Toyota Yaris Cross review

Toyota Yaris Cross review

We test the chunky crossover version of Toyota’s fuel-efficient Yaris…

Since childhood, we have been told that practice makes perfect. We have learned that nothing is achieved or improved without hard work and repetition. As the great golfer, Gary Player, once said: “The harder I practice, the luckier I get.”

All manufacturing and technical companies focus on one aspect of their general operations so that they become expert and gain a certain reputation that attracts clients who have confidence in their products and services.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

Car companies are no different. For example, Porsche’s cars are dynamic to drive with supreme build quality, while Skodas are spacious and deliver great value for money.

Toyota is known for many things – and hybrid technology is right up there. The Japanese giant was the first to launch a mainstream model that combined petrol and electric drive with the Prius in 2000 (UK debut). What’s more, it’s been able to use that knowledge and expertise gained over the years to constantly improve the system and apply it to a broader range of models.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

The highly successful Yaris supermini has become a hybrid-only car since its last major update in 2020 and combines a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with a small battery and electric motor.

Now, to compete in the currently popular small SUV sector, Toyota has launched the Yaris Cross, which has the same chassis and powertrain, but rides higher and has an off-roader look.

The electric motor produces up to 79bhp and the maximum output for petrol and electric combined is 116bhp. The gearbox is an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) and drive is through the front wheels.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

There will be a four-wheel drive option in due course but you will pay an extra £2,360 for the benefit. The range offers five levels of trim and equipment – Icon, Design, Excel, Dynamic and Premiere edition.

However, even the base Icon has keyless entry, Apple CarPlay, 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear camera, climate control and adaptive cruise control.

My test car came in Design trim with a ticket price of £24,140 and added LED lighting, 20:40:20 folding seats and 17-inch alloys, though the slightly bigger 9.0-inch infotainment screen (usually 8.0-inch) was an extra £500.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

The Yaris Cross looks smart and the bodywork boasts the usual rugged black plastic wheel-arch extensions and raised ride height shared with other small SUVs. If anything it’s more baby RAV4 than big Yaris.

The interior is basically the same as the new Yaris hatchback, which means that it’s clear, functional, modern and features the latest technology.

Rear space is pretty good for two with average knee room, but would be a push for three adults. The boot is roomy at 397 litres (expanding to 1,097 litres with the rear seats flipped down). A raised and flat false floor is available on higher trim levels.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

So how does all this cutting-edge hybrid technology work on the road? Is it smooth in operation and does it provide decent fuel economy?

Well, the clever electronics ensure that the Yaris runs on pure electric power up to 30mph until the battery runs out or you need extra acceleration. It then transfers to hybrid drive and the change is seamless. Engine noise is suppressed and the CVT transmission works well, as long as you don’t floor the accelerator, at which point the revs shoot up.

A dashboard display tells you how much electric driving you are doing and the state of the battery. I found that this encourages a gentler driving style which can only benefit economy.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

In fact, despite an officially quoted fuel consumption of 55-60mpg, I managed to get an indicated 70mpg on a particular varied run without too much trouble. Impressive stuff. The handling is pretty good and the steering is sharp, though some may find the ride is on the firm side.

Overall, it would be wrong to call it a dynamic drive, but then it’s not designed for that. Buy the awesome GR Yaris if you want serious fun.

So, job done for the boldy styled, spacious new Yaris Cross, which works as a good value, fuel-efficient commuter or small family car.

Test Facts

  • Toyota Yaris Cross 1.5 VVT-i Design
  • Body: Five door SUV
  • Engine: 1.0 litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol / electric hybrid
  • Power: 115 bhp
  • Torque: 120 Nm
  • Top Speed: 105 mph
  • Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 11.2 secs
  • WLTP combined mpg: 54.3 to 64.1 mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 102 g/km
  • Range priced from £22,515

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Top 20 cheapest cars to drive in the UK

Home / Auto News / Top 20 cheapest cars to drive in the UK

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

Cost of motoring

New research by comparison site Uswitch has revealed the cheapest cars to run, breaking down the annual running costs of the country’s most popular motors.

Knowing how much it’s going cost to run a car each year is an important part of any purchase decision, so the study calculated the cost per mile (CPM) and annual running cost (including fuel, insurance, road tax and miles per gallon) against the UK’s average mileage (7,400 miles).

