New 2021 Toyota Yaris Cross Dynamic launched
Almost a year after it was first teased, Nissan Juke-rivalling Toyota Yaris Cross is brought to the UK market
The Toyota Yaris Cross will be available for UK buyers to order from May this year, with first deliveries expected in September. So far, Toyota has only released the specification of the mid-range Yaris Cross Dynamic, although a flagship Excel variant has been confirmed for production.
Dynamic models come as standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, silver roof rails and a rugged body kit that includes front and rear skid plates. Inside, it features piano-black dashboard trim, faux-leather upholstery, a black headliner and a leather steering wheel and gear selector gaiter.
Toyota will also soon launch a limited-run Premiere Edition version of the Yaris Cross Dynamic, which will only be available for the first 12 months of the car’s release. Upgrades over the standard model include leather seats, a head-up display, two-tone paint, a power-operated tailgate and a unique set of 18-inch alloy wheels.
New 2021 Toyota Yaris Cross: platform and powertrain
The Yaris Cross is the firm’s second European model to be based on the smallest version of Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform. It’s a scalable set of chassis components which underpin everything from the Yaris and Corolla, to the RAV4 and American saloons.
The crossover’s hybrid powertrain was lifted from the Yaris hatchback. This comprises a 1.5-litre three-cylinder Atkinson cycle petrol engine, a compact electric motor and a new lithium-ion battery pack. The system generates a total output of 114bhp and can either power the wheels directly through a CVT transmission or charge the battery pack for what Toyota calls a “generous” all-electric driving range.
Toyota claims strong fuel economy and low emissions for the new powertrain, but so far has only revealed provisional CO2 figures. Under WLTP, expect a figure below 120g/km for front-wheel-drive versions of the Yaris Cross, with the all-wheel-drive versions equipped with Toyota’s AWD-i system below 135g/km.
Four-wheel-drive versions come with no practicality penalty, and it gains more sophisticated double-wishbone suspension at the rear, too, compared with the front-wheel-drive car’s torsion beam setup.
No other engine details have been confirmed, but the new Yaris will eventually be available with conventional petrol drivetrains with manual gearboxes, and we’d expect the Yaris Cross to follow suit. In certain European markets a non-hybrid, 1.5-litre petrol engine will arrive, but we don’t yet know if the UK is one of those markets.
New 2021 Toyota Yaris Cross: design and interior
While the newcomer’s name suggests that it’s a member of the Yaris family, it sits apart from its Ford Fiesta-rivalling sibling with a look of its own. Instead of falling into line with the hatchback, the crossover’s design is inspired by some of the larger SUVs in Toyota’s line-up, particularly the RAV4.
“Clearly, we want the car to be immediately perceived as a SUV, so we emphasised a higher ground clearance, a strong horizontal axis giving a great balance and poise, big squared wheel arches and of course big wheels,” explains Lance Scott, design manager at Toyota’s European Design Development studio.
“The face was also a very important aspect for us. We wanted to keep the strong DNA of Toyota’s SUV line-up but at the same time give Yaris Cross an identity of its own.”
The grille and headlights are different from the ones of Toyota’s supermini, while the surfacing down the sides is given a rugged twist with large, tough-looking wheel arches and a new C-pillar.
Around the back there’s a new rear fascia, too, while the hatch lid is power-operated on some models. Toyota has not confirmed a boot size just yet, but it will almost certainly be a more practical car than the Yaris, while features such as an adjustable boot floor, underfloor storage and Toyota’s Belt Flex system for securing items are all available.
The Yaris Cross is only 6mm shorter than the Ford Puma but its wheelbase is a more significant 28mm shorter. Compared to the Nissan Juke, it's 45mm longer overall with a 30mm longer wheelbase. The Cross shares its wheelbase with the Yaris supermini, but it's 240mm longer overall and 90mm taller. With 30mm of extra ground clearance, we would expect there to be a good amount of extra headroom inside.
While the exterior design is a departure from the Yaris, the Yaris Cross shares most of its interior design with the supermini, right down to the door cards. There’s a new steering wheel, new instrumentation and a larger central touchscreen, along with a storage bin in the centre console.
Even though the Yaris Cross is 200mm shorter than the C-HR, Toyota also claims it offers more space inside, thanks to packaging gains over its larger, more rakish sibling.
It will be built at Toyota’s French production facility in Valenciennes, and in big quantities too: around 150,000 a year according to Toyota’s own estimations. That would give the brand a sizable market share in the European B-SUV market, if it were to sell every one.
Rivals: what the new Yaris Cross has to beat
Price from: £17,995
The second generation of Renault’s small SUV has borrowed heavily from the latest Clio, and that’s a good thing. The Captur’s cabin is now right up there with the best in class, and the boot is practical enough to rival many family hatchbacks, let alone smaller SUV rivals.
The Renault’s star turn could well be plug-in electrification. The E-Tech version is a proper PHEV, with a big enough battery to manage journeys of up to 30 miles on electricity alone.
Price from: £20,710
Hybrid badging on Ford’s excellent small SUV shows how muddied the waters are now becoming in this area. Unlike the Yaris and Captur, Ford’s offering is a mild hybrid – in effect, with a belt-driven starter-generator that harnesses braking energy and then uses it to help acceleration and save fuel.
Still, the Puma manages some solid economy figures – with up to 50mpg feasible in the real world – and it’s probably the best-driving of all the small SUVs.
Price from: £31,665
Latest version of Peugeot’s small SUV has possibly the widest choice of powertrains of all – with customers being offered petrol power, diesel power and even the option of a fully electric edition.
The e-2008 has a 50kWh battery that gives a range of around 190 miles. A clever platform layout means there’s no less space than in the e-2008’s conventionally powered siblings, but its cost puts it right at the top of the small SUV market on price.
Get more from Auto Express...