As the model name indicates, the Yaris Cross is based on the Yaris compact hatch, but Toyota insists the new arrival is a genuine SUV, with abundant interior space and a high-riding stance – ride height is 30mm higher, while length, height and width are increased by 240mm, 90mm and 20mm respectively over the Yaris.
"Yaris Cross is a stylish and flexible vehicle for people with active lifestyles who appreciate the strength, space and high-riding qualities of an SUV at a scale that suits their daily need to negotiate city streets and laneways," said Toyota Australia Vice President Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley
Smaller than the C-HR, the Yaris Cross is also safer – and less polarising – on the design front than that model. Styling bears little resemblance to the current Yaris hatch, with the typical SUV features, like the wheelarch and lower body cladding, said to be inspired by the current RAV4.
Like both the C-HR and RAV4, the Yaris Cross will also be available with a hybrid powertrain option when it launches in Australia later this year. Toyota says the Yaris Cross will be one of the first models to use the company’s new 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine following its debut at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show. Whether this ‘Dynamic Force Engine’ will replace or supplement the existing 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is unknown, but the three-cylinder engine is being offered with a CVT and six-speed manual in Japan, as well as the “new generation” hybrid system.
Details on the Yaris Cross’s AWD system were similarly sketchy at time of writing, but will presumably be the same ‘E-four’ electric unit also revealed in Japan last year. Lighter and more compact than traditional mechanical AWD systems, E-four offers a similar level of capability, automatically engaging the rear axle to augment the driven front axle in low-grip conditions.
Further details on the Yaris Cross will be revealed closer to its expected late-2020 Australian launch.