Toyota turns the Yaris into a mini-SUV crossover hybrid with AWD
The world, it seems, needs more compact crossovers. Toyota has deemed it so, and taken its hugely popular Yaris out bush to learn to look after itself. Jacked-up, lengthened and fitted with an AWD hybrid powertrain, it'll make its debut in 2021.
The Yaris Cross will come in gasoline and hybrid versions, both using a three-cylinder, 1.5-liter engine driving the front wheels. The hybrid version will be available in front wheel drive or electric all wheel drive. Not all of these options will be available in every market. The gas-only version lets you choose between a manual or CVT auto, where the hybrids get one of Toyota's nifty hybrid shift systems.
The Yaris has always been roomier than it looks from the outside, and the Yaris Cross cabin will be almost identical, with a little added headroom and luggage space thanks to a taller body that also rides higher on its suspension.
Will it go alright offroad? Sure, Karen, it'll handle the gravel road you drive to your family camping spot each year just fine. It'll also not require you to bend your knees so much when you get in, and it'll lift you up slightly higher than other compacts in traffic, which is of course what this is really all about.
It's not a bad looking car, either, if you like the direction Honda and Toyota have been moving in lately. It takes the chunky, modular, slightly sci-fi look of the C-HR in what I'd term a classier direction, even with the plastic bash-skirts along the lower edges.
The Yaris Cross will roll in Japan this Autumn, and will hit Europe and other markets in mid-2021.