Hatch & SUV go head to head to see if you really need an SUV - SUV VEHICLE

Hatch & SUV go head to head to see if you really need an SUV

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Do you need an SUV? The Toyota Yaris city hatch faces off against its Yaris Cross SUV sibling on value, space, comfort and hybrid fuel economy.

There’s never been this much choice for buyers in the market for a new SUV – yet, in the last 50 years, so few new hatchbacks and sedans to choose from.

Sales of SUVs overtook hatchbacks, sedans and wagons in 2017 ­­– before accounting for more than 50 per cent of new-car sales in 2021 – and haven’t looked back.

Car companies promise these vehicles are more practical and will bring out the weekend adventurer in you – whether that’s with a mountain bike, kayak, or another expedition off the pavement – but they’re usually more expensive to buy and less fuel efficient.

But as a city runabout – which doesn’t need to carry the whole family, or cross Australia – do you really need an SUV?

We’ve lined up hatchback and SUV twins from Toyota – the pint-sized Yaris hatch and Yaris Cross SUV – to answer the question.

Given the similarities between these vehicles – they share underpinnings, engines and much of their interiors – we will discuss the fundamentals of both cars in the Yaris hatch sections of this comparison, and focus on where the SUV differs in the Yaris Cross components.

How much does the Toyota Yaris cost in Australia?

There are five models in the Toyota Yaris range – the petrol Ascent Sport, the SX in petrol and hybrid, and ZR in petrol and hybrid, all with an automatic transmission as standard.

The vehicle on test in this review is the top-of-the-range ZR Hybrid, priced from $33,260 plus on-road costs – $1260 dearer than it was in 2020.

With its $1350 two-tone Bronx Bronze paint and black roof, this test car is priced from $34,610 plus on-road costs, or $38,483 drive-away in Sydney, according to the price estimator on Toyota Australia’s website.

It is in line with top-of-the-range versions of competitors, from the $32,540 plus on-road costs Volkswagen Polo Style – the model above the Life, the Drive Car of the Year 2024 Best Urban Car under $30K – to the $28,070 plus on-road costs Mazda 2 G15 GT hatch and $38,990 drive-away Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo.

A non-hybrid Yaris ZR is available for $31,260 plus on-road costs.

The ZR grade adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, head-up display, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, front sports seats with unique fabric upholstery, and black and red interior accents.

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Features shared with cheaper models include LED headlights, a digital instrument display, leather-trimmed steering wheel, keyless entry and start, climate-control air conditioning, 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite navigation, six speakers, autonomous emergency braking, lane-centring assist and adaptive cruise control.

How much does the Toyota Yaris Cross cost in Australia?

All models in the Toyota Yaris Cross range are hybrids – after the petrol-only version was dropped in late 2023 – but nonetheless its line-up is broader, with seven variants across four trim grades (GX, GXL, GR Sport and Urban) and front- or all-wheel drive.

The Yaris Cross on test is the GR Sport priced from $36,000 plus on-road costs. With the two-tone Frosted White and Ink paint on this test car, the price comes to $37,350 plus on-road costs, or $41,368 drive-away in Sydney, according to the price estimator on Toyota Australia’s website.

We would have liked a Yaris Cross GXL 2WD, which is $3000 cheaper, and only lacks the GR Sport’s larger 18-inch wheels, sports suspension, unique exterior and interior trimmings, and a few other minor extras. However, one was not available to test.

For the same price as the GR Sport, the Yaris Cross Urban is also available, which loses the GR Sport extras but gains unique 18-inch wheels, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, power-operated tailgate, fabric and leather upholstery, and a head-up display.

Rivals for the Yaris Cross GR Sport include the Mazda CX-3 Touring SP ($34,450 plus on-road costs), Volkswagen T-Cross Style ($33,490 plus on-roads), Kia Stonic GT-Line ($32,490 drive-away), Skoda Kamiq Style ($37,990 drive-away), and soon-to-be-axed Ford Puma ST-Line V ($36,390 plus on-roads).

