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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


New Urban Cruiser? Toyota Yaris Cross debuts as cute shrunken RAV4

Toyota has made subtle hints of introducing a small SUV below the new Urban Cruiser for South Africa.


Touted since last year as the real successor to the Urban Cruiser, Toyota has taken the wraps off of the new Yaris Cross in Indonesia that is expected so also serve as base for the Urban Cruiser Icon in India.

Same name, but not the same

Despite sharing its name with the global Yaris Cross that premiered in April 2020, and which has since gone on-sale in Australia and Europe, the ASEAN-market newcomer is entirely different both externally and underneath.

Based on Toyota-owned Daihatsu’s DNGA (Daihatsu New Global Architecture) platform, an architecture stemming from the former’s TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) family but revised by the latter, the Yaris Cross in effect rates as the third small SUV/crossover model to ride on said foundation after the Toyota Raize and Daihatsu Rocky.

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Compared to the European Yaris Cross that uses the TNGA-B platform as a base, the ASEAN equivalent measures 4 180 mm long, 1 560 mm tall (+30 mm) and 1 765 mm wide (+50 mm) while riding on a 2 560 mm long wheelbase.

Mini-RAV4 new Toyota Yaris Cross revealed
Raize’s rounded rear facia departs in favour of the razor-style design of the RAV4. Image: paultan.org

Externally, the Yaris Cross shares the same profile as the Raize and Rocky, but receives a styled facia derived from the RAV4 and Highlander/Grand Highlander, and a sharpened rear-end with the same tapering light clusters, bumper, window and bootlid as the former.

While tipped as a rival for the Hyundai Creta in India, speculation is that Toyota will make adjustments to the overall length to bring it below 4 000 mm and therefore adhere to the sub-four metre regulations the previous Suzuki Vitara Brezza-based Urban Cruiser conformed to.

Familiar interior

Inside, little has changed from the Raize in the look and design of the cabin. According to Toyota though, subtly more premium materials have been applied and a panoramic glass sunroof added as standard on higher-end models.

Depending on the market and trim level, the Yaris Cross will come resplendent with a seven-inch digital instrument cluster, a wireless smartphone charger, an electric tailgate, ambient lighting, a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system and an electric driver’s seat.

On the safety side, the inclusion of Toyota’s Safety Sense system means the standard availability of at least six airbags, a panoramic rear-view monitor, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Trace Assist.

Mini-RAV4 new Toyota Yaris Cross revealed
Interior has not changed much from the Raize. Image: paultan.org

Hybrid, but no turbo

As a result of the Yaris Cross being an in-house Toyota/Daihatsu model, neither its platform or engines are sourced from Suzuki like the Starlet (Baleno), new Urban Cruiser Hyryder (Grand Vitara), Vitz (Celerio) and Rumion (Ertiga).

Instead, two large displacement 1.5-litre mills have been selected in complete contrast to Raize and Rocky that both use a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo, a normally aspirated 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.2-litre hybrid.

As per Toyota’s all vehicle hybrid strategy by 2025, the dual-motor engine model develops a combined 80 kW, while the conventional petrol delivers 78kW/138Nm. The only transmission option on the former is a CVT with the latter offering either the ‘box in question as an option, or as standard, a five-speed manual.

Unlike the Raize and Rocky, the Yaris Cross will be front-wheel-drive only and, therefore, omit the option of a four-wheel-drive setup.

Interest shown

Going on-sale in Indonesia later this year, the Yaris Cross has been confirmed for export markets and while new claims have alleged it could give India a miss, chances are that Toyota will eventually commence production at its Bidadi Plant under the Urban Cruiser Icon nameplate.

If so, it could lead to the Yaris Cross/Urban Cruiser Icon coming to South Africa to fill position left vacant by the Suzuki-based model now that the new Urban Cruiser, which does without the Hyryder suffix, has grown in size and become more expensive.

Given that Toyota South Africa Motors did allude to a smaller SUV at its annual State of Motor Industry conference in February, don’t be surprised if it confirms availability of the Yaris Cross before the end of this year.

Additional information and images from paultan.org.

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