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2021 Toyota Yaris Cross Review: Small SUV, Big Personality

2021 Toyota Yaris

The Toyota Yaris is a particular name that hasn’t been seen in Singapore these recent years. It had a brief tenure that ended back in 2014. Facing declining sales figures and stuff competition from its rivals, it was inevitable. But with the introduction of the 2020 Yaris, Toyota had breathed new life into the small hatchback and added two variants to the Yaris lineup. There is the bonkers GR Yaris, and this, the Toyota Yaris Cross.

But don’t be fooled by its larger proportions and crossover traits. Because under the reworked body panels, the new Yaris Cross is built on the same TNGA-B platform as the new 2020 Yaris hatchback. (which isn’t being sold in Singapore as of now) As such, both the Yaris Cross and standard Yaris share the same wheelbase length. Extended front and rear overhangs make this car just 240mm longer than the normal hatchback. The height of the car is also 60mm higher, partly due to the 30mm increase in ground clearance over the hatchback. Even the width has also been increased, but by just less than two inches.

Despite sharing its roots to the hatchback, the Yaris Cross has a much cleaner and simple look than the standard hatchback. It sports a similar grille design with this little divot for the Toyota logo. It has vertical cut-outs in the bumpers that house the turning indicators. As the whole, the front end looks a lot cleaner than the normal Yaris hatch. Most of the panels are painted and there is less plastic venting and unnecessary complications.

There is black plastic cladding surrounding the wheel arches and the bottom of the doors, just like a full-sized crossover. Though mostly cosmetic, these actually increase the durability by a smidge. The taillights are rather similar to the Yaris, and it is faintly reminiscent of the previous generation Toyota Harrier. The rear windshield and tail light cluster is actually designed to appear as one cohesive piece.

Once you get the rear hatch open, you’re greeted with a 390L boot which is plenty for a B-segment crossover. There are also a few nifty features in the boot, including two tie down points and the adjustable and removable boot floor.

The panels are rather light, and you can store smaller items under the cover as well. The entire rear bench can be folded down, and it splits 40-20-40. The middle seat/armrest can be folded down if you’re loading longer items like a coat rack or skis. But the aperture isn’t very wide, so your options are limited.

There are a few engine options for the Yaris Cross. The model we tested is the standard petrol “G” Variant. So under the hood is a 1.5 litre three pot that’s mated to a CVT transmission. All in all, the Yaris Cross produces 118 horsepower. In its petrol-hybrid guise, it produces 114 horsepower but boasts an amazing fuel economy rating of 30.8km/L.

On the inside, it shares many components with the Yaris it’s based on. In fact, most of the interior features are lifted from the hatchback. Such as this multifunction steering wheel, the 7-inch infotainment screen, which supports both Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto (Not wireless, I’m afraid). The gauge cluster is all new, and actually rather small. There are two round displays for the tachometer and speedometer, plus a rather sizeable screen that houses the trip information displays and multimedia functions.

But as a whole, the cabin is rather well put together. The driver’s seat has plenty of adjustment so you’ll easily find a comfortable driving position. Sure, there are plenty of plastic trim pieces. But from the driver’s seat, I’d say most of the panels feel durable and are textured nicely. Back seat passengers may not feel the same way though.

Despite spending just a few hours in the Yaris Cross, getting to grips with the controls doesn’t take long at all. The interior may be a little spartan, but you do get a lot of standard kit in this car. Including Toyota’s Safety Sense package. I never got to test the radar cruise control in the Yaris Cross, but the model I tested came fitted with it. And lane keep assist system (LKAS).

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The suspension does well at cushioning small bumps, and it tackles humps with ease. NVH is rather decent for a car of this class, though tyre noise Is still audible. And navigating through a narrow carpark will be a real chore. Not because of the turning radius and size (It actually handles very well in tight situations), but because of the drone from tyres scrubbing the ground when you’re trying to make a 3-point turn.

But if I were a tad less nit-picky, I’d say the Yaris Cross is a solid choice for a small crossover. But if you’re in the market for something larger and even more practical, the Toyota Harrier may be right up your street.

Special thanks to MYCAR for the opportunity to experience the 2021 Toyota Yaris Cross.
Contact them here to find out more about their current promotion.


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