Toyota Yaris Cross 1.2 High (2020) review

Toyota Yaris Cross 1.2 High (2020) review

Toyota Motor Thailand is offering the Yaris with pumped-up looks. Is it simply a waste of money?

What’s new?

Toyota Motor Thailand is now offering a third body style in the Yaris model range following the hatchback and sedan.

The so-called Yaris Cross is essentially a pumped-up version of the regular hatchback featuring 30mm more ground clearance, two-tone exterior, SUV-like claddings and bespoke wheels. The interior also sees leather upholstered seats with red stitching.

The cost of this conversion is 35,000 baht with the usual three trims on offer. This brings the total price of the Yaris Cross to 574,000 baht in Entry, 623,000 baht in Mid and 684,000 baht in High specs.

The Yaris Cross is without a direct rival in the Thai B-segment range of family car. The MG 3 Xross was once sold in Thailand with a similar price premium over the normal hatchback, but not anymore due to a tepid reception by the market.

That said, is Toyota taking a gamble with the Yaris Cross, especially when the model comes six years after the hatchback has been launched in its current generation?

What’s cool?

Alright, the Yaris Cross may not look like an SUV outright, but its exterior mods do lend it a rugged appeal to a certain extent which is something many people will like.

The new dampers and springs employed to give the Yaris Cross a taller stance have also done some merits in the ride quality by yielding better bump absorption qualities. Drivers who don’t like slowing down unnecessarily for road surface ruts and cracks should like it.

What’s not?

Although the Yaris Cross has 15in wheels uniquely designed, there are the same size with those of the regular hatch and look too meek in this kind of body style.

The sportily designed seats, too, can’t hide an aging interior filled with dull lines and tacky plastics.

Despite the benefits of the raised body, there are the usual (and theoretical) downsides of it. Compared to the normal hatch, the Yaris Cross feels less stable at high speeds, in corners and during emergency lane changes.

Buy or bye?

There are probably only two reasons why you’d crave for Yaris Cross. The first is the appearance which isn’t a rip-off when you look at what others are doing in this class. Honda, for one, asks 739,000 baht for the City in sporty RS look. That’s 55k more than the dearest Yaris Cross.

Then there’s the increased ground clearance which many may find useful in tackling some poor road conditions (and shallow floods) in Thailand. But for those who care about driving dynamics, the Yaris Cross is kind of compromised.

Whether the Yaris Cross is going to be successful or not remains to be seen. But if you’d ask us if additional 35k is money well spent, then the answer is no.

TWEAKED TO COMPETE BUT...

Coinciding with addition of the Yaris Cross, as tested in the main story, is a mechanical update of the engine allowing Toyota to remain competitive in the Thai B-segment range of family hatchbacks and sedans.

The 1.2-litre engine, having served six years in the regular five-door Yaris (and three in the four-door Yaris Ativ), has been tweaked to produce slightly more power for crucially better fuel economy and emissions. New features include electronically controlled variable valve-timing control and automatic stop/start systems.

Legally speaking, the Yaris has been tuned to meet Ecocar II rules. The new 92hp unit is now capable of 23.3kpl, no more than 100g/km of CO2 and Euro 5; the previous 86hp motor had 20kpl, 120g/km and Euro 4 records. But while the better levels of efficiency are certainly welcome, the update has come late in the face of new competition using turbo technology.

The Honda City and Nissan Almera are also Ecocar II-friendly yet boast forced induction for far more tractable real-world performance than in any of the three Yaris body styles. Read: turbo equals better acceleration and mid-range power yet comparable economy and emissions.

No matter what, the Yaris’ non-turbo motor is never going to beat what the City, for one, has to offer in performance terms. The same goes for other rivals like Mazda 2, Mitsubishi Attrage/Mirage, MG 3/5 and Suzuki Ciaz/Swift, all having naturally aspirated engines in Thailand.


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