New Toyota Yaris SUV spied winter testing

Toyota will launch a new sub Nissan Juke-sized crossover, based on the same platform as the latest Yaris supermini

Our spy photographers have spotted Toyota’s upcoming Yaris-based compact crossover undergoing its winter development programme. When it reaches the UK market next year, it’ll offer fresh competition for the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur – and it’ll sit on the same platform as the brand new Yaris hatchback.

This development mule is wearing the previous-generation Yaris’s bodywork as camouflage, but its taller suspension system, loftier driving position and slightly shoddy panel fitment suggests Toyota’s freshly developed GA-B platform is lurking underneath.

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The GA-B underpinnings will allow the new model to feature electrification at the heart of its range. Indeed, given the slightly higher price positioning over the Yaris, Toyota may choose to avoid the supermini’s entry-level 1.0-litre petrol engine and make its new offering’s line-up entirely hybrid.

That would mean using the same 1.5-litre petrol-based hybrid powertrain as the Yaris, with a total system output of around 115bhp and the ability to complete up to 80 per cent of urban journeys on electric power alone, thanks to a lithium-ion battery pack. A more conventional 1.5-litre offering, including a manual gearbox alongside Toyota’s familiar CVT auto, could also be made available according to market demand.

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Inside, expect the baby SUV to get the same infotainment set-up as upper-end Yaris models, with a 10-inch head-up display and a large central touchscreen incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

It’s sized to sit below the C-HR, despite the fact that the futuristic crossover is already slightly smaller than the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Peugeot 3008. Toyota believes that having a car closer to the 4.0-metre length of most superminis will appeal to customers put off by the C-HR’s higher price.

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Toyota may also choose to extend the Yaris’s wheelbase slightly for the production model, giving the SUV a little more rear legroom to counter the likes of the Captur and in particular the Citroen C3 Aircross and Skoda Kamiq. However, the dimensions of our spied test mule remain unchanged over the Mk3 Yaris.

Speaking to Auto Express in 2019, Toyota Europe’s Executive Vice President, Matthew Harrison, admitted that the company was already considering expanding its SUV line-up at the smaller end of its range.

“SUV segments in general are all continuing to grow,” he told us. “C-HR is playing in the very top end of what could almost be a sort of coupé-crossover C-segment SUV. It doesn’t really compete with other products like Qashqai or more practical offerings.

“If you look at the level of conquest we have with that car, it’s incredible, even from premium brands. But the way that area of the market is continuing to grow and sub-divide, there would definitely be opportunities for additional products. I don’t think for a minute that we’ve got it all covered with C-HR.”

He added: “The traditional supermini hatch [like the Ford Fiesta and Toyota’s Yaris] is probably the most robust of the segments. It’s holding up better than saloons and larger hatchbacks against crossovers – partly because of affordability, I think. 

“But the B-SUV segment is also growing, pulling customers down from the C-segment. So we’re looking, we’re evaluating, and we see an increasing number of players doing that. There may be opportunities in future. The platform is flexible enough to support something like that, for sure.”

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