Top 20 cheapest cars to run each year in the UK

Rank Vehicle Total Annual Running Cost Average Cost Per Mile
1 Kia Picanto £1,372.63 £0.19
2 Citroen C1 £1,383.50 £0.19
3 Peugeot 108 £1,405.32 £0.19
4 Toyota Aygo £1,418.58 £0.19
5 Toyota Yaris £1,420.18 £0.19
6 Hyundai i10 £1,439.55 £0.19
7 Toyota Corolla £1,443.84 £0.20
8 Toyota Prius £1,446.27 £0.20
9 Fiat 500 £1,448.96 £0.20
10 Suzuki Swift £1,458.33 £0.20
11 Fiat Panda £1,467.62 £0.20
12 Volkswagen UP! £1,481.03 £0.20
13 Honda Jazz £1,487.20 £0.20
14 Hyundai i20 £1,495.95 £0.20
15 Dacia Sandero £1,502.50 £0.20
16 Skoda Fabia £1,510.75 £0.20
17 Kia Ceed £1,513.12 £0.20
18 Renault Megane £1,516.57 £0.20
19 Ford Fiesta £1,526.51 £0.21
20 Mazda 2 £1,526.99 £0.21

“When buying a new car there are many factors that have to be taken into account before making a final decision on which make and model to purchase,” said Joel Kempson, car insurance expert at Uswitch.com.

“However, undoubtedly the most important factor is the costs that come with purchasing a vehicle, not only the cost of the car itself but also the extra cash needed to run it day to day.

“According to our cost per mile (CPM) calculation, the Kia Picanto is the most affordable car to run per mile, making the vehicle a great choice for drivers wanting to save money over the long term.”

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Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who’s worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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Toyota GR Yaris review

Is this rally-bred pocket rocket as good as everyone says it is?

Toyota GR Yaris

I don’t know about you, but I’m always a bit suspicious of a new car when it’s universally acclaimed and wins major awards before it’s even hit the roads.

The Toyota GR Yaris is one such vehicle, but don’t worry, it actually exceeds expectations. Here is a car that bears some resemblance to its sensible (and very good) supermini sibling, but in reality it’s totally different and has been developed with the World Rally Championship in mind.

In fact, Toyota says the only unchanged exterior parts are the headlights, door mirrors, rear light clusters and the shark fin antenna on the roof – everything else has been redesigned or adapted to meet targets for downforce, aerodynamic performance and stability.

Toyota GR Yaris

The most obvious visual difference is that the GR Yaris has three doors, a lower roof line, flared wheel arches and bigger wheels, plus spoilers and air intakes aplenty.

Weight-saving aluminium body panels have been used, along with a forged carbon composite roof, while under the bonnet the regular Yaris’s hybrid 1.5-litre 114bhp petrol engine has been replaced by a bespoke 1.6-litre turbo producing 257bhp and 265lb ft of torque – the world’s most powerful three-cylinder engine and also the smallest and lightest 1.6 turbo.

What’s more, Toyota has also developed a sophisticated full-time four-wheel-drive system for the GR Yaris and the result of this this tech and attention to detail is impressive. A dinky hot hatch that can sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.5 seconds, and on to an electronically limited top speed of 143mph.

Toyota GR Yaris

For the record, this road-going rally special can return up to 34.3mpg and CO2 emissions are 186g/km.

Of course, outright speed is only half the story, it’s how a car uses that performance that matters, and this little fella doesn’t disappoint.

From the moment you fire it up, the GR lets off a low-level growl and is straining at the leash. Pedal to the metal and it’s like a bat out of hell, especially when that turbo boost kicks in.

Toyota GR Yaris

Flick through the slick six-speed manual gearbox, with its sporty short-throw, and it not only feels fast – it is fast.

There’s impressive grunt, even lower down in the rev range, and thanks to a little acoustic enhancement, the engine note builds to a throaty roar to add to the theatre of the driving experience.

Toyota GR Yaris

In short, the GR Yaris is among a select group of cars that puts a smile on your face from the moment you press the start button.

There are three driving modes (Normal, Sport and Track), but frankly default Normal will do most owners just fine in everyday driving.

Toyota GR Yaris

Even if you let your inner Boy Racer get the better of you on more challenging roads, the nimble GR Yaris’s intoxicating blend of supreme handling, remarkable traction, sharp steering and powerful brakes will flatter your driving ability.

No car is perfect, and the GR is no exception. As you’d expect from a hardcore hot hatch, it’s engineered more for performance than comfort. Sure, the sports seats are suitably supportive, but the ride is on the firm side.

I wouldn’t expect anything else, but to make this a true daily driver, a Comfort setting might have helped smooth out our pothole-ridden roads on those few days when you’d rather cruise than enter a rally stage.

Toyota GR Yaris

On a practical level, the rear seats and restricted headroom mean these spaces are only acceptable for children and small adults, while the luggage capacity is a modest 174 litres (the 60/40-split seats fold down should you need more room).

Like its standard little brother, the Yaris is well put together, but it also shares much the same interior, which means functional black plastic mouldings and a lack of soft-touch surfaces.

Toyota GR Yaris

On the plus side, it comes with a generous five-year/100,000-mile warranty and benefits from Toyota Safety Sense as standard, which includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane departure alert, adaptive cruise control and automatic headlights.

Prices from £30,020, the GR’s formidable rivals range from Ford’s Puma and Fiesta STs, to the Honda Civic Type R, Renault Megane RS, Hyundai i30 N and Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Verdict: The Toyota GR Yaris is a little gem. Hot hatch looks and on-the road thrills combine to make this dinky thoroughbred a real driver’s car and instant classic.