A left-of-field alternative is the Suzuki Jimny XL five-door auto priced from $36,490 plus on-roads – while buyers could also consider a larger MG ZST Essence for $33,490 drive-away, or a Hyundai Kona Hybrid for $36,000 plus on-road costs.

Most features in the Yaris Cross are shared with the hatch, but there are some differences.

The Yaris Cross gains 18-inch wheels, a 360-degree camera, 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats, a USB-C port and GR Sport extras such as tweaked front and rear bumpers, black mirror caps, lowered sports suspension, red brake calipers, suede and synthetic leather-look upholstery, a host of GR badges, and aluminium pedals – but it lacks the hatchback’s fabric trim and head-up display.

Key details 2024 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid 2024 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Hybrid
Price (MSRP) $33,260 plus on-road costs $36,000 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Bronx Bronze with Black roof Frosted White with Ink roof
Options Two-tone premium paint – $1350 Two-tone premium paint – $1350
Price as tested $34,610 plus on-road costs $37,350 plus on-road costs
Drive-away price $38,483 (NSW) $41,368 (NSW)
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How big is a Toyota Yaris?

The Toyota Yaris is on the smaller end of the city-car class in terms of dimensions, measuring 3940mm long, 1695mm wide and 1505mm tall on a 2550mm wheelbase.

The interior is not as flashy as some rivals – including the Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia – but it is easy to learn and master, with a conventional gear shifter and traditional dials and buttons for volume, air conditioning and other key functions.

Synthetic leather-look material is used on the top of the dashboard, and there are red highlights to add some colour to the cabin, but the rest of the cabin materials are hard to the touch – including the door armrests, which are trimmed in black suede but have hard plastic underneath.

Front occupants sit low in the car – as you would expect for a hatchback – in seats that are not heated or power adjustable, but provide a good blend of comfort and support.

The white and grey fabric upholstery is soft, though for drivers who buy a chocolate bar with a tank of fuel on occasion, they do not look as easy to wipe down as black leather or fabric.

The steering wheel is not too large, the leather-look material used to trim it feels soft enough for the price, and the buttons are easy to use after a few days with the car.

There are two storage slots on the dashboard, and a slot ahead of the gear shifter for phones or wallets, as well as a well-sized glovebox – but the door pockets will not fit much more than a bottle, and frustratingly there is no front-centre armrest or lidded compartment between the front seats for valuables.

Amenities include only one USB-A port for device charging and smartphone connectivity, a 12-volt socket, single-zone climate-control air conditioning, four auto up/down windows, keyless entry and start, and a manual handbrake.

Space in the rear seats is on the tight side for the class. Sitting by my driving position at 186cm (6ft 1in) tall, my head and knees are touching the roof and seat in front respectively, and it is even less comfortable for a taller passenger.

Getting in and out is not the easiest due to a small door opening, and the side windows are not the largest. The seat base offers reasonable support, at least, and there is a small hump in the centre of the floor.

There are no air vents, USB ports or fold-down armrest for rear passengers, and only one map pocket.

Toyota claims 270 litres of boot space – smaller than a Volkswagen Polo (351L) but larger than a Mazda 2 (250L) – with a removable ‘false floor’ divider that makes the floor flat when the rear seats are lowered in a 60:40 split.

With the false floor in place it is large enough for a full-sized suitcase, but not much else, and there are no 12-volt sockets or bag hooks. A space-saver spare wheel can be found under the boot floor.

How big is a Toyota Yaris Cross?

According to Toyota’s spec sheet, the Yaris Cross is only 10mm longer than the Yaris hatch between the front and rear wheels – but it is a significant 245mm longer bumper to bumper, 70mm wider and 75mm taller, which should mean more space inside for passengers and cargo.

The seating position is markedly higher than the hatch, and there’s more head room for taller drivers – though leg room up front is comparable to the regular Yaris.

