B Lord bought this Toyota Yaris Cross used in 2021 for $27,000 (including all on-road costs). Very affordable to own and run, a surprisingly pleasant sound system, and a no-nonsense ownership experience for the AB driver.
You should only buy a Yaris Cross if you know what to expect from it.
Reliability has been excellent. This is undoubtedly a strong point for Toyota, and especially for hybrid variants I believe. Servicing is an annual or 15,000km affair, and you can expect to pay $215 for the privilege for the first five years of ownership.
Another benefit of the hybrid is regenerative braking. Limited price servicing is all well and good until you end up with $900 in pads and rotors that you weren’t expecting.
With a hybrid you can get over 100,000 km on the original brake hardware.
This is an interesting question, and something that potential buyers should give a lot of thought to.
The Yaris Cross is first and foremost a city car, and it does a great job at that.
Driving is an uneventful experience, but certainly not a memorable one. If your focus in a car is reliability and running costs, you’ll struggle to do much better than the Yaris Cross.
I think the hybrid represents good value for money, it would be hard to say it doesn’t, given that its main purpose in life is to keep it in your wallet.
It’s a car that ticks most of the boxes you need it to tick, and offers very little on top.
The lack of a center console is an annoying omission, and one I’d prefer to continue in the future. It’s just awkward not having anywhere to put your things or rest your elbow. It is taking two points from the price and feature rating.
This is where the review will start to get a little deeper, and focus solely on the drivetrain. The ride comfort and handling aspect will come later.
The Yaris Cross Hybrid deviates from the usual formula in this segment, being a four-cylinder engine that varies from 1.3 to 2 liters.
Instead, you’re greeted with an Atkinson-cycle three-cylinder 1.5L engine, mated to a hybrid drivetrain with a battery pack under the rear seats, and two electric motors. are placed in the transaxle.
The engine itself is vocal to say the least. Three cylinders have a completely different engine note than anything with four or above, so expect your first test drive to be a bit bumpy.
It’s fair to say that the engine paired with its electric assistant does a good job of cruising the Yaris at city speeds, maybe 80-90km/h or so. It’s really when you cross that threshold that some of its flaws become immediately apparent.
If you haven’t driven a hybrid before, there’s a bit of a learning curve, and I’d say the same can apply to almost any vehicle with a CVT.
That is, they’re more than happy to cruise around at city speeds and handle mild acceleration at low speeds, but when you start asking a bit more of it, say climbing a steep hill at low speeds, or 90- Maintaining a speed of 100km/h. When hitting the streets of your favorite country, things get loud very quickly.
This is a car that likes to be put in its sweet spot, and driven within its means. If you are interested in the Yaris Cross and you primarily do country or highway driving, please stop reading here and start looking at other options, or do so at your own peril.
Operating the Yaris Cross at this speed is definitely uncomfortable. It’s fine on flat ground, but any lean and you’re going to pay the price, both in high fuel consumption and audible disgust from the engine compartment.
I have tried to be as objective as possible in writing this review. This is a city car, and my opinion is not going to change.
I’ll leave some economy data here because it’s important.
- Real-world Parramatta Road, medium traffic: 3.4L/100km.
- Freeway @110km/h – 5.8L/100km
- Night time, no traffic, green lights, 70-80 zones: 2.8L/100km.
If you try to demand too much from the car, like more than 90km/h, you pay the price in terms of fuel consumption and more engine noise.
Welcome to Toyota.
Anything hybrid comes with climate control and push to start as a standard feature. Even without the models that are in non-hybrid they will get them when they reach them.
I’ll start with infotainment as we seem to be in a stuck phase at the moment. This is reasonable. Toyota gets a lot of flak for its “outdated” infotainment systems. I couldn’t disagree more, it’s perfectly suited for the class of car.
Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work well. Despite the screen resolution you can read in the news. Everything is easily accessible, I do not struggle to get through the menu. Some of the more complex navigation settings involve a bit of digging.
The stereo is amazingly well sorted, and I almost can’t believe this is the case. I often find myself enjoying the music in this car, and not because the driving experience is short enough to make me more aware of the other senses. (Although it really is.)
Toyota Safety Sense is standard across the range, and it gives you the following:
- Radar cruise control (with downhill brake)
- Keep lane support
- Braking before a collision
- Cyclist and pedestrian detection (daytime only)
- Intersection turn assist
- Road Sign Asst
The above is standard for virtually every car you can buy today, so it probably doesn’t make sense to go into too much detail about it, however I will add that I like that Lane Keep Assist has There are two different settings, and they can be switched. Between: Emergency LKA only, Emergency LKA + Lane Centering Assist, or completely off. Nice touch.
The reverse camera is clean, and has no problem picking up objects. It also has turning guidelines as a bonus, which is also not standard on many cars.
For me technology gets a passing grade, nothing that will blow you away. An amazingly well tuned stereo is a bonus!
This is where the Yaris Cross starts to lie to you a bit. Don’t be fooled by its size and convenient packaging. The Yaris Cross weighs just 1215 kg and sits well in the small car segment.
Let’s put some things in perspective first, so you can understand that I’m not being unfair.
- Hyundai i30 base trim: 1352 kg
- Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid: 1375 kg
- Subaru XV G5X: 1418kg
- Toyota C-HR Hybrid GXL: 1410 kg
Do you see my point? It is 160 kg lighter than the Corolla Hybrid. It is built on the TNGA-B platform which, as the name suggests, has more in common with the regular Yaris Hatch than the Corolla.
Now that I have that little segue out of the way, let’s continue with the review.
Nothing special is happening here in the suspension department. This MacPherson front end is a simple but basic architecture, and generally has no limiting factors.
The rear has a torsion beam axle, and basically this means that the two rear wheels have a direct relationship with each other from a mounting point of view. Not unusual for cars at this price point in this segment, however does have some negative impact on the vehicle’s handling and overall ride quality.
Basically, a bump on the left hand side is going to affect the entire rear axle, and it can cause unfavorable characteristics such as light mid-corner over road bumps, as well as more compromised handling in general. Rear suspension tune.
All things said, I’m not bashing the Yaris Cross here, it’s normal in this segment and every car with the same architecture will have the same faults.
I find the ride quality to be surprisingly good, it does a good job of controlling road bumps.
I find it a bit harsh on speed bumps, and that it lurches a bit over big dips in the road. The cabin is a bit too acoustically transmitted for my liking, especially across road junctions and such. The car handles itself on rough country roads, but is perfectly suited for the city.
Part of the challenging compromise of moving to a crossover platform is that you need to try to make the car drive well, while making sure you minimize roll without introducing offensive handling characteristics. There is enough work to do.
I believe Toyota has done a pretty good job here, and balanced it in a way that will make sense to most drivers.
All in all, another passing sign here, and another indication that the car is primarily built for city driving.
In the end, the Yaris Cross only makes sense as an economical city car. Don’t try to buy it for a cross-country trip.
It thrives perfectly in the city environment in hybrid trim. My thoughts are that you shouldn’t bother with non-hybrids.
It’s quite pleasant, it’s cheap to buy, it’s cheap to run. In a time where fuel safety is uncertain, there’s a certain confidence that comes with knowing 20L/$30 in today’s market gets you a realistic 450-500KM range to work with in city conditions.
It’s an absolute miser of fuel in the city, and if that’s your main focus, I have a hard time imagining it not being a good fit for your needs.