2021 Toyota Yaris Cross Review: New Order [w/video]

Interior and equipment

The car’s cabin is nicely contemporary and decently roomy too. There are the usual hybrid mode selector buttons located next to the gear lever, and a readily accessible USB port on the dashboard.

The Excite trim variant of the car driven here gets two USB ports so both the driver and passenger can charge their phones at the same time.

The Excite variant of the car costs an additional S$5,000 over the basic Active variant, and that pays for LED head and tail lights over basic halogen units, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a pair of painted Yaris Cross logos on the rear door rocker panels, the choice of two-toned exterior body colour, and perhaps most importantly, a driver’s heads-up display that shows speed, tachometer, and various safety-related feature activations.  

There’s no built-in navigation system, but with full Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility there’s little need for it in a small car these days.

The instrument panel features a completely digital display with plenty of display options that you can scroll through with the steering wheel mounted switch, and as it’s a hybrid there are also many ways that you can configure the main screen to display the usual details like battery charge level, trip fuel economy and even your overall eco driving score.

If you still prefer a small hatchback, the new Honda Jazz Hybrid is new in town too

The leather seats fitted in the car we drove actually don’t have much in the way of lateral support and side bolstering, but are perfectly comfortable in the sofa-like status. It’s not a car for going quickly in or even one with any sporty intentions, but it’s comfortable and well-insulated on the whole. 

Rear seating capacity is fine for two adults but a bit of a squeeze for three, and legroom can be tight for very tall passengers.

The bench splits 40:20:40, and the car cleverly gets around its size limitations by having the centre backrest section fold down to work as both an armrest and a ski hatch for carrying long items at the same time.

This means that you do get an armrest for the back seat passengers, which is something not typically found in small cars, but the trade off is that once it’s deployed there’s an open hole into the boot, compromising cooling and noise insulation a little. 

The boot has a 390-litre carrying capacity and a two-level configuration with removable boards that can be deployed in many different ways. It’s a great way of making things more organised back here. However, the shelf over the top of the boot is a piece of soft fabric, so while it does shield the car’s contents from prying eyes you can’t put any tissue boxes on it.

To keep it competitive in this price segment, the Yaris Cross is packed with active safety features, and they are standard in both the Active and Excite variants. There are eight airbags and Toyota’s full Safety Sense Package. 

This features a Pre-collision Warning System with Intersection Turning Assist and Emergency Steering Assist, plus Lane Tracing Assist and Lane Departure Assist.

There’s also Automatic High Beam and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, a feature that only until a year ago was reserved for high-end luxury cars. 

Page 1: Introduction and styling
Page 2: Interior and equipment
Page 3: Driving experience
Page 4: Pricing, competition, conclusion

To Page 3: Driving Experience

about the author

Lionel Kong
An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.