AUSTRALIA’S love affair with robust, high-riding SUVs is set to intensify late this year when Toyota introduces its newest and most affordable crossover, the Yaris Cross, based on the next-generation Yaris.
The Yaris Cross, unveiled last night (23 April) at a global digital media conference, will join Toyota’s C-HR and RAV4 in offering both petrol and hybrid power trains.
Toyota Australia’s VP of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, said the Yaris Cross will meet the changing tastes of consumers that has seen sales of SUVs over recent years grow to represent almost 50 per cent of new vehicle sales.
“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.
Entering the new SUV Light segment, the distinctive and stylish Yaris Cross brings together Toyota’s heritage in small-car styling and SUV engineering to deliver a “big-small” design, presenting a roomy interior within compact exterior dimensions.
The Yaris Cross is also a genuine SUV, benefiting from Toyota’s extensive experience in this category, starting more than 25 years ago with the pioneering RAV4 that is today, the world’s best-selling SUV.
The new vehicle’s authentic SUV credentials are reinforced by its raised ride height, higher driving position, practicality, interior space and available 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.
As a member of the Yaris family, the Yaris Cross is built on Toyota’s new GA-B compact car platform. This ensures a high level of body rigidity and a well-balanced chassis, making the car responsive and agile.
The Yaris hatch 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.
Available all-wheel-drive technology provides extra stability and traction in everyday driving, in poor conditions and on low-grip surfaces.
In normal driving, the Yaris Cross operates with front-wheel drive, but when low-grip conditions are detected, AWD is engaged automatically.
An intelligent AWD system is available with the hybrid power train, and 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 are standard across the range.
Along with the highly rigid new platform, the Yaris Cross is designed to meet the highest and most rigorous independent test standards.
The TSS system supports safe driving practices by providing driver information, early warnings and, when necessary, automatic braking and steering intervention.
Adding the Yaris Cross to the local line-up will expand Toyota’s SUV range in Australia to seven vehicles, spanning the light (Yaris Cross), small (C-HR), medium (RAV4), large (Prado, Kluger, Fortuner) and upper-large (LandCruiser wagon) segments.
Australians bought in excess of 480,000 SUVs last year, of which more than 80,000 – or one in six – wore a Toyota badge.