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Toyota Yaris Cross Review

8 / 10
4 April 2024
Toyota Yaris Cross front three quarter

It's easy to get tired of endless spinoffs in TV and film, but the Toyota Yaris Cross shows it's sometimes worth branching out.

This little SUV is so much more than just a bigger Yaris. It enhances the recipe, adding practicality and an extra dose of comfort and refinement – all without impacting the list of existing strengths its smaller sibling established.

What we like:
  • Responsive, economical hybrid engine
  • Practicality far better than Yaris hatchback
  • Strong reliability and residual values
What we don't like:
  • Engine a bit noisy when you floor it
  • Not exactly thrilling to drive
  • Some rivals are more affordable

Should I buy a Toyota Yaris Cross?

Toyota has a bumper range of SUVs to choose from. However, some buyers found the Aygo X was too small and the chunky RAV4 was too expensive. That left them with the C-HR, which trades away a fair amount of practicality for its coupe-like bodywork.

So what's a small family to do if they want Toyota strengths in a sensibly-sized, affordable package? The brand now has an answer in the form of the Yaris Cross.

This might be the Goldilocks car in the brand's range for plenty of drivers. There's a good amount of cabin space considering the car's compact footprint – something the Yaris hatchback can't claim – and Toyota's latest hybrid engine tech under the bonnet, delivering decent performance and superb efficiency.

Interior and technology

The cabin is, by Toyota standards, very stylish. Compared to the class average, you'll appreciate the quality and design, although we wish there was a little more colour to liven the space up. Details like the oval-shaped air vents frame a neatly curved upper dash section, with the infotainment screen perched on top, fairly close to your eyeline. An aluminium-effect panel plus matte and piano black plastics dominate the lower dash sections and switchgear – this doesn't look quite as posh as premium rivals like the Audi Q2 but feels suitably sturdy under your fingers and should stand up to years of use.

Toyota leaves important functions – the climate control, stereo volume and infotainment shortcuts – as proper physical buttons, which means it's very easy to use all the Yaris Cross's features. The infotainment system looks a little dated compared to the fanciest rivals on sale, lacking the sharpness, screen size and responsiveness of the best in class. Nevertheless, it includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can bypass the less-than-stellar built-in software and use your preferred apps in comfort. Always keep a USB cable plugged in, we'd say.


The Yaris Cross isn't quite as capacious as the Skoda Kamiq or the Peugeot 2008, but that's just about the only real criticism we can make of its practicality. Considering it measures in less than 4.2 metres long, there's an excellent amount of passenger space. You can seat six-footers happily in the front and rear seats – they won't be able to lounge exactly, but their knees and heads won't be brushing the cabin trim. Just watch your head stepping into the rear seats, because the roofline does slant down slightly over the rear-side windows.

Almost all Yaris Cross models come with front-wheel drive, which means a 397-litre boot. That number is a little above the class average but lags the very best in this segment. Regardless of its on-paper figure, the space is usefully square with a low floor and a wide boot opening – ideal for carrying a pushchair, your holiday luggage or even a small dog.

Engines and performance

There's just one engine choice in the Yaris Cross – a 1.5-litre full-hybrid setup shared with the smaller Yaris hatchback. That means all cars are automatic as standard and don't need to be recharged from the mains like a plug-in hybrid, simply requiring the occasional splash of fuel to keep going.

And those refuelling stops really will be few and far between. Our test car was showing a long-term average economy figure above 60mpg, which outstrips all non-hybrid petrol rivals and means running costs should be extremely low.

Don't go thinking this little hybrid is all sense and no soul, however. Set off from a stop and there's a reassuring, near-instant shove from the electric motor, which feels far stronger than the advertised 116hp output would suggest.

Keeping your foot on the throttle quickly brings the 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine into the mix, too. With both power sources pumping together, acceleration from higher speeds – like on the motorway – is steady rather than sprightly. That said, this engine is noticeably quieter in the Yaris Cross than it is in the regular Yaris, which can get alarmingly vocal when driven hard, so general refinement is high.

Driving and comfort

This is a sensible, family-focused car that majors on ease of use and reliability, so a sporty driving experience isn't high on its list of priorities. And, while the Yaris Cross isn't especially entertaining to drive, it is at least fantastically easy, keeping your heart rate and blood pressure low as you tackle the UK's roads.

The steering sends the car in the direction you point it and even aggressive wheel waggling won't cause the Yaris Cross to pitch all over the place like a drunken sailor. The wheel's weighting, however, doesn't exactly reflect the amount of effort being applied by the front axle, and there's a reasonable amount of body roll, which blunts the car's agility versus models like the Mini Countryman and Ford Puma.

Prods to the brake or accelerator are answered quickly and predictably, and the Yaris Cross blends its electric and petrol power together more smoothly than the majority of other hybrids we've tried. This feeds into a sense that the Yaris Cross' controls are generally very intuitive and quick to pick up.

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