New Toyota Yaris Cross small SUV revealed in full

The hybrid Toyota Yaris Cross SUV has been unveiled online, joining the C-HR and RAV4 in the brand's line-up

Toyota Yaris Cross

The all-new Toyota Yaris Cross has been unveiled online. Available with Toyota's tried and tested hybrid powertrain – seen in the latest Yaris supermini – from launch, it'll go on sale this year with a market launch planned for early 2021.

Revealed on 23 April via an online stream, Toyota had initially planned to pull the covers off its smallest SUV at the Geneva Motor Show in March. However, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the event was cancelled and plans pushed back.

Toyota's new 'B-segment' hybrid SUV is designed to sit beneath the company’s existing C-HR and RAV4 models. It's aimed squarely at rivals like the forthcoming plug-in hybrid Renault Captur and electric Peugeot e-2008, as well as myriad petrol models such as the latest Nissan Juke. The Yaris Cross is the second model to sit on Toyota’s compact platform.

The new Toyota SUV will be powered by the same small electric motor and 114bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that sits under the bonnet of the Yaris Hybrid. Toyota says front-wheel-drive models will emit less than 120g/km of CO2m while the all-wheel-drive model (badged AWD-i) will come under the 135g/km mark.

A prototype car was spied testing earlier this year, using what looked like a taller and slightly longer version of the outgoing Yaris's bodywork. However, that was little more than a disguise; the new model features bespoke panels and unique styling – inspired by the latest Yaris.

The production model has a recognisable front end, albeit with a smaller, more upright grille than the conventional Yaris. Like the supermini, it gets a set of sharp vents ahead of the front wheelarches, as well as distinctive LED daytime running lights. Those arches are much boxier on the SUV, emphasised further by the ride height, which has been raised by 30mm.

Lance Scott, design manager for Toyota's European Design Development studio, said: “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.

“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.”

It looks like top-spec Cross models will also get two-tone paint, with a contrasting black roof. That theme continues at the rear of the car, where – also like the Yaris – the Cross gets darkened tail-lights complimented by full-width black trim featuring the familiar Toyota logo. Those slashes in the front bumper are mirrored at the rear. The number plate sits high on the tailgate – just like it does on the C-HR and RAV4 models.

At 4,180mm long, the Yaris Cross is 240mm longer than the new Yaris. The wheelbase is the same, however, meaning internal packaging isn’t likely to be affected. However, with extra length over the front and rear axles, we expect the Yaris Cross to boast a slightly bigger boot.

Inside, the cabin looks to prioritise functionality over design flair. The large central touchscreen sits on top of the dashboard, with physical climate-control buttons and switches beneath. Interestingly, the initial images show the screen displaying Apple CarPlay rather than Toyota's in-house infotainment system – an oft-criticised element of Toyota interiors.

It appears as if the dials will be at least partly digital, with what looks like a large central speedometer flanked by a pair of supplementary readout. There overall theme is inside is quite dark, although blue ambient lighting does a good job of lifting the appearance.

Toyota says the new model "blends Toyota’s extensive small-car experience with its strong SUV heritage." It'll get the company's latest hybrid powertrain technology, plus the intelligent all-wheel-drive system that's already available on the larger RAV4 SUV, as well as the Toyota Prius hybrid family hatchback.

That all-wheel-drive capability is unusual in this segment, as most models favour a more efficient front-wheel-drive setup. As such, the Toyota can also count cars like the Suzuki Jimny, Mazda CX-3 and Jeep Renegade among its rivals. The Yaris Cross AWD-i operates in front-wheel-drive mode in normal driving, using the rear axle in low-grip situations.

In addition, the Yaris Cross will feature a wealth of driver-assistance systems, including a suite of Toyota Safety Sense programs. While these haven’t been listed in full just yet, Toyota says the SUV will be able to take over with “automatic braking and steering intervention” when necessary.

Toyota has high hopes for the Yaris Cross; assembled in France, the brand hopes to build 150,000 of the small SUVs every year. Full prices and specifications will be revealed in due course, with deliveries expected in early 2021.