New Toyota Yaris Cross is turning heads…

It is there: the new Yaris is the second model to be based on Toyota’s GA-B platform, has Toyota’s 4th-generation hybrid technology and is designed and developed for Europe.

The car will be produced at Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF) in the Onnaing factory, near Valenciennes in France, and plans to achieve a B-SUV segment share of more than 8%.

Production is cheduled from 2021 onwards, with annual volume exceeding 150,000 units, alongside the new generation Yaris hatchback.

It now makes its world debut in April 2020, well ahead of European market introduction in 2021. Read on!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

True hybrid, true SUV

Toyota’s first used a hybrid system in a B-segment car with the original Yaris Hybrid in 2012. It now is in its fourth generation…

As a member of the Yaris family, Yaris Cross is built on Toyota’s new GA-B compact car platform. It also shares the “big-small” design and packaging concept that characterized the original Yaris.

Adding Yaris Cross to the line-up will give Toyota an SUV range that spans the B, C and D segments.

New hybrid powertrain

As said, the Yaris Cross benefits from Toyota’s fourth generation hybrid technology.

The Yaris and Yaris Cross are the first models to use Toyota’s latest 1.5 hybrid system, developed directly from the larger 2.0 and 2.5-litre powertrains used by recent new models such as the Corolla, C-HR, RAV4 and Camry.

This now features a new 1.5-litre, three-cylinder Atkinson-cycle petrol engine, precision-engineered to reduce friction and mechanical losses and optimise combustion speed. The result is high torque at low engine speeds and excellent fuel efficiency. The engine’s thermal efficiency is rated at 40%, which is greater than comparable diesel engines and ensures strong fuel economy and low CO2 emissions.

The new hybrid system has a maximum output of 116 DIN hp. Special attention has been given to power delivery, making the system very responsive to drive. In terms of emissions efficiency, the front-wheel drive model starts from below 90 g/km CO2 and the AWD-i version from below 100 g/km*

Compact

The Yaris Cross has the same 2,560 mm wheelbase as the new Yaris hatchback, but is 240 mm longer overall, with 60 mm added to the front overhang and 180 mm to the rear, securing more interior space. The ground clearance is 30 mm higher and the vehicle is taller and wider overall – by 90 and 20 mm respectively.

Practical

There’s a power back door, an adjustable deck height to give the flexibility of either a secure underfloor compartment or increased trunk space for larger loads.

The deck board itself can be split in two, giving customers both increased space and an underfloor storage area. The trunk is also equipped with a new flex belt system to secure items and stop them shifting during driving.

Intelligent all-wheel drive

The so-called AWD-i is an electric system, being more compact and weighting less than mechanical AWD units, helping the Yaris Cross Hybrid AWD-i achieve lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions than any of its all-wheel drive B-SUV competitors.

The system directs drive torque to the rear axle when pulling away and when accelerating. In normal driving, the Yaris Cross operates with front-wheel drive, but when low-grip conditions are detected, all-wheel drive is engaged automatically.

Advanced Driver Assistance System

With its GA-B platform, it benefits from Toyota Safety Sense active safety systems and advanced driver assistance functions.

Designed in Europe and Japan…

The design process of Yaris Cross brought together a wide team from studios in both Europe and Japan. To describe their ideas and inspiration in more detail, please find below the words of one member of the team – Lance Scott, Design General Manager at Toyota’s EDD studio in Nice, France.

“When we started this process, we understood that whilst style is the number one purchase reason in the B-SUV segment, customers were also keen to have a high level of practicality. Not easy things to reconcile, especially in a compact package.

From the very beginnings of the design concept, we had the European customer in mind, but needed to understand more about them. So we went out and interviewed real customers to understand their lifestyle, what they liked, what their daily activities were and how they enjoyed themselves.

As a team, we came up with the key words ‘Robust’ and ‘Minimalistic’, which we felt would express both compactness and agility, as well as the robustness and strength of an SUV.

When we started to sketch ideas for the exterior, the iconic image of a diamond consistently came to mind. Subsequently we coined the phrase ‘nimble diamond’ to express the hard, strong and premium image of the gemstone combined with the agile and fun to drive personality we felt the car needed to convey.

From the top view, or plan view as we call it, we ‘cut’, or ‘shaved’ the body to give us a diamond shape that allowed us the space to emphasise the fenders. This diamond body shape combined with the 4 bold fenders gave us an energetic shape which was both strong and sophisticated.

Clearly, we want the car to be immediately perceived as a SUV, so we emphasised a higher ground clearance, a strong horizontal axis giving a great balance and poise, big squared wheel arches and of course big wheels … up to 18”!

The face was also a very important aspect for us. We wanted to keep the strong DNA of Toyota’s SUV line-up but at the same time give Yaris Cross an identity of its own.

At the rear, we again focused on giving the car a good stance with the wide fenders illustrating how it looks planted on its wheels. Combining the horizontal rear tail lamps and rear screen clearly shows family identity with Yaris, yet the wider and more squared tailgate hints at the luggage space’s larger flexibility for daily usage.

For the exterior colour, we started to think about something that could express an active and high-quality image that our target customers would really appreciate. Looking at future colour trends we can see that there is a growing tendency for gold and other precious metals, but we wanted to offer something a bit more natural and urban. Adding a subtle hint of green to the gold direction, whilst also de-saturating the colour to emphasis the metal like appearance, gave us this fresh urban yet active appeal that highlighted the surface form of the exterior. The final result is a colour we call Brass Gold”

Interesting all this, we will be keen to see this new B-segment SUV in the flesh soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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