What happens when a nippy little urban super-mini gets an SUV makeover?
The answer is the 2022 Toyota Yaris Cross, Toyota's newest addition to its light SUV sector. Light SUVs retain a strong street hatch vibe - you're not going to get far off-roading the Yaris Cross. The SUV overtones mainly relate to styling, ground clearance and driver position, with the extra height giving a better view of the road than that obtained from a lower-set vehicle.
Here we take a look at the various features of the 2022 Yaris Cross, as well as consider how they rate in comparison to other light SUVs on the market. We also briefly consider three other alternatives to the Yaris Cross (the Toyota CHR, the Honda HRV and the Hyundai Kona) that may suit some drivers better.
One of the key features of the Yaris Cross is the choice of a hybrid engine, as well as a standard petrol option. Slick exterior styling, a boot you can get lost in and a pretty impressive suite of tech features are all good reasons to be driving the Yaris Cross out of the showroom.
Exterior and Interior
Toyota has done a pretty good job of revamping the Yaris' exterior so that it does look impressively SUV-ish. It does share the same underpinnings as the traditional Yaris hatch, however, although an extra 20mm of ground clearance contributes to the SUV look. The back end has been reshaped to give a more solid, boxy look in comparison to the Yaris.
Insider, the layout and features are virtually identical to a Yaris. Toyota makes excellent use of the space (including a boot that's one of the largest in class). Features such as a leather-accented steering wheel, a digital instrument cluster, 7.0" infotainment screen and keyless entry ensure the Yaris Cross has everything you'd expect to find in a modern vehicle.
Drivers can choose between the 1.5l, 3-cylinder, naturally aspirated petrol engine (145Nm of torque/88 kW)or the hybrid version, a 1.5l, 3-cylinder, naturally aspirated petrol engine (141Nm of torque/59kW) paired with a double generator set-up that, in total, provides up to 85kW of output.
Both engines come with a 10-speed CVT (continuous variable transmission).
Fuel efficiency is something that the Yaris Cross does well. The hybrid version averages 3.8l/100km (for the 2WD variant) and 4.0l/100km for the AWD. The petrol engine variant delivers 5.5l/100km. This is seriously good fuel efficiency which is difficult to beat in the light SUV class, especially if you opt for the hybrid.
Driver reviews are generally favourable, particularly around town. Responsive handling and compact dimensions mean it's perfect for traffic and smaller parking spaces. Out on the highway, critics weren't impressed by the choppy change from electric to petrol engine fuelling, loud engine noise and a lack of power at higher speeds.
The Yaris Cross has everything you'd expect from a modern SUV, but none of it stands out from the crowd as being particularly ground-breaking or fresh (you may wish to look at a Hyundai, Mazda or Skoda for better tech).
Its infotainment screen is judged easy to operate by reviewers, whilst wireless Apple Auto and Android Carplay are always a plus. A rear-view camera (which is vital because the layout of the backend means visibility isn't the best), climate control and some nifty front storage are all pluses.
ANCAP 5-star rated and incorporating the Toyota Safety Sense suite of autonomous safety features, the Yaris Cross is a safe little SUV that you can drive with confidence.
Toyota has a good reputation for reliability and sound build quality, so scores well on both physical safety and autonomous safety, which includes pre-collision warning features and pedestrian detection.
The Yaris Cross is available in three variants - the GX, GXL and the urban. The 2022 prices for these range from $26,990 for a base-spec, 2WD GX right through to the hybrid AWD Urban, where you're looking at about $40,000.
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- Hybrid engine that offers excellent fuel efficiency.
- Attractive exterior styling and a good choice of paint colours.
- Spacious interior and a large boot.
- The Yaris Cross is quite pricey for what you get in comparison with others in the sector.
- It's not a great choice for longer trips or rural driving.
- For the price, you'd expect more innovative tech and less engine noise.
Toyota builds reliable vehicles that drive nicely and are backed by a solid warranty. The 2022 Yaris Cross looks adorable and is awesomely fuel-efficient. If you want a Yaris in SUV guise for urban driving, this is a great option.
That said, despite its SUV looks, there isn't much SUV performance or versatility. The lack of power, engine noise and mediocre tech are all factors to take into consideration. If you want an SUV that delivers adaptability, excitement and a bit more muscle under the bonnet, take a look at one of the other options detailed below.
Other Options to Consider
1. Toyota CH-R
If you fancy something a little bigger and that has a beefier engine, but which still has the reliability and fuel efficiency of a Toyota, it may be worth looking at a CH-R. Characterised by dramatic styling, the CH-R has been praised by reviewers for its sporty handling and comfortable ride.
2. Honda H-RV
The H-RV is well-known for its excellent use of interior space. If you're a driver who needs a second row spacious enough for adults to ride in comfortably, the H-RV is the one to look at. It's also got a generous boot. Although not the fastest or most technically advanced, it's certainly no slouch.
3. Hyundai Kona
Competitively priced, reviewers are quick to praise the Kona's slick tech, competent driving performance and attractive exterior styling. The Kona is a good all-rounder that ticks all the right SUV boxes. It's not as spacious as some other compact SUVs, but if you want a vehicle that gives you plenty for your dollars, the Kona is a promising proposition.