Most of the Yaris Cross SUV’s interior has been copy-pasted from the Yaris hatch; the steering wheel size and buttons, instrument cluster, infotainment screen, key controls and storage spaces are all shared, or near identical between the cars.

There are a few differences up front in the Yaris Cross GR Sport – a USB-C port to complement the USB-A socket, a Nanoe-X air filtration system, black highlights instead of red, and an electric parking brake rather than a traditional handbrake lever, which allows the cupholders to be larger and placed closer to the gear shifter for easier reach.

Most of the other changes are specific to this GR Sport variant, including metal-look pedal covers, and GR badges on the seats, steering wheel and floor mats.

The front seats are the same as the Yaris ZR hatch – and different to those in other Yaris Cross models – but the leather-look material on the bolsters, and suede inserts are not as soft as the hatch’s fabric, so the seats aren’t quite as comfortable. As with the Yaris hatch, they are not power adjustable or heated.

The Yaris Cross makes its largest advances over the Yaris hatch in the rear seats. There is slightly more knee room and toe room – because the wheelbase is slightly longer, and the front seats sit higher – but a lot more head room for passengers more than six feet tall.

The middle section of the rear seatback folds down as an armrest – with two cupholders – while visibility out of the side windows is better, it is easier to get in and out of the car thanks to larger door openings, and the doors close with a more reassuring thunk than the Yaris hatch.

However, there are still no air vents, USB ports or 12-volt sockets for rear passengers, and storage space front and rear remains limited.

The boot is larger, at a claimed 390L, with a load area that is deeper, wider and more usable for occasional trips to the airport drop-off than the Yaris hatch.

As with the Yaris hatch, the Cross has a removable ‘false floor’, but it is a two-piece design for more flexibility. The SUV also gains a light on the left side of the boot, and compartments for smaller items on either side of the cargo area.

2024 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid 2024 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Hybrid
Seats Five Five
Boot volume 270L seats up 390L seats up
Length 3940mm 4185mm
Width 1695mm 1765mm
Height 1505mm 1580mm
Wheelbase 2550mm 2560mm
Drive Image

Does the Toyota Yaris have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

The 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen in the Toyota Yaris includes wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, embedded satellite navigation, voice control, and AM, FM and DAB+ digital radio.

The infotainment software is older than that of other Toyota models – as well as Yaris examples sold in Europe – and is feeling its age in the Yaris, with dated graphics and slow responses, though it is easy to use, with banks of clearly marked buttons and dials for key functions.

The head-up display is a useful addition – and uncommon in a car of this size – projecting the vehicle’s speed and other key information onto the windscreen.

The instruments are basic – with digitised speed, gear, fuel level and hybrid system power read-outs, flanking a 4.2-inch display – but they are easy to read and work well.

Music fans may be disappointed by the six-speaker sound system at high volume, but it generally delivers acceptable sound quality for the price. The six-speaker Beats sound system in a VW Polo Style is slightly louder.

The Yaris does not have support for Toyota Connected Services, which includes an emergency call function, stolen vehicle tracking, and a smartphone app with the vehicle’s location, fuel level, and other information.

Does the Toyota Yaris Cross have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

The Yaris Cross has the same 7.0-inch infotainment screen – with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite navigation and AM/FM/DAB+ digital radio – and three-piece digital instrument cluster as the Yaris hatch, as discussed above.

It also gains a surround-view camera system – though like the rear-view camera in the Yaris hatch, it is not very high resolution – and Toyota Connected Services, with lifetime free access on most features, and only three years on others (stolen vehicle tracking, a recent trips view, and a guest driver mode) before Toyota charges a $4.95 monthly fee.

The six-speaker sound system is identical. The Yaris Cross GR Sport misses out on the ZR hatch’s head-up display, though one is available in the similarly priced Urban model.

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Is the Toyota Yaris a safe car?

