with all-wheel drive has an electric motor mounted on the rear axle that springs into action when slip is detected. A slightly downsized version of the same system seems likely in the Yaris Cross.
The company claims its system promises “better fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions than any of its AWD rivals”.
Although it bears the Yaris name, the Cross has been jacked up by 30mm, and is 90mm taller and 20mm wider than the micro hatch. It’s also a considerable 240mm longer.
At 4180mm long, 1765mm wide and 1560mm tall, the Yaris Cross is 140mm longer than a Hyundai Venue, but has a 32mm lower roof and is 5mm narrower.
It wears tougher body cladding than the regular Yaris, and there are plenty of almost-off-road pieces to add a touch of extra presence.
The interior is pure Yaris, with a high-set infotainment screen and compact steering wheel. It offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as with the wider Toyota range.
Expect to see the full suite of active safety features on board, including autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.
“Yaris Cross is a stylish and flexible vehicle for people with active lifestyles who appreciate the strength, space and high-riding qualities of an SUV at a scale that suits their daily need to negotiate city streets and laneways,” said Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia director for sales and marketing.