By Mark Slack • 09 December 2021 • 13:32
For those who remember Toyota’s Yaris as a small economical hatchback, it may come as somewhat of a shock at the number of variants now bearing the Yaris name. However, it certainly hasn’t lost its appeal as an economical hatchback of choice. It has just got significantly trendier, and in the case of Yaris GR considerably more sporting.
In addition to the standard, lead-in Yaris model with five doors, 1.5-litre petrol engine and prices starting from €23,800/ £20,210, there’s the Yaris Cross which offers a crossover style from €26,513/£22,515 and then the barnstorming 257bhp Yaris GR from €35,351/ £30,020. However, it’s the Yaris Cross that’s the focus of our attention in this review.
One friend described the Yaris Cross as looking like a friendly chipmunk from the front! Whatever your particular view, styling is very subjective, the Yaris Cross looks sharp and modern and more distinctive than many of its competitors. Power in all models is via a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine mated to an automatic transmission. It also benefits from a 59kwh electric motor to boost power and reduce emissions. You have an all-wheel-drive option on one trim level and although not for true mud-plugging snowy roads and the local village fete, it should prove no problem thanks to higher ground clearance and that all-wheel-drive.
Standard fare across the line-up includes keyless entry and start, adaptive cruise control, reversing camera, automatic air conditioning and a multi-media system with Apple Car Play and Android Auto with Bluetooth.
There’s a good range of paint choices available as options, various optional packs as well as individual items like a rather splendid panoramic roof at a not unreasonable €388/£330.
Inside, the Yaris Cross has a smart and functional look with what seems to be a very good build quality throughout. There are also still physical knobs for the climate control and buttons for major controls. Hurrah! A decent on road ride allows for pretty good handling and while the CVT gearbox does occasionally get gruff, it’s a lot better than many I have tried and is for the most part quite refined. The performance isn’t anything like hot hatch territory, but the Yaris manages to be fun, and you’ll have no problem keeping up on the motorway and nipping past slower traffic on A-roads.
If you’re looking for something a little funky, but with mainstream reliability and practicality, then the Yaris Cross is a perfect choice!
Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets
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