THE 2021 Toyota Yaris Cross GX is Toyota’s smallest SUV, built on the new generation GA-B Toyota Global Architecture (TNGA) platform. It sports a strong family resemblance to its hatch sibling, yet appears to share no body panels.
The ultra compact SUV, if that’s a thing, and clearly it is, because the Yaris Cross is not the only entrant into this category, has a range that includes AWD and hybrid variants, and rides 20mm higher than hatch variants.
Finished in Stunning Silver metallic paint, in the case of our test vehicle, its body colour is complemented by black lower cladding with a name-indented rear door section, and black wheel arch trims.
We hit the road in the pint-sized soft roader in an early morning run up the M1 Pacific Motorway north of Sydney, and the 3-cylinder 1.5-litre motor did surprisingly well. Some of the steeper hills had the Yaris Cross revving hard, but it was nothing unexpected.
Road noise was never an issue either, with the 88kW power plant keeping quiet for the most part. It’s paired with a smooth and efficient CVT gearbox that drives the front wheels, and there are paddle shifters if you want to get really excited.
Fuel economy came in at 6.5-litres/100km.
The car feels balanced and responsive through suburban and highway driving conditions, and handled Sydney’s not always great roads with comfort and stability. The Yaris Cross GX rides on 16-inch alloy wheels and Bridgestone tyres.
Ventilated front rotors and solid rear disc brakes, with ABS and brake assist, ensure it stops well too. MacPherson front struts and rear torsion beam suspension smooths out uneven road surfaces and aggressive speed bumps.
Inside, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provide that all important link to your smartphone, and while the base model GX doesn’t have satellite navigation, Google Maps worked well in its place.
The seating position is quite good too, with the base able to be adjusted lower for those with longer legs. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and height as well to ensure a comfortable position for almost anybody.
Our first impression of the dash took a moment to place the (digital) instruments in context. The tacho sits on the left with the gear position indicator in its centre. On the opposite side, is the fuel and temperature gauge, with the speedo readout in its centre.
Between both is a 4.2-inch multi-information display, which indicates such information as time, outside temperature and remaining fuel range. An economy progress bar displays various states of fuel usage through the current driving conditions.
We like the well sized steering wheel which is finished in stitched leather. The switch gear is easily accessible, with sound and phone controls on the left spoke and cruise control, lane trace assist and information display mode adjustment buttons on the right.
The 7-inch colour touchscreen display is centrally mounted on the dash and is easily read and operated. Single zone climate control air conditioning controls sit directly below, where you’ll also find some small storage spaces.
It’s an ideal spot for phone storage, as it’s located next to the USB port and 12v power outlet. Two cup holders sit in the console, with a larger rear holder. The front door bins have 1.5-litre bottle holders too, but these are weirdly narrow.
This may be limiting for those who like to carry personal items (like their wallet) in close proximity. Back seat passengers get two drink holders too, located in the centre arm rest, and these are good for 600ml bottles.
Cargo space in the boot is a reasonable 390 litres (with the seats up) and shouldn’t cause restriction on the weekly grocery run. The tailgate has good overhead clearance aided by the higher ride height of the Yaris Cross, and is fitted with a cargo blind.
The Yaris Cross SUV, like all of its Toyota brethren, is well equipped in the safety stakes, with the inclusion of multiple airbags, including front seat centre bags. These are designed to protect front seat occupants against head knocks in a collision.
This is also the first Toyota model that features Toyota Connected Services, using its own on-board SIM card to provide access to the company’s emergency call centre in the case of an airbag deployment or emergency event.
Toyota Safety Sense is also on board, with road sign assist, pedestrian and (daytime only) bicycle detection, hill start assist, active cornering assist, and intersection turn assist. Radar cruise, stability and traction control are also included.
The lane trace assist system, which utilises a centre mounted windscreen camera, can be quite assertive and will be an acquired taste for this driver. The Yaris Cross also has smart entry, push button start and an electric parking brake.
AM/FM/DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and subscription-based music streaming make the audio experience a good one, with six speakers on offer for a pretty decent sound system.
The reverse camera with guide lines imbues confidence in reversing and parking, and there’s even a funky little under door mirror mounted viewer to see distance to the gutter. This should assist in reducing kerb rash on the alloy wheels.
As long-time fans of folding mirrors, it is pleasing to note this is standard equipment at this vehicle price point. Automatic headlight operation is another nice to have item in the set and forget category.
Those needing to mount child seats will find ISOFIX fittings in the rear seat to make that part of life painless. And with a colour palette of seven premium paints and one solid shade, finding your look shouldn’t be difficult.
Additionally, the Urban variants include two-tone options should you wish to make a statement. Colours include Atomic Rush, Lunar Blue, Crystal Pearl, Ink, Tuscan Gold, Latte, Mineral Blue, or Stunning Silver.
As well as the grey fabric seat trims found in our test vehicle, Urban grades offer brown synthetic leather. The 2021 Toyota Yaris Cross comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty (with seven years on the engine and driveline).
Capped price servicing is available for the first five years and Hybrid versions have a battery warranty up to 10 years. In its as tested form, the Yaris Cross GX is priced at $31,070 drive away.
Our test vehicle was supplied by Toyota Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Toyota Yaris Cross GX, contact your local Toyota dealer.