Toyota Yaris Cross review - Engines, performance and drive

It’s a case of hybrid efficiency over driving fun with the Yaris Cross

With a focus on efficiency rather than outright performance, the Yaris Cross doesn’t offer too much in the way of sprinting ability. Acceleration times are average at best and the combination of a 1.5-litre, petrol-hybrid unit and a CVT automatic transmission won’t excite keen drivers, although there is a rorty three-cylinder soundtrack when you’re pushing on, which adds a little more driving spirit.

Toyota has identified that Yaris Cross buyers will most probably live in more built-up, urban areas, so it’s important that the compact SUV is comfortable and easy to pilot around town. Has it succeeded? In part, yes, with the Cross able to deliver the benefits of smooth electric power up to 30mph, and the petrol engine barely noticeable as it kicks in to increase the pace. It’s a good set-up for driving in stop-start traffic and, during our own test, we found the system made use of its battery power as much as possible.

Despite the increased ride height of the Cross model over the regular Yaris supermini, it remains pretty nimble through the corners, too. There’s not much lean, while its relatively low 1,265kg kerb weight helps with overall efficiency and performance.

The ride comfort in the Yaris Cross is a different matter. It all starts off reasonably well at slower speeds, but put your foot down and you’ll notice how the small SUV struggles to maintain its composure. Rougher sections of tarmac make the Cross a rather uncomfortable drive, while there’s a fair degree of cabin noise to put up with, too.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

With just 114bhp on tap, the Yaris Cross isn’t going to set any land speed records, but it’s brisk enough around town and the front-wheel-drive model will manage the 0-62mph benchmark in 11.2 seconds. Add the extra weight of four-wheel-drive and the sprint time falls to 11.8 seconds, although there’s no difference in the 105mph maximum for both versions.

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