For me, it looks great; there’s no doubt that the car looks handsome. However, the face, the headlights and the grille give you an impression that the design direction in Toyota’s Maison is a bit inconsistent.
I wouldn’t mind seeing less randomness so you can really feel the family ties – the Yaris Cross looks more like a RAV4 than a Yaris to me.
Regardless, the Toyota Yaris Cross GX is like a fortune cookie: it’s light, it’s crisp, and it sparks your curiosity. If your mind is open, it may take you on a little journey.
Compared to the Yaris hatchback, the 2023 Toyota Yaris Cross GX is bigger and better in almost every design aspect. It’s also a high-rider, which definitely elevates the driving experience – literally and figuratively.
The car we have on test is the absolute entry level variant – the Yaris Cross GX 2WD – priced from a fairly affordable $27,840 plus on-road costs.
It’s the first stepping stone in a sprawling range of variants which includes no less than three distinct trim levels, two powertrains, and the option of front- and all-wheel drive.
The range has seen a recent price bump of around $850 compared to 2022, as well as the addition of a new GR Sport variant which uses the 2WD Hybrid drivetrain and blends it with sporty Gazoo Racing appointents.
Drive-away, this base Yaris Cross GX 2WD will set you back just under $32,000 using a Melbourne postcode.
2023 Toyota Yaris Cross pricing:
- Toyota Yaris Cross GX 2WD: $27,840
- Toyota Yaris Cross GX 2WD Hybrid: $29,840
- Toyota Yaris Cross GXL 2WD: $30,840
- Toyota Yaris Cross GXL 2WD Hybrid: $32,840
- Toyota Yaris Cross GX AWD Hybrid: $32,840
- Toyota Yaris Cross Urban 2WD: $33,840
- Toyota Yaris Cross GXL AWD Hybrid: $35,840
- Toyota Yaris Cross Urban 2WD Hybrid: $35,840
- Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport 2WD Hybrid: $35,840
- Toyota Yaris Cross Urban AWD Hybrid: $38,840
All prices exclude on-road costs
The Yaris Cross has personality, even in base trim. You might see it at first glance or not, but the Yaris Cross’s body is based on the shape of a diamond.
I enjoy these soft curves combined with the sharp angles. It’s like the car was blown into a fluid shape in the glass shop and then sandpapered down to reveal some edges and give it a more dynamic look.
I also appreciate the two-tone body option, the side-to-side tail lights, and a wider and more squared tailgate at the back.
It shares its TNGA-B compact car platform with the Yaris hatchback. The wheelbase is 2560mm long, the same as the standard Yaris hatch. However, the Yaris Cross is 240mm longer and 85mm higher, which gives more room for passengers and your gear.
The car is pretty spacious inside with enough room to move around comfortably. The interior is simple, pleasant and looks stylish.
The front seats feature fabric trim with dark grey and silver pattern inserts that feel soft to touch but are also pretty firm and comfy to sit in for a long ride. The door handles are surprisingly ergonomic – they are pretty deep and easy to grab.
Each door has a small storage compartment that will fit a water bottle or an umbrella. The glovebox is pretty slim and will not hold much (unless the manufacturers will start printing manuals in smaller fonts to give us some glovebox space back).
A very convenient phone-size shelf is located between the aircon dashboard and multimedia screen. It fits the gadget perfectly – but unfortunately, it doesn’t wirelessly charge your phone.
The Yaris Cross is pitched as a budget-friendly car, so an abundance of plastic was not a shock to me. The front console’s architecture is divided into two horizontal parts, giving this simple interior a bolder look.
The brushed chrome elements, inner door mouldings, and shiny black inserts are smartly integrated in the design. A leather-accented steering wheel feels posh in contrast.
I like that it’s minimalistic without looking and feeling cheap.
There are a few disappointments, though. The absence of the armrest between the driver and the passenger feels like an oversight.
The GX is the base Yaris Cross, so you’ll see a few pretty big plastic button covers in the centre console near the USB charger, which is not ideal.
I’d prefer to enjoy my car without a constant reminder that I didn’t choose an higher grade.
The 7.0-inch colour touchscreen display is definitely a bit behind the times and needs a update, even if wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
The space in the back seat is pretty generous, I had enough room to sit comfortably.