The Toyota Yaris was awarded five stars by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) in 2020, under just-superseded but still stringent 2020–22 test protocols.

It received scores of 86 per cent for adult occupant protection, 87 per cent for child occupant protection, 78 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 87 per cent for safety assist technology.

Only the Volkswagen Polo has earned five stars under the same test criteria.

The Yaris hatch’s safety rating will expire on 31 December 2026.

Is the Toyota Yaris Cross a safe car?

The Toyota Yaris Cross earned five stars in ANCAP crash testing conducted in 2021, with category scores of 86 per cent for adult occupant protection, 86 per cent for child occupant protection, 78 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 82 per cent for safety assist technology.

Unlike some other competitors with SUVs closely related to hatchbacks – namely the Kia Stonic and Rio – the Yaris Cross was put through a full suite of its own crash tests, rather than saving costs by the manufacturer submitting data to show the results of the hatchback’s crash tests are applicable to the high-riding version.

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What safety technology does the Toyota Yaris have?

The Yaris was one of the first vehicles to earn five stars under stringent ANCAP safety test criteria introduced in 2020, so it has one of the longest lists of advanced safety features in the class.

All of the systems worked well in our testing, without too many beeps or false alarms, though on occasion the speed sign recognition system would misread the posted limit. 

Also fitted are eight airbags, including a front-centre airbag to prevent front occupants’ heads clashing in a side-impact crash.

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) Yes Includes day/night pedestrian, daytime cyclist, and intersection awareness
Adaptive Cruise Control Yes No traffic jam assist
Blind Spot Alert Yes Alert and assist (can apply steering to prevent collision)
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Yes Alert and assist (can apply brakes to prevent collision)
Lane Assistance Yes Lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, lane-centring assist
Road Sign Recognition Yes Speed signs only
Driver Attention Warning Yes Includes fatigue detection
Cameras & Sensors Yes Front and rear sensors, rear-view camera

What safety technology does the Toyota Yaris Cross have?

The Yaris Cross’s safety suite is identical to its lower-slung sibling – down to the number of airbags, and the capabilities of the autonomous emergency braking system – with the exception of front and top-down cameras to join the hatchback’s rear-view angle.

The technology worked well in our testing, with no false activations, and not too many beeps and bongs.

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) Yes Includes day/night pedestrian, daytime cyclist, and intersection awareness
Adaptive Cruise Control Yes No traffic jam assist
Blind Spot Alert Yes Alert and assist (can apply steering to prevent collision)
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Yes Alert and assist (can apply brakes to prevent collision)
Lane Assistance Yes Lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, lane-centring assist
Road Sign Recognition Yes Speed signs only
Driver Attention Warning Yes Includes fatigue detection
Cameras & Sensors Yes Front and rear sensors, rear and 360-degree camera

How much does the Toyota Yaris cost to run?

The Toyota Yaris is covered by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty for the vehicle and its hybrid battery for private buyers – or five years/160,000km for vehicles used for ‘commercial’ purposes such as taxis or ridesharing.

If buyers follow the service schedule as per the logbook, Toyota will extend the warranty on the petrol engine, hybrid components and driveline to seven years/unlimited kilometres, and up to 10 years/unlimited kilometres for the hybrid battery pack if it is inspected annually by a Toyota dealer.

Servicing is called for every 12 months or 15,000km, with the first five capped at $245 – amounting to $735 over three years/45,000km, or $1225 over five years/75,000km.

It is cheapest in the city-car class – over five years/75,000km a VW Polo costs $3095, a Mazda 2 costs $2116 and a Skoda Fabia costs $3031, while over five years/50,000km (due to shorter 12-month/10,000km intervals) a Suzuki Swift Sport costs $2005, and an MG 3 costs $1445.

A year of comprehensive insurance with one leading provider is quoted as $1505, based on a comparative quote for a 35-year-old male driver living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.

