By on April 23, 2020


You won’t like it when it’s angry. Actually, you might, as the Toyota Yaris Cross small crossover seems to have not a mean bone in its body.

Boasting just three cylinders under hood whether in gas-only or hybrid guise, the Yaris Cross is what happens when enthusiasm for subcompact hatchbacks starts to wane, but the automaker doesn’t want to spoil what it already has going for it in that segment.

Riding atop the smallest TNGA platform, this Yaris undercuts the already subcompact C-HR in size by a significant degree, providing a new, cheaper stepping stone to Toyota’s broad range of utility vehicles. The model goes on sale in Japan later this year, with European customers getting a crack at in in mid-2021.

It follows on the heels of the next-generation Yaris revealed overseas late last year, but don’t hold your breath if you’re living in North America. The automaker didn’t mention additional markets. Indeed, Toyota’s Yaris strategy is very different here, with our Yaris not being a Yaris at all, but a facelifted Mazda 2.


The previous-generation, non-Mazda Yaris soldiered on until last year, with sales eventually shrinking to near zero. That said, there’s an argument to be made that, while the Yaris hatch fell out of favor among U.S. customers, a slightly upsized crossover-ish version might go over well. Size and interior volume could prove an issue, though. Remember that this is a smaller vehicle that the C-HR.

Instead, Americans might get an opportunity to get into a larger Corolla Cross in the near future. That model exists in trademark filings, and seems a better fit for the market.

So, Japanese and European buyers will get this. Powered by a 1.5-liter inline-three (with a six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic) or a hybrid drivetrain combining an Atkinson-cycle three-banger and an electric motor, the otherwise front-drive Yaris Cross offers available E-Four electric all-wheel drive. In that hybrid-only variant, the rear axle remains independent from the engine, powered solely by a rear electric motor.

[Images: Toyota]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

28 Comments on “Toyota Yaris Bulks Up, Becomes Yaris Cross...”

  • avatar

    We have to wonder if the market will be as it was “pre-Covid” – a lot of casual car users are finding that not using a car is not the end of the World as they imagined.
    I see less slots to fill, less choices needed and the current downturn in sales to be an ongoing trend.
    Subtle badge engineering like this may not cut it.

    • 0 avatar

      zipper69 good point! I hadn’t thought about that aspect of things. The Millennial generation already showed automakers the hard way that young people just don’t aspire to car ownership the same way previous generations did. (I was a Toyota dealer service manager when Scion came out and we had to endure asinine training about how to interact with the throngs of young buyers who never materialized – first sale was to a 73-year-old who felt the xB, rightly so, was the “ideal retirement vehicle.”) While the environmentally minded side of me feels this could have a positive benefit like you suggest, the car guy in me fears automakers will be less apt to take risks on interesting new products, and we’ll all end up driving plastic-looking, three-cylinder, disposable, wanna-be-utes like this.

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        Scion…the brand conceived and executed by Jim Farley…the same Farley who is now #2 at Ford. Poor Ford…..

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        Scion…the failed Toyota brand conceived and implemented by Jim Farley…the same Farley who is now #2 at Ford. Poor Ford…..

        The only way to imagine a “failed Toyota brand” is to imagine Farley running it.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Or those same Millennials have been suited up at MOPP Level 4 just to ride the subway for the last month and some of them may be thinking their parents having some space and a car in the suburbs were on to something.

      • 0 avatar

        @yankee, Unfortunately the Scion guys had some hand in the MR2 Spyder. The second gen were a lot more luxurious and sporty. The Scions went spartan and it was a big mistake.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    This class of cute-utes appear to me as if a Schrader valve was installed on the side of a B-segment hatchback, and about 75 psi of pressure was applied.

  • avatar

    So Toyota has responded to the Chevy Trax?


    The B&B brains must be melting.

  • avatar

    My thoughts

    1. Size is about right for a retirement or second vehicle in area where parking is shrinking to non existent (LA core, SF, Portland and Seattle I am looking at you). I certainly am in the market for a vehicle 165-170 inches in length. I would like the amenities one gets with a full sized vehicle without having to go over 175 inches and avoid current German reliability.

    2. The hybrid probably would have adequate power and be economical.

    3. Can do without the body cladding but at least in the pictures shown does not look too bad.

    4. Hopefully Toyota would throw in a bunch of aids to make up for what appears to be rather poor outside visibility.

    Hope it comes to the US as some time since vehicles this size already exist and regardless of what some think Toyota still produces one of the more reliable nameplates out there.

  • avatar

    If I could only have my 1G xB back with the hybrid+triple powertrain. That car was a marvel of space efficiency, unlike any modern crossover.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      Kia Soul is the contemporary successor to 1G xB. Though not as compact, I find Soul to be a compelling value proposition.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s why I won’t “trade up” eggsalad. I’m currently driving one (06 xB). I commute 64 miles a day and the thing gets 30 mpg no matter how I drive it. I’ve hauled a 50-gallon water heater in it, a small sofa, and too many construction materials to count. It currently has over 190k on it, and in the 11 years I’ve owned it since I bought it with 30k on it, the only repairs besides normal maintenance and wear and tear items has been a muffler and one oxygen sensor. As the mechanic in the neighborhood, I take a lot of ribbing about it from neighbors and friends….right up until the point when their new engine or transmission is being brought home in it.

  • avatar

    Can it rock crawl?

  • avatar

    If you look at this thing alongside the designs it copies (e.g., Hyundai Kona, Chevy Trax), I’m reminded of all the old GM cars that used to have the “Body by Fisher” badges on them. I wish these all had “Body by Fisher-Price” badges for truth in advertising. It’s really pathetic how much designers copy one another, and often the worst designs (such as Audi’s hey-look-at-me accent lighting that now comes below the bumper of Mitsubishi Mirage, and their stupid-looking huge grille that made it’s way down in cartoonish fashion to the old Yaris and current iA). Doesn’t anyone have a clean sheet of paper left?

  • avatar

    Looks like I will be purchasing spark plugs in quantities of three sometime in the future (down from 6-8 [and rarely 4] at a time).

    Please tell me the 3 plugs are on the accessible side of the engine.

  • avatar

    I would call it Yaris Gross. No further comments.

  • avatar

    God that is hideous looking. I feel slightly ill.

  • avatar

    Can we expect a GR version soon?

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Morea: Wasn’t there something in the news recently involving a “No Malarkey Tour?”
  • Morea: It’s UBI for the auto industry.
  • Lie2me: To understand the Dogecoin/Bitcoin scam you just need to look at history… “Tulip mania (Dutch:...
  • JMII: I have an even simpler rule: no VWs. I owned a B5 Passat and based on our experiences the wife has put VW on...
  • cliff731: @Corey Lewis – dump the dastard VW while you can. Give it a liberal interior spraying of...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber