By Steve & Tamami Laser
Since debuting more than 20 years ago, Toyota has sold some 8.71 million units of the Yaris across the globe. Now, Toyota is rolling out another dimension of fun and versatility by introducing the Yaris Cross, an all-new small crossover.
Originally scheduled to premiere at the Geneva Motor Show, Toyota revealed the 2021 Yaris Cross today during a digital press conference. The new model is expected to go on sale in Japan this fall, followed by Europe in mid-2021. (We think it could make a great addition to Toyota’s lineup in the U.S.)
This video, from the Toyota France YouTube channel, offers a quick look at the all-new Yaris Cross Hybrid. (video: Toyota)
Like the new-generation Yaris hatchback that’s already on sale in those markets, Yaris Cross will ride on Toyota’s TNGA platform (GA-B) and compete in the B-SUV segment. It features the same 2,560mm wheelbase as the Yaris hatch, yet it’s 240mm longer, 90mm taller, 20mm wider, and has more ground clearance.
Designed and developed in Europe, Yaris Cross targets customers seeking a stylish and distinctive crossover, along with the flexibility they need to pursue active lifestyles, all in a compact package suited to urban driving.
“We want the car to be perceived immediately as an SUV, so we emphasized a higher ground clearance, a strong horizontal axis, giving great balance and poise, big, squared wheel arches, and of course big wheels, up to 18 inches in diameter,” said Lance Scott, design general manager at the Toyota ED2 studio in France.
Powertrain choices include a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder Atkinson cycle gas engine driving the front wheels via a direct-shift CVT or 6-speed manual gearbox. The new Yaris Cross Hybrid features the Toyota Hybrid System II (above) that couples the same gas engine with an electric motor. E-Four electric intelligent all-wheel drive is available on Hybrid models.
Inside, the driver and passengers are treated to a thoughtfully appointed cabin offering comfortable seating plus an array of infotainment and connectivity choices. The Toyota Safety Sense suite of advanced safety and driver assistance systems includes automatic emergency braking and steering intervention.
Flexible seating can be quickly converted to carry different combinations of passengers and cargo. Loading bulky gear into the cargo compartment is made easier thanks to an available power tailgate with hands-free access.
With its adjustable rear deck height, Yaris Cross offers the added convenience of underfloor storage, or more space to transport larger gear. And to help secure items while on the go, a new flex belt system also makes its debut (above).
Toyota expects to produce “more than 150,000″ Yaris Cross a year at Toyota Motor Manufacturing near Valenciennes, France. Yaris Cross will also be built at Toyota Motor East Japan Co., Ltd., for the Japan market. Thus, Toyota will have all its bases covered with the new GR Yaris, Yaris Cross, and Yaris hatch.
Getting back to the question of whether the Yaris Cross could come to America, Toyota has not announced any plans to bring it stateside (so far). While the Yaris hatch currently sold in the U.S. is a different model (built on a Mazda platform), the Yaris Cross could fit nicely into the lineup with the larger C-HR, RAV4 and Highlander.
For more product information visit Toyota Europe
Note: Features, specifications, and launch timing for European and Japanese market models is subject to change without notice
News source and photos courtesy of Toyota Motor Corp., Toyota Motor Europe NV/SA, and Toyota (GB) PLC. Video courtesy of Toyota France
Story (intro and commentary) © 2020 CarNichiWa.com