Toyota Yaris Cross launches in Singapore

The small hybrid crossover SUV drops in at a very competitive price of S$102k with COE


If you’re still shopping for a new crossover SUV that’s within a reasonable budget, Toyota has just given you a new option in the form of the Yaris Cross, now available in Singapore from official Toyota dealership Borneo Motors from $101,888 with COE. 

There’s just one engine variant available in Singapore and that’s the Yaris Cross Hybrid, powered by an electric motor and a three-cylinder, 1.5-litre petrol engine.

We do get two trim levels however, with the base model being dubbed the Active and the pricier Excite variant costing an additional $5,000. Toyota dealership Borneo Motors has not confirmed what you will get for the extra cost yet as the car only just went on sale. We will update the story as soon as we find out.  

It’s the first of two hybrid SUVs that Toyota will be launching in Singapore in 2021, and if you’re considering something a lot bigger then it’s worth waiting for the Harrier Hybrid to launch later this year.

You might remember the Toyota Yaris hatchback, which is actually still available in many other countries but the fact that we’re selling only the crossover SUV version here is a sign that the dealerships are expecting the small SUV segment to more or less take over from the small hatchbacks in the coming year or two.

It’s also significant that we are also getting only the hybrid version, as in other markets the car is also available with a 1.5-litre, turbocharged petrol engine. This points to the fact that Borneo Motors believes that the hybrid is priced competitively enough to compete in this segment and that the petrol-only version will not see enough demand here.

This is helped by the hybrid’s puny CO2 emissions rating of just 86g/km. It puts the car in the VES A2 band, which qualifies it for a $15,000 rebate. The official fuel economy rating of 3.8l/100km sounds very promising too, and it’s not too shabby on power too with a combined output rating of 110 horsepower.  

The car is built on the modular Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, which in simple terms is a modular collection of platform sub-assemblies that allows the brand’s designers to efficiently assemble a competent and dynamic chassis on which to build a car.  

Toyota brands the petrol powerplant in the Yaris Cross its Dynamic Force Engine, but it’s just marketing-speak for an Atkinson-cycle petrol engine which is often paired with electric motors in hybrid cars. The Atkinson-cycle engine is still a regular petrol internal combustion engine but has its valve timing altered for better fuel efficiency at the cost of punchy power delivery.

It’s not a disadvantage in hybrids however, as the electric motor’s immediate torque output makes up for any perceived power loss from the petrol engine. The theoretical end result is incredible fuel economy without any loss of driveability. 

A lithium-ion hybrid battery pack with compact dimensions is located beneath the rear passenger seat, so that luggage space is not compromised. 

The car’s performance figures give it a 0 to 100km/h sprint time of 11.4 seconds and a top speed of 170km/h. It’s front-wheel driven through a continuously variable transmission.

Shoppers demand more than just basics from their cars these days,  and Toyota has stuffed the new Yaris Cross with plenty of active safety features typically found only in more expensive vehicles. 

Toyota calls it the Safety Sense suite, and for starters, you get Pre-Collision Warning with Emergency Steering Assist, plus Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) with Lane Tracing Assist.

The DRCC system was a feature that up to a year or two ago, was found only in high-end luxury cars and typically only as an add-on option. It has very quickly trickled down into mass-market cars as manufacturers race to build cars that have some level of autonomy to them, and in the case of the Yaris Cross, the car won’t drive itself, but will adaptively follow the car ahead with a user-preset safety gap, and match its speed up to your preset speed limit. 

Lane Tracing Assist uses cameras to keep the vehicle centered in a lane by gently guiding the steering wheel, but like all other similar systems, the driver’s hands must be on the wheel for the system to work. Best to think of it as a centering assistant for people who can’t drive in the centre of the lane. 

It will also come with Automatic High-Beam, though it’s a feature that will rarely ever get used in urban Singapore, and Lane Departure Alert, which sounds an alarm if the car sharts drifting out of the lane. 

Then there’s front and rear parking sonar sensors that work in tandem with Parking Brake Support, which will actually cut engine power and even apply the brakes if the car is in danger of hitting something during low speed parking.

As is typical of cars aimed towards younger buyers here, the Yaris Cross is available in an astonishing array of 15 different colours, including a very bright new Brass Gold. 

It’s a five-seater with a largish boot, and like the recently launched Volkswagen T-Cross, it’s been cleverly designed for maximum interior space with slightly elevated driving position. 

In the cabin you’ll find Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and while it’s too small a car to have seven seats, there’s a multi-level boot with a movable shelf for load-carrying flexibility. 

To help garner more views without customers having to crowd into the showroom, Borneo Motors has launched a microsite for the car here, where interested parties can even make online bookings for test drives.

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.