Toyota is strong in most sales segments it enters, and so far the Yaris Cross is no exception. It’s proven a popular option since its launch in 2020, outselling all but the top-selling Mazda CX-3 in its segment during 2021.
It’s sure to turn some heads, with a quirky design that reimagines the well-known Yaris formula for a world in love with high-riding crossovers.
With 13 variants split across three different drivetrain options, there’s no shortage of choice in the Yaris Cross line-up.
On test here is the range-topping 2022 Toyota Yaris Cross Urban AWD Hybrid.
The Toyota Yaris Cross range kicks off at $26,990 before on-road costs, and works its way through the variants to $37,990 before on-roads for the range-topping Urban AWD Hybrid we have.
It’s a $1500 premium to have the hybrid model compared to a petrol, and $1500 atop that for the all-wheel drive hybrid.
Lining up peers such as the Ford Puma FWD ($32,690), Hyundai Kona Highlander ($38,300), and the Mazda CX-30 Evolve M Hybrid ($35,840) it sits rather high in the price bracket.
Yaris Cross Urban highlights:
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Powered, heated driver’s seat
- Powered tailgate and kick sensor
- Tweed-like fabric and leather seats
- Head-up display
- 360-degree parking cameras
- Extra USB port in dash
Features carried over from lower trim levels includes:
- LED headlights
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Reversing camera
- Front and rear parking sensors
- 4.2-inch driver’s supervision display
- 7.0-inch touchscreen
- Satellite navigation
- AM/FM/DAB+ radio
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (wired)
- 40/20/40 folding seat backs
- Single-zone climate control
- Keyless entry and start
- MyToyota connected services (3yrs)
- Six-speaker stereo
The Toyota Yaris Cross earned a five-star ANCAP safety rating during the second half of 2021 based on tests conducted locally.
Category scores included 86 per cent for adult occupant protection, 86 per cent for child occupant protection, 78 per cent for vulnerable road user protection and 82 per cent for its safety assist features.
All models come standard with:
- 8 x airbags incl. front-centre airbag
- AEB with pedestrian/cyclist/junction assist
- Lane departure warning
- Lane-keep assist
- Lane Trace Assist (centring)
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Auto high-beam
- Speed sign recognition
- Reversing camera with guidelines
GXL and Urban variants add blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert to the safety suite.
When I first walked in, I was almost shocked by the tribute to the 1990s you seem to get. The bus-like printed seats with brown leather-like material is an acquired taste.
Rest assured the same interior trim isn’t standard across all 13 variants.
The overall comfort of the seats is great. They’re plush and comfy once you’ve used the slightly fiddly electric seat controls to find your driving position.
Besides the seats, the interior is fairly Toyota spec – which means it’s basic but all works fine.
The standard touchscreen smacked in the middle of the dash is lined with piano black, and the housing makes the screen itself look small despite the fact it’s a reasonable 7.0 inches.
Toyota’s infotainment system works fine, but it’s not refined as competitors. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto worked well wired, and save the overall infotainment by allowing you to use a more familiar, modern interface.
A soft-touch leather like material is used all around the car, complimented with what I can only explain to be a hard-backed felt on the doors.
A generous storage compartment under the infotainment unit is large enough to store a wallet and glasses, then a small tray just above that allowed me to place my phone easily. Anything lighter – like a mask, for example – gets blown away by the air-conditioning vents.
Behind the gear lever are two decently-sized cupholders followed by a drink bottle holder in where an armrest or centre console should be.
The rear seats aren’t made for three grown adults unless they’re best friends. It’s tight, but none of the Yaris Cross’s rivals are family crossovers either.
Fitting a front-facing car seat was okay, but a rear-facing capsule would make sitting in the front passenger seat impossible.
Also only having one pocket on the front seatbacks was strange. It’s handy for parents and worked fine as a mother of one, but if you have two kids they have nowhere to put their iPad… I mean books.
In that same thought, having two kids in this car wouldn’t exactly be practical. The Yaris Cross Urban AWD’s 317 litres of cargo space is big enough for a stroller and some groceries, but not much else – 2WD models get a larger 390L boot which doubles up as underfloor storage where the AWD’s hardware resides.
I was pleased with the space for the size of the car. The rear seats can be folded and split for extra room.
All-wheel drive versions of the Yaris Cross only get a tyre repair kit rather than a space-saver spare wheel again due to the AWD hardware living under the boot floor. Something to note if you drive remotely especially in Urban models with their bigger wheels and lower-profile tyres.
The Yaris Cross Hybrid is fitted with a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated three-cylinder petrol engine running the more efficient Atkinson cycle, paired with two electric motors and CVT.
The combined power output is quoted at 88kW but there is no quoted torque figure. However, the petrol engine alone packs a claimed 145Nm.
Our test car was the all-wheel drive, which swaps out the torsion beam rear suspension on the front-wheel drive for an independent setup. It also features an extra motor on the rear axle, capable of providing a boost when you need more performance or traction.
Fuel use for the Yaris Cross Urban AWD Hybrid was an impressive 4.0L/100km in our experience, right on with Toyota’s official claim. It will also happily run on 91 RON regular unleaded, with a 36-litre fuel tank on board.
The Yaris Cross does exactly what you’d expect of a Toyota hybrid. It’s not the most powerful car in the world, but it’s efficient.
Maybe we’re being greedy, but a bit more performance would be nice.
There’s almost a pause when you want to get the car moving and it’s leaning on the petrol engine, as opposed to the instant pickup you get with the electric motor.
On the other hand, the powertrain is excellent when it’s favouring the electric motor. It tends to do that up until around 40km/h, at which point the petrol engine kicks in abruptly.
The two power sources are just a bit inconsistent; the electric motor is silent, but the petrol engine makes enough fuss to make up for it. Driven sedately it’s smooth enough, but the 1.5L hybrid system in the Yaris Cross just feels a bit underdone compared to the 1.8-litre unit in the Corolla.
The engine would be a perfect fit plodding around the city as it’s seamless and the car favours the electric motor at lower speeds, but it’s not aimed at people spending their life on the open road.
One surprising positive, which really stepped up the driving experience of the Yaris, was the handling. It’s almost glued to the road, and the well-weighted steering really gave me a lot of confidence whipping around in the torrential rain we experienced behind the wheel.
The steering on the Yaris Cross is light and easy to navigate around the city, and it’s easy enough to park with a coffee in your hand.
The suspension can be a little clunky though, bigger wheels on a smaller body meant we found ourselves crashing into some imperfections. The Yaris Cross is very comfortable on the freeway, and it’s nice enough in the city provided you aren’t pounding potholes.
The lane-keep assist and lane departure warning are more subtle than other models we’ve experienced, and it didn’t feel like the car was constantly trying to take control which is a nice change.
Visibility is good too, with a higher seating position and no big pillars obstructing outward view, but the blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert offer good backup.
Although the surround-view camera isn’t standout, it does the job and makes parking this city crossover a breeze.
The Yaris Cross is covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, extended to seven years on the powertrain if you service within the dealer network.
Servicing is required every 12 months or 15,000 kilometres, whichever comes first.
There are four capped-price services on offer, each of which are priced at $205.
It’s hard to say too many negative things about a car that’s overall safe, cheap to run, and comfortable to drive, but the Yaris Cross is missing the final bit of refinement that would make it a fantastic car.
It certainly holds its own, and it’s easy to understand why people are buying the car in big numbers.
That doesn’t mean we don’t want a little bit more, especially for this model’s asking price.
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