Review: New Toyota Yaris Cross

New Yaris Cross: More Power and Technology with Added Style for Toyota’s Segment Leading Compact SUV

Itumeleng Garebatshabe
By Itumeleng Garebatshabe 831 Views 16 Min Read
16 Min Read
  • Addition of new, more powerful Hybrid 130 electrified powertrain, featured in all high grade Yaris Cross models including GR SPORT and new Premiere Edition
  • Fully digital user experience with latest Toyota Smart Connect multimedia package, customisable driver’s instrument display and digital key smartphone app
  • Significant upgrades in the performance and functionality of Toyota T-Mate safety and driver assistance systems, including the latest Toyota Safety Sense features
  • New Yaris Cross Premiere Edition with ultimate specification and exclusive Urban Khaki paintwork
  • Online reservations begin this month in selected European markets

Toyota is strengthening every key aspect of the popular Yaris Cross, building on the qualities that earned the compact SUV the World Urban Car title among many other awards during its first year on sale.

This first round of enhancements for the model focuses on the top purchase considerations for customers in the segment, ensuring Yaris Cross maintains its all-round buyer appeal. Since its introduction in 2021, it has quickly established itself as strong and highly competitive challenger in the fast-growing European B-SUV market and is the leader in its segment to date this year.

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The new Yaris Cross delivers stronger and more rewarding performance from its hybrid electric powertrain; safer and easier driving with the latest Toyota T-Mate safety and driver assistance systems; a fully digital user experience; and styling details that enhance its modern urban styling. Its introduction completes a full revision of Toyota’s small car line-up with new Aygo X and Yaris hatchback; it also forms part of a powerful new Yaris family alongside the hatchback and the pure performance GR Yaris.


The Yaris Cross joins its sibling Yaris hatchback model with the new “dual hybrid” powertrain offering in adopting fifth generation Toyota hybrid technology in a new powertrain option, the “Hybrid 130”. This offers a wider choice to new B-segment customers downsizing their vehicle, without sacrificing performance.

The established 1.5-litre full hybrid electric system has been equipped with a new transaxle that features a larger and more powerful electric motor-generator (MG1). This, together with adjustments to the power control unit (PCU), delivers a 14% increase in total system output, from 116 DIN hp/85 kW to 132 DIN hp/97 kW. At the same time, the MG2 motor’s torque has been increased across the entire rev band, with the maximum rising by 30% from 141 to 185 Nm.

The result is faster acceleration, with the 0-100 km/h time reduced by half a second to 10.7 seconds and the 80-120 km/h overtaking benchmark brought down by 0.4 seconds to 8.9 seconds. Where CO2 emissions are concerned, the impact is modest with the new system achieving a best-in-class 103-122 g/km.

These statistics are only part of the story; equally significant is the impact on the driving experience. Engine, drive motor and hybrid battery performance have all been maximised in the Hybrid 130. This, together with a higher level of torque at all engine speeds, gives the car a more dynamic and responsive feel with acceleration and deceleration performance that adds enjoyment to every drive, whether on urban streets or out on the open road. Drive motor assistance in response to the driver’s use of the accelerator has been enhanced to help produce faithful handling and a linear acceleration feel.

The car’s agile, confidence-inspiring performance is further supported by the capability of its GA-B platform, with the fundamental benefits of a low centre of gravity and a highly rigid body.

The new Hybrid 130 powertrain will be introduced in the high grade models, including the new Premiere Edition and GR SPORT. The line-up will continue to offer the established 116 DIN hp/85 kW hybrid system, now known as the “Hybrid 115”.

The hybrid electric powertrain is the number one deciding factor for people choosing to buy Yaris Cross. With its 100% hybrid line-up and the unique-in-class option of two different powertrains, customers now have more choice than ever to suit their needs.


The new Yaris Cross benefits from a range of additional measures to reduce noise and vibration.

Where engine noise is concerned, four key areas have been the focus for improvement: a dynamic damper has been added to the left-side engine mount; a resonator has been fitted to the intake hose; the inner dash silencer has been changed from a single layer to a three-layer construction; and an extra layer of felt has been added to the cowl top silencer.

To combat wind and road noise, thicker glass is used for the windscreen as well as front and rear side windows.


Access to information, connectivity and entertainment have been transformed with the introduction of a completely new digital user experience. This includes both a driver’s instrument display that can be configured and customised to suit the driver’s preference, and a multimedia system that’s more powerful, quicker to respond and offers a wider range of functions. The displays are class-leading in size: seven or 12.3-inch for the driver’s combimeter, and nine or 10.5-inch for the multimedia touchscreen, depending on grade.

2023 Yaris Cross Premiere Edition

The 12.3-inch combimeter presents dials, information and graphics in sharp definition for good visibility in all light levels. The driver can customise the display’s appearance to suit their mood or the type of journey with four style options: Smart, Casual, Sporty and Tough.

The seven-inch version is standard on Mid and Mid+ grades; the 12.3-inch is featured on high grade, GR SPORT and Premiere Edition models.

The Toyota Smart Connect multimedia system is designed for easy, intuitive use with quicker response to inputs thanks to increased computing power. Its functions include cloud-based navigation as standard, an “always connected” system that accesses up-to-the-moment information on routes, traffic, and delays for better journey planning.

