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  1. Analysis
April 27, 2022

Interior design and technology – Toyota Yaris Cross

The Toyota Yaris Cross is another appealing contender in the growing European market for compact SUVs. We cast an eye over its distinguishing features.

By Matthew Beecham

Inside story

Yaris Cross’s interior is similar to the hatchback with the addition of new treatments for elements such as the front pillars, sills and centre console, and new trim finishes for the door panels and armrests. The centre console gains prominence, reflecting its SUV status, forming a vertical feature that flows down from the multimedia display to the shift lever and incorporates the heating and ventilation controls. The interior reflects a ‘less is more’ arrangement with displays and controls organised to ensure the driver can focus on the road and keep informed of key vehicle data without too much distraction. 

The higher driving position gives the driver good visibility expected of an SUV. Compared to the hatchback, Yaris Cross is 95mm taller at 1,595mm, 20mm wider (1,765mm) and 240mm longer (4,180mm). The wheelbase is unchanged at 2,560mm, but an increase in ground clearance by 25mm to 170mm reflects its authentic SUV design, together with a high eye-point and excellent visibility for the driver. Urban agility is secured with a 5.3m turning radius/circle (tyre).

Space for back seat occupants is a little tight although there is sufficient room for two adults to sit in reasonable comfort. Nothing more, nothing less. Further back, the luggage compartment provides 397 litres of cargo space, increasing to 1,097 litres with the back seats flipped forward. Convenience is designed-in, with 60:40 or, on higher grades, 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats. The Toyota Smart Cargo system featured on higher grade models, has a two-level, 60:40 split deck board which permits part or all of the floor section to be lowered so larger and taller items can be carried. Smaller items can be held securely in place with ease using a new Flex Belt accessory option. Accessing the boot is made simple with the availability of a power tailgate with a kick-sensor for hands-free opening.

Trim-wise, the Yaris Cross is available in a range of four versions: the entry-level Icon, rising to the Design, Excel and top-drawer Dynamic. Toyota also offers a Premiere Edition spec with lots of extra goodies.

The Icon grade features front and rear power windows, automatic air conditioning, electronic parking brake, rear-view camera, eight-inch Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system with DAB and six-speaker audio and smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Toyota Safety Sense is also provided as standard.

Design grade introduces 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats and aluminium roof rails. Other features include a seven-inch multi-information display in the driver’s instrument binnacle, rear privacy glass, and light blue ambient cabin lighting.

The high-grade models are Excel and Dynamic and feature as standard a piano black finish and dark chrome detailing on the upper front grille plus auto-retracting door mirrors. In the cabin, heated front seats, dual-zone air conditioning, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and power lumbar adjustment on the driver’s seat. The multimedia system is the new high-definition Toyota Smart Connect with a nine-inch display.

Elements exclusive to the Excel model include seats upholstered in a combination taupe fabric with quilted shoulder sections and leather-like bolsters. A Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert with auto brake are provided, together with Intelligent Clearance Sonars with auto braking and a power tailgate with kick-sensor.

The Dynamic interior theme includes black fabric seat upholstery with contrasting vertical stripes down the centre of the seatback and supple synthetic leather bolsters.

The Premiere Special Edition features a ten-inch colour head-up display that projects key information onto the base of the windscreen. Data includes vehicle speed, safety warnings, navigation support and multimedia information. 

All versions (except Icon) are fitted with ambient cabin lighting in the footwells, door panels and centre console.

Infotainment and connectivity

Yaris Cross introduces Toyota’s latest multimedia platform, Smart Connect. It is operated using a nine-inch, high-definition touchscreen display for easier visibility in different lighting conditions and has an embedded SIM card that provides constant connection.  Navigation uses connected cloud services to ensure “always on” navigation that provides moment-by-moment information on traffic events via the community feedback based Live Road Events feature for a smoother journey.

The new system’s HMI can receive over-the-air software and service updates.  With Smart Connect, Yaris Cross provides wireless smartphone integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.  In addition, via the connected services smartphone application, drivers can remotely control a number of features such as locking and unlocking the car, on-board climate controls and hazard lights, which helps when searching for the car in crowded car parks.

Acoustic windscreen

Noise reduction inside cars and consequently improvement of acoustic control has long since been a focus of automakers.  Yet the vehicle’s glazed surface is continuously increasing making it a significant path for noise penetration inside the car. An acoustic windscreen, however, can lower sound levels entering the cabin by as much as five decibels using a specially designed acoustic insert between two polyvinyl butyral (PVB) films. This sandwich is then inserted between both sheets of the windscreen’s glass.

Since the first vehicle appeared in Europe with an acoustic windscreen – the Renault Clio II – the number of vehicles fitted with acoustic glazing is gradually increasing. Next up is the Yaris Cross with an acoustic windscreen comprising an outer layer of 2.1 mm safety glass, a 0.7 mm middle layer of noise-reducing acoustic PVB, and a 1.8 mm inner layer of safety glass, for a total thickness of 4.6 mm.

Advanced driver assistance systems

All versions of the Yaris Cross are equipped with Toyota Safety Sense, a suite of active safety technologies designed to help prevent or mitigate collisions. These include a pre-collision system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, lane trace assist, automatic high beam and road sign assist

The functionality of the pre-collision system has been increased so that it can detect pedestrians by day and night and cyclists during daytime driving. The model also offers intersection turn assistance to recognise collision risks with oncoming traffic and pedestrians when making a turn at a junction. 

On Excel, Dynamic and Premiere Edition grades, there are added safeguards from blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems. The latter warns the driver when there’s a risk of reversing into the path of unseen approaching vehicles from either side when exiting a parking space and applies automatic braking if there’s a collision risk. Parking is also made easier and safer with Intelligent Clearance Sonars (an option on high-grade models), again with auto-braking, and an optional panoramic view monitor, giving a real-time 360-degree display of the vehicle’s surroundings.

On balance, the Yaris Cross cabin is typically Toyota – practical and comfortable but lacking panache. Its climate controls are, mercifully, separate from the touchscreen with easy to operate rotary dials while driving. It is built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing France’s Valenciennes facility, where €400 million (approx. £340 million) has been invested to enable both Yaris and Yaris Cross to be manufactured simultaneously on the same production line. Rival models include the VW T-Cross, Peugeot 2008 and Ford Puma.

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