There’s an armrest with two cup holders in the back and a small storage compartment in each door (surprisingly, there’s only one seat pocket). This car is advertised as a five-seater, but realistically four is enough.
The boot is pretty generous in size at 390 litres. You can also fold the rear seats with a 40:20:40 split.
The Yaris Cross GX comes with 16-inch alloy wheels and a temporary space saver spare.
Petrol versions of the Toyota Yaris Cross are powered by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that produces 88kW of power and 145Nm of torque.
Power is delivered to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The Yaris Cross’s Dynamic Force engine (M15A) is an interesting one. It was initially developed in 2017-2019 as a part of Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) strategy aimed to simplify the cars produced by Toyota.
Before TNGA, Toyota had almost one hundred platform variants and roughly 800 engine variations. Under the New Global Architecture, the number of engines was reduced to nine with 17 variations.
The new engine design was focused on both driving and environmental performance. Claimed fuel consumption is rated at 5.4L/100km.
The Toyota Yaris Cross is a really nice car to drive.
It’s built on the same modular GA-B platform as the Yaris hatch, however, unlike the Yaris hatch, the Yaris Cross has an increased ground clearance which allows the driver to sit higher.
The GA-B platform claims to have lighter components, which helps to keep a low centre of gravity, and better weight distribution. The suspension offers excellent stability and control, paired with a comfortable ride – it’s a win-win.
It’s agile but obviously not a sports car. The CVT is smooth and the handling is predictable. The Yaris Cross will not blow your socks off with its performance, but it’s smooth and linear – perfect for the urban grind.
The gearbox has four driving modes and an option for a manual gear selection. There are also two racing-car-style gear flaps under the steering wheel – but again, this isn’t a sports car.
For me, the beauty of the Yaris Cross is how good it is to drive in slow-moving urban traffic.
The steering is very responsive and works well around the corners. Combined with the car’s travel-size proportions, you can easily handle any tight space situation with confidence.
The reversing camera also helps, as do the electronically retractable door mirrors. Unfortunately, front and rear parking sensors are not available in Yaris Cross GX – you need to step up to the GXL – the same goes for blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
Once I got on the highway, the assistance systems felt amazing. It accurately monitored the lanes and softly centred me back to the road whenever I was about to cross without indicating. It also sends a soft beeping signal so you can correct yourself if needed.
All driver assist features can be controlled from the driver’s cluster. You can toggle settings with the buttons located on the steering wheel.
The Yaris Cross GX’s driving assist features include autonomous emergency braking (AEB) which covers intersection turn assistance as well as pedestrian and daylight cyclist detection, in addition to lane departure alert and Lane Trace Assist (centring).
The Yaris Cross GX is also equipped with the road sign assist that can read Australian speed signs, automatic high beam and all-speed adaptive cruise control.
The new Yaris Cross GX also comes with three years of complimentary Toyota Connected Services which means you’ll have access to app-based features like stolen vehicle tracking, automatic collision notification and SOS emergency call.
Yaris Cross GX highlights:
- 16-inch alloy wheels
- 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- 4.2-inch instrument cluster
- Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
- Keyless entry and start
- Leather-accented steering wheel
- 40/20/40 split/fold rear seat
- Toyota Connected Services (3yr subscription)
- Automatic high-beam
- Halogen projector-type headlights
- Fabric upholstery
- 2 x centre console cup holders
- 1 x USB port
- Spare tyre (tyre repair kit in AWD hybrid)
The Toyota Yaris Cross wears a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on testing conducted in 2021.
It scored 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 safety assist.
Standard safety features include:
- 8 airbags
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Pedestrian detection (day/night)
- Cyclist detection (day)
- Junction assist
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane departure warning
- Lane Trace Assist (centring)
- Traffic sign recognition
- Reversing camera
The Yaris Cross is backed by a five year, unlimited kilometre warranty as with the broader Toyota range.
Service intervals are every 12 months or 15,000kms – whichever comes first.
Toyota’s capped-price servicing program for the Yaris Cross will set you back $250 per visit for the first five years.
Does small now have it all?
The Yaris Cross GX is a crossover that definitely should be high on your consideration list.
It’s reasonably priced and efficient, paired with fun driving experience for both city traffic and weekend adventures.
The base GX definitely has its limitations, though – you’re left wanting for some desirable features reserved for the GXL, and the option for AWD only comes with the hybrid drivetrain.
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