It is dearer than rivals, which using the same insurance calculator returns $1333 for a VW Polo Style, $1123 for a Mazda 2 G15 GT, $1403 for a Suzuki Swift Sport, and $1508 for a Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo Edition 150.

How much does the Toyota Yaris Cross cost to run?

The Yaris Cross is covered by the same five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and 12-month/15,000km maintenance intervals as the hatch, but each of the first five services is slightly more expensive, at $250, amounting to $1250 over five years/75,000km.

It is still cheaper than city and small SUV rivals, which over five years/75,000km cost a quoted $2118 for a Mazda CX-3, $3080 for a Volkswagen T-Cross, $3107 for a Skoda Kamiq, $2265 for a Suzuki Jimny and $2535 for a Hyundai Kona Hybrid, while over five years/50,000km – due to shorter intervals – a Kia Stonic turbo costs $2173, while an MG ZST Essence is quoted at $1708.

Only a Honda HR-V is cheaper, at $995 for five years or 50,000km of scheduled maintenance.

A year of comprehensive insurance with one leading provider is quoted as $1548, based on a comparative quote for a 35-year-old male driver living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.

It is more expensive than key competitors, which using the same insurance calculator returns $1270 for a Mazda CX-3 Touring SP, $1317 for a VW T-Cross Style, $1369 for a Kia Stonic GT-Line and $1454 for a Suzuki Jimny XL – though a MG ZST Essence is quoted as $1564.

At a glance 2024 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid 2024 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Hybrid
Warranty Five years, unlimited km Five years, unlimited km
Battery warranty Five years, unlimited km Five years, unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000km 12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs $735 (3 years)
$1225 (5 years)
$750 (3 years)
$1250 (5 years)
Drive Image

Is the Toyota Yaris fuel-efficient?

Very, because the Yaris hatch is Australia’s most fuel-efficient new car that doesn’t need to be plugged in – with claimed consumption of 3.3 litres per 100 kilometres in mixed driving, just 2.8L/100km in urban driving, or 3.6L/100km in extra-urban and highway motoring.

Across a week of testing – and a 60:40 split between city and highway driving – we observed 4.1L/100km according to the trip computer, which is not quite the sub-4.0L/100km economy Toyota promises, but is excellent for a city car.

Over a 140km test loop – mostly made up of higher-speed suburban roads, and some freeways – for this comparison, we observed 3.6L/100km, which is a match for Toyota’s highway claim. At times we saw the consumption dip in the low-3.0L/100km range.

The Yaris accepts the cheapest 91-octane regular unleaded fuel blend, and while its 36-litre fuel tank is small, it is good for a 1090km fuel range based on Toyota’s claim, or 878km based on our observations.

Is the Toyota Yaris Cross fuel-efficient?

Toyota claims fuel consumption for all two-wheel-drive hybrid Yaris Cross SUVs of 3.8L/100km in mixed conditions, 3.3L/100km in urban areas, and 4.2L/100km in extra-urban and highway driving.

Over a week of testing we observed 5.1L/100km according to the trip computer, with a similar 60:40 split between city and highway driving.

Across the same 140km comparative test loop as the hatch, the trip computer displayed 4.5L/100km.

The fuel tank can hold the same 36L as the Yaris hatch, but the SUV’s higher fuel consumption means it has a driving range of 947km according to Toyota’s mixed-conditions claim, or 706km based on our week-long average.

Fuel efficiency 2024 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid 2024 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Hybrid
Fuel cons. (claimed) 3.3L/100km 3.8L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 4.1L/100km 5.1L/100km
Fuel type 91-octane regular unleaded 91-octane regular unleaded
Fuel tank size 36L 36L

What is the Toyota Yaris like to drive?

The Toyota Yaris is comfortable and easy to drive – with no odd behaviours the driver needs to adapt to – but with just 85kW on tap from its 1.5-litre three-cylinder hybrid system, it is no rocket-ship.

The car starts in silence, and moves away from rest on electric power until about 30km/h, depending on how keen the driver is with the accelerator pedal.

