As the name suggests, the Toyota Yaris Cross is a version of the popular Yaris hatchback, bulked up to provide access to the even more popular compact SUV category.
Launched here in late-2020, Yaris Cross is available in both two-wheel drive and electric all-wheel drive form, with three grades and a choice of petrol or hybrid drivetrains.
A fourth variant, and our test vehicle, the GR Sport, was added in October, 2022 — but only as a 2WD hybrid.
What’s it cost?
Yaris Cross shares the distinctive styling of the Yaris hatch.
Cross SUV carries a sense of robustness and high-riding demeanour favoured by buyers of bigger genuine off-roaders.
Its bold face features a split grille with a lower diffuser, flanked by deep-set LED daytime running lights and slimline headlight clusters.
At the rear, broad horizontal lines connecting the integrated tail lights and squared-off hatch suggest a robust, practical attitude.
There’s four grades: GX, GXL, GR Sport and Urban.
Prices start from $27,840, while the two-wheel drive GR Sport Hybrid carries a price tag of $35,840.
GR Sport sits between GXL and top of the range Urban grades and can be identified as a part of the GR family thanks to its newly designed black grille with the distinctive ‘G’ mesh pattern found on other GR Toyota sports models.
The same mesh pattern is applied to the rear bumper, with a sporty rear diffuser featuring four vertically oriented aerodynamic fins.
Unique 18-inch alloy wheels with a twin-five-spoke design and bright machined finish also help to differentiate GR Sport from the rest of the Yaris Cross range, housing sporty red brake calipers complete with GR logos on the front brakes.
Black mirror caps and GR badging front and rear complete the exterior changes.
The 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen is pretty basic with physical buttons and knobs on the edges to access most used functions.
The air conditioning controls sit below the screen.
There’s a neat Multi Information Display in front of the driver with two raised round displays on the sides of the 4.2-inch screen.
The system has AM/FM/DAB+ radio, full Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with enhanced voice activation and delivers premium audio through six speakers.
There’s a single USB-A port in the centre console of the GX and GXL with a USB-C added in Urban and GR Sport models.
Satellite navigation with the SUNA traffic channel is standard on variants above GX.
All Yaris Cross models come with the latest version of Toyota Safety Sense technology include a pre-collision safety system with day/night pedestrian and day cyclist detection, emergency steering assist, lane trace assist and lane departure alert with steering assist, intersection turn assist, automatic high beam, road sign recognition and adaptive cruise control.
Standard equipment also includes eight airbags including two between the front seat, reversing camera, parking sensors, seatbelt warning and Isofix child seat anchors.
GXL and above add a blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.
Standard warranty is five years with unlimited distance, with the powertrain increased to seven years if it is serviced on time.
Service intervals are 12 months or 15,000km.
What’s it go like?
The hybrid system for front-wheel drive versions of the Yaris Cross, including the GR Sport, combines a 67kW/120Nm, 1.5-litre three-cylinder, Atkinson Cycle petrol engine and two motor generators on the front axle, putting out a combined 85kW. AWD hybrid Yaris Cross models gain a third electric motor to drive the rear wheels in slippery, on- or off-road conditions.
All variants get a continuously variable transmission with a mechanical first gear for strong take-off.
A 10-speed sequential shift can be operated via the shift lever, or paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
While the platform of the Yaris Cross is only slightly longer and wider than that of the Yaris hatch, it features a substantially longer, wider and taller body to maximise interior space.
While the larger body translates into an airy space for five occupants, three will be a squeeze in the back if they are on the large side.
Inside, GR Sport is identified immediately by unique seats featuring synthetic leather on the bolsters and perforated black suede-like upholstery in the centre, with contrast light grey stitching on the seats and steering wheel.
GR logos adorn the headrests, steering wheel and smart keys, while aluminium pedals provide a race-inspired look.
The front seats have also been redesigned for a more dynamic look and greater support.
Ornamental gun metal trim highlights are applied to the shift knob, instrument panel moulding and inner door trim, while suede-like material is also applied to the door trim inserts.
Urban and GR Sport variants come with nanoeX air ionisation technology which helps to inhibit unwanted pollutants and viruses from entering the cabin.
Boot space in the 2WD Yaris Cross is 390 litres, but drops to 314 litres in the AWD with a clever split floor for extra storage.
The 2WD gets a space-saver spare but the AWD has only a tyre repair kit.
Although its under 4.2 metres in length, clever packaging makes it feel like a much larger vehicle.
It’s relatively easy to get into the front seats although a bit more difficult for rear entrants.