Toyota is planning to introduce a new, pint-sized crossover later in the year based on the next-generation Yaris.

With the current trend to smaller, more compact SUVs, the Yaris Cross is destined to be a sure-fire winner.

It will join Toyota’s C-HR and RAV4 in offering both petrol and hybrid powertrains.

Yaris Cross is based on a “big-small” design and packaging concept, presenting a roomy and flexible interior within compact exterior dimensions.

Toyota says Yaris Cross is also a genuine SUV, benefiting from the company’s extensive experience in this category.

Its off-road credentials are supported by a raised ride height, higher driving position and optional all-wheel drive (AWD).

Compared with the upcoming new Yaris hatch, ground clearance is 30mm higher and the vehicle is taller and wider overall — by 90mm and 20mm respectively.

Yaris Cross is built on Toyota’s new GA-B compact car platform, with a high level of body rigidity and well-balanced chassis, making the car responsive and agile.

Yaris and Yaris Cross are the first models to use Toyota’s new 1.5-litre, three-cylinder engine technology, including precision engineering that reduces friction and mechanical losses and optimises combustion speed.

All-wheel-drive, available with higher grade models, provides extra stability and traction in everyday driving, in poor conditions and on low-grip surfaces.

In normal driving, the torque on demand system operates with front-wheel drive.

An intelligent AWD system is available with the hybrid powertrain, it is more compact and weighs less than traditional mechanical AWD units.

The electric system directs drive torque to the rear axle when pulling away and when accelerating.

It is expected to achieve better fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions than any of its AWD segment competitors.

Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) active safety systems and advanced driver assistance functions, along with the highly rigid new platform, are designed to meet the highest and most rigorous independent test standards.

TSS can help support safe driving practices by providing driver information, early warnings and, when necessary, automatic braking and steering intervention.

Toyota Australia Vice President Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley said Yaris Cross will meet the changing tastes of consumers for SUVs that has seen sales over recent years grow to represent almost 50 per cent of new vehicle sales.

Australians bought more than 480,000 SUVs last year, of which more than 80,000 — or one in six — wore a Toyota badge.

“Yaris Cross is a stylish and flexible vehicle for people with active lifestyles who appreciate the strength, space and high-riding qualities of an SUV at a scale that suits their daily need to negotiate city streets and laneways,” Mr Hanley said.

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Pint-sized Yaris crossover on the way

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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