It feels perky at low speeds on electric power, and at suburban speeds with petrol and electric working together, but it can struggle when accelerating to highway speeds – accompanied by quite a lot of noise, as the transmission holds the engine at the optimal RPM for maximum power.

The suspension soaks up speed bumps, potholes and expansion joints on the road commendably, although given the ZR’s 16-inch wheels which are larger than the rims on cheaper models, it does not iron out every bump, and the driver is kept aware of what’s happening on the road surface.

The steering is light and accurate around town, and the tight 10.2-metre turning circle – combined with front and rear parking sensors, though only a rear-view camera that is relatively low resolution – makes for easy parking.

On a winding road the Yaris is light on its feet, nimble and doesn’t feel out of its depth, though the steering is a touch too light to inspire confidence at higher speeds – and of course the engine does not deliver hot-hatch-like performance.

Noise from the outside world is kept out of the cabin on the highway – barring a bit of tyre roar on coarse-chip surfaces from the Bridgestone Ecopia (185/55 R16) rubber – though the engine becomes loud if the driver puts their foot down to overtake.

Toyota has been building hybrids for more than 25 years, so it has mastered the blend between regenerative braking from the electric motor, and the disc front/drum rear conventional brakes – though previous testing by Drive has found emergency braking performance to be lacking compared to rivals.

What is the Toyota Yaris Cross like to drive?

The shared underpinnings – and identical 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine and hybrid system – of the Yaris Cross means it is similar, although not identical to drive compared to its hatchback sibling.

With a taller body and an extra 85kg to lug around, the Yaris Cross does not feel as perky as the hatchback, calling upon its engine more often to accelerate to suburban speeds, and working even harder (and with more noise) to reach highway speeds.

Exclusive to the GR Sport in the Yaris Cross range is sports suspension, which sits 10mm lower, and brings changes to key components such as the springs for improved handling. The body is also made slightly more rigid with additional bracing.

What it means is a firmer feel over speed bumps and potholes. Small ripples in the road that the Yaris hatch smooths out – particularly at high speeds on a country road – are clearly felt by occupants of the Yaris Cross.

It is not too harsh to live with, but buyers who consider comfort over bumps a top priority – but still want a Yaris Cross – will be better served by a cheaper GXL model on 16-inch wheels and less stiff suspension.

However, the sportier suspension pays off on a winding road, where – bucking the norm, where hatchbacks typically handle better than their SUV counterparts – the Yaris Cross GR Sport is more fun to drive than the Yaris ZR hatch.

While it transmits little imperfections in the road into the cabin, the sports suspension makes the Cross more composed and tied down over undulations in the road at high speed, it is keen to turn into corners, and there’s not too much body roll.

The steering is slightly heavier than the Yaris hatch, so it inspires more confidence at high speeds and in corners – without being too heavy to make parking in the city a chore.

The Falken Azenis FR510 SUV (215/50 R18) tyres are more than up to the task, unless you’re driving the Yaris Cross to the limits of its handling.

The Yaris Cross has rear disc brakes, compared to the hatchback’s drums, but previous testing by Drive has found it to pull up from 100km/h in similarly disappointing or even longer distances than the Yaris hatch, likely due in part to its extra weight.

It is not perfect, though. There is more tyre roar and wind noise at motorway speeds than the hatch, and visibility out the rear window is not as good due to the large headrests – although it is better out the front and side thanks to bigger windows and a taller driving position.

Key details 2024 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid 2024 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Hybrid
Engine 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol hybrid 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol hybrid
Power 67kW @ 5500rpm petrol
59kW electric
85kW combined
67kW @ 5500rpm petrol
59kW electric
85kW combined
Torque 120Nm @ 3800–4800rpm petrol
141Nm electric
120Nm @ 3800–4800rpm petrol
141Nm electric
Drive type Front-wheel drive Front-wheel drive
Transmission Continuously variable automatic Continuously variable