The system has an enhanced, more responsive voice recognition system and an on-board “Hey Toyota” voice agent that can recognise natural, conversational language and requests. For example, say “Hey Toyota, I’m cold” and the system will automatically raise the climate control temperature.

Easy connectivity is designed-in, with wireless smartphone integration for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. As with the Toyota Safety Sense systems, multimedia upgrades and new functions can be seamlessly installed over-the-air.


The Yaris Cross joins the new Yaris hatchback in offering owners the convenience and security of a Smart Digital Key. Linked to the MyT app, this gives up to five users access to the vehicle using their smartphone. The digital key can be used to lock, unlock and start the vehicle – with no need for the phone to be taken out of the user’s bag or pocket.

The key is compatible with Apple and Android devices and is provided as standard on the Premiere Edition. One year’s connection is included in the car’s purchase price.

The MyT app provides other useful functions, including remote locking/unlocking, pre-journey climate control operation and activation of the hazard lights to help locate vehicle – for example, in a busy car park.


Toyota set out to make the current generation Yaris hatchback the safest small car in the world, equipping it with a wealth of active and passive safety provisions and features that can take much of the familiar stress out of driving. The Yaris Cross has benefited from the same wide-ranging Toyota T-Mate package.

Toyota T-Mate is the umbrella term for advanced features that make a car safer and easier to drive and park. In the new Yaris Cross, these have been enhanced and extended to be more effective than ever, including the introduction of the latest generation Toyota Safety Sense systems. These features, often extra-cost options or simply not available on other B-SUV models, are provided as standard throughout the Yaris Cross range.

A new multimedia system and data communications module (DCM) allows software updates to be delivered over-the-air. This means the Toyota Safety Sense and multimedia functions can be seamlessly upgraded, with no need for the car to be taken to a service centre. Downloads can take place while the car is being driven, ready for installation when it’s convenient for the driver.

Using a new camera and radar system which can scan further and wider than before, there’s increased scope for detecting accident risks. For example, the Pre-Collision System (PCS) can now recognise a potential head-on impact and a wide range of objects and vehicles in the car’s path, including pedestrians, cyclists and now also motorcycles.

Acceleration Suppression is a new addition to the Toyota Safety Sense portfolio. This intervenes to slow any sudden acceleration when it recognises the risk of a collision with a vehicle ahead.

Proactive Driving Assist (PDA) is another new feature, designed to help avoid familiar accident hazards when driving at low speed. Deceleration Assist provides smooth deceleration when the driver releases the accelerator to slow down when approaching a slower vehicle ahead, or entering a bend. The second element of PDA is Steering Assist, which recognises a bend in the road ahead and adjusts steering force to help the driver make a smooth and stable turn.

Pre-Collision System (PCS)

The new Emergency Driving Stop System (EDSS) is able to support the driver, should they be taken ill or incapacitated. If it detects the driver has made no inputs – steering, braking, accelerating – for a certain amount of time, it will sound a warning. If there is no reaction from the driver, it will bring the car to a gentle stop, activate the hazard lights, and unlock the doors.

Emergency Driving Stop System (EDSS)

Toyota T-Mate also provides protection when the car is stationary, With the optional Safe Exit Assist (SEA), a visual and audible warning system helps guard against a door being inadvertently opened into the path of vehicles and cyclists approaching from the rear. And the Rear Seat Reminder System (RSRS) will alert the driver with visual and sound warnings if they have left a child or pet on the back seat, helping avoid the risk of “hot car” incidents.

As well as these extra functions, the new Yaris Cross also benefits from upgrades to its established Toyota Safety Sense features. The Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) has been revised to respond more quickly and operate with a more natural feel. For example, when another vehicle moves into the car’s lane, deceleration is more gradual.  The vehicle-to-vehicle distance settings have been extended so the driver has more choice to suit their preference, and the system’s curve speed reduction is activated earlier, giving smoother speed control.

New systems have been added to the ACC for safer overtaking: Overtake Prevention Support prevents unintentional overtaking on the wrong side of a vehicle (“undertaking”); and Preliminary Deceleration/Turn Signal Linked Control helps the driver safely re-join the traffic lane at an appropriate speed and distance from other vehicles.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)

The Lane Departure Alert (LDA) now recognises when the driver has moved out of lane while trying to avoid an obstacle (pedestrian or other road users) and temporarily cancels its warning function. The lane-centring function of the Lane Trace Assist (LTA) has been adjusted so that its performance has a more natural feel.  The Road Sign Assist has been enhanced so just a one-touch adjustment of the speed limiter is all that’s required to match traffic sign information.


The Yaris Cross’ cool contemporary styling has resonated strongly with customers since launch, capturing the stance and image of an SUV in a car that’s compact and manoeuvrable on urban streets. Its visual appeal is enhanced in a new halo model for the range, the Premiere Edition.

This is offered in an exclusive new Urban Khaki paint finish in a bi-tone execution and with exclusive new 18-inch dark grey/machined five-spoke alloy wheels that enhance the dynamic, rugged look. Inside, upholstery stitching and deco lines on the instrument panel and doors match the green body colour. Platinum Pearl White and Silver Metallic bi-tone options are also available.

Interior seat upholstery has also been refreshed with a new pattern and a soft lower instrument panel covering has been introduced on all grades. A new Juniper Blue paint option is available across the range.

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Itumeleng is the Managing Editor of The Auto Magazine. He is a tech and car enthusiast