Surprisingly the Yaris Cross and Harrier are the first officially-imported hybrid Toyota crossovers in Singapore
It’s happening: We’re finally seeing the hybrid renaissance and Japanese manufacturer Toyota, long the standard bearer for hybrids, will be officially-importing two new hybrid SUVs to Singapore this year.
First will be the Yaris Cross, a small SUV that will compete with the Honda HR-V and Nissan Kicks E-Power, while later in 2021 the facelifted Toyota Harrier will arrive.
As mentioned in our story on the car’s international reveal, the Yaris Cross is a particularly notable car for Toyota this year. The first reason is that the SUV will be sold here while the Yaris compact hatchback won’t be, and is one indicator of the buying trend shifting away from small hatchbacks and sedans to SUVs.
Secondly, the Yaris Cross will not be offered with a petrol-only option. Abroad, the Yaris Cross is also offered with a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 118hp. But in Singapore, the car will only be offered with a 1.5-litre non-turbo hybrid drivetrain.
Confirmed specs for the model sold in Singapore are 110hp combined hybrid system output, and it’s capable of 3.8L/100km with CO2 emissions of only 86g/km. The car nets a VES A2 rating, which means a S$15,000 rebate. The car will be sold here in two trim levels, Active and Excite, but more details will be revealed after Thursday, when the car sees its official launch here.
The second new Toyota hybrid SUV model to go on sale here in the first half of 2021 will be a petrol-electric version of the Harrier mid-sized SUV. Unlike the Yaris Cross, the Harrier will be offered with a petrol 2.0-litre, as well as a hybrid 2.5-litre.
The former will have the 2.0-litre M20A-FKS engine, which makes 171hp and 207Nm of torque, unlike the existing Harrier which has a unique 2.0-litre turbocharged engine.
The hybrid has a 2.5-litre A25A-FXS Atkinson cycle engine which makes 178hp and 221Nm of torque, paired with an electric motor that has 120hp and 202Nm. It’s capable of 4.5L/100km according to its Japanese WLTP figures. As a large car with more power, it’s unlikely to receive a VES rebate, but remaining in the ‘B’ neutral category with no penalty while conventional petrol-only rivals end up in the C1 VES band (S$15,000 penalty) would see a benefit for the Harrier in the end.
Singapore hasn’t seen Toyota hybrids here in an official capacity in the mainstream market, although there has never been a shortage of models with lots of potential. Parallel/grey import models like the C-HR hybrid (which was a significant seller here) have been available for some time, but the debut of these two hybrids, significantly, gives buyers who aren’t willing to risk a PI purchase a solid option.
The hybrid poster child – the Prius hatchback – has been on the market since its debut, but it’s always been priced out of reach of mainstream buyers – in August 2020 it cost S$156,888 with COE compared to a Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 at S$104,888 with COE. Likewise the Prius C compact hatch, which was always too expensive for its segment to make any real headway.
In contrast, the Prius+ MPV was a strong seller for the brand, able to a sweet spot in body-type/segment, pricing and maximising VES benefits – in August 2020 it cost S$126,888 with COE.
But that has changed over the last year or so: The first ‘non-Prius’ official hybrid landed in early 2020, the Toyota Corolla Altis Hybrid, while Nissan debuted its already successful Kicks E-Power hybrid small SUV. Honda’s also in on the electrified action – it announced the debut of its Jazz compact hatch with its innovative eHEV hybrid system.