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ROAM WITH THE BOWEN’S

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Toyota Yaris Cross lands, but is the price right?

November 1, 2020
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Toyota is the pioneer of hybrid vehicles; the brand has been using the technology since the 90’s when the Prius arrived. Since then the Camry, Corolla and RAV4 have also been hit by the hybrid stick. Now in 2020 the Yaris Cross has arrived, another pint-sized SUV. There are no less than nine variants, but is the price, right?

Performance

Toyota has a knack of offering a carousel of choice. There are petrol and hybrid drivetrains plus 2WD and AWD options. The familiar and GX, GXL and a new Urban grade may leave your head spinning at the dealership. But for now, I want to focus on the hybrid models.

2WD hybrid versions produce 67kW/120Nm via a 1.5-litre three-cylinder, Atkinson Cycle petrol engine. This style of motor has been around forever, to put it simply intake valves are delayed slightly when opening, making the engine efficient but with a low output. The latter is compensated by the addition of electric motors. It’s a classic case of old and new working together for a better outcome.

The 2WD versions score two motor generators that produce 85kW. As is the norm with hybrid vehicles, power is sent to the front-wheels or even all-wheels via a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Importantly the CVT has a kind of launch gear that offers a stronger take off, Corolla hybrids use the same technology. If you want to make the box feel a tad more familiar there’s is a 10-speed manual sequential shift function, which means you can have some fun with paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

AWD models pick up a third electric motor to drive the rear wheels. Irrespective of which drivetrain you choose hybrid outputs remain the same.

Value for money

The 2WD hybrid has a claimed fuel economy of 3.8L/100km, AWD models sit at 4.0L/100km. Pricing is the one area I’m a little uncomfortable with, especially the hybrid models. I’m yet to drive the Yaris Cross, but up to $37,990 for a small hybrid SUV is hard to swallow. There are cheaper and larger SUVs around, Toyota’s own RAV4 comes close to some of these models when it comes to coin.

GX

  • 2WD petrol                 $26,990
  • 2WD hybrid                $28,990
  • AWD hybrid                $31,990

GXL

  • 2WD petrol                 $29,990
  • 2WD hybrid                $31,990
  • AWD hybrid                $34,990

Urban

  • 2WD petrol                 $32,990
  • 2WD hybrid                $34,990
  • AWD hybrid                $37,990

 

Technology

Driver assist technologies include a Pre-Collision Safety (PCS). It operates day and night to make sure you don’t collect a pedestrian. It will detect cyclists as well, just not at night. Other nanny systems include Emergency Steering Assist, Lane Trace Assist and Lane Departure Alert with steering assist, daytime Intersection Turn Assist, Auto High Beam, Road Sign Assist and adaptive cruise control. These are all autonomous safety features that are a must-have these days.

Comfort

Inside the cabin is a 4.2-inch Multi Information Display instrument cluster, the 7-inch centre touchscreen is a tad small going by today’s standards. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are thrown into the mix. If you’re a little retro, you’ll be pleased that there’s also AM/FM/DAB+10 radio.

What I love

This may be Toyota’s first foray into the small SUV space, but it’s also the first-in-class hybrid.

The Toyota spin

Toyota Australia Vice President Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley said the new Yaris Cross provides the perfect blend of small-car style and SUV functionality and capability.

“Toyota was a pioneer in the small SUV market when we launched the original RAV4 in 1994. RAV4 is now the world’s best-selling SUV and we expect the all-new Yaris Cross is set to make as big an impact on the light SUV market in years to come,” Mr Hanley said.

“Set to appeal to metro-living, country exploring, active urban dwellers, it delivers all the style, advanced technology, safety and a very fuel-efficient hybrid drivetrain demanded for the weekly commute.”

“Complementing that is a highly versatile and premium interior, AWD availability for when the tarmac runs out, dynamic driving characteristics and comfortable raised ride height, making it the ideal small SUV, wherever your journey takes you,” he said.

I look forward to a drive soon.