Possibly even more so in the new Yaris Cross, their first stab at a small SUV which has broadened the appeal of this popular little car.
Working on the principle that not all of us want a hulking great SUV with a hulking great price tag hanging of its door mirror, Toyota have come up with this – a mix of the supermini and the RAV4.
But it remains one of the most compact cars in its class with commendable load space and a decent amount of room for passengers.
The original Yaris was launched back in 1999 and this latest variant retains its sharp handling that I’ve always appreciated it for over the years. It still gives you a very comfortable ride, and its positive steering makes it easy to manoeuvre around town.
They’ve maximised the interior space, which is very good indeed for a car with such a compact footprint on the road, and given it a bolder Toyota family look at the same time.
It offers quality and reliability – things that customers have high on their shopping list. The interior of Toyotas down the ages have never been overtly flashy but they’ve always been smart and functional, with a hint of unbreakable durability – probably why the stablemate Prius hybrid is so popular among the taxi driving fraternity. That, and the economy.
So, no frills but everything you need.
The drivetrain consists of a 1.5 litre three cylinder petrol engine mated up to a CVT transmission. It has a hybrid transaxle which packages electric generator and motor alongside each other onth front axle.
The transmission sounds like its revving its little Japanese nuts off but builds the speed up with decent haste. No slouch, it displays good pick up and good response under your right foot when you need it.Yaris Cross is a hybrid and has a few rivals in the small SUV sector like Hyundai’s Kona. Its EV mode is good for round town and even out on the open road, when you can keep the speed fairly constant and your right foot isn’t flattening the carpet, it’ll amble along in hybrid mode, the car’s ECU making the choice between electric, petrol or a combination of the two. The end result of that is that you’ll see pretty damn good economy displayed in the instrument cluster without you actually having to try too hard.
Our round town and cross country journeys notched up 56.8mpg at the end of the week – better than Toyota claim for the car, and the perceived wisdom is that if you put in a bit of effort, Eco mode can flash up an even higher return on the dash for your cash. And you can see on the display how much you’ve been solely using electric power.
As a small SUV the ride height has been bumped up by 25mm over the standard Yaris and gives you a feeling of sitting just that bit higher, and all round visibility is adequate.
Standard fare on Design trim sampled here is an eight inch infotainment screen and a seven inch driver info display, as well as automatic air con, a rear view camera, LED lights and 17 inch alloys.
Toyota Yaris Cross Design 1.5 Hybrid
Price: £24,140 (£25,520 as tested)
Engine: 1.5 litre, three cylinder, petrol hybrid
Transmission: CVT auto, front wheel drive
Top speed: 106mph
0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
CO2 emissions: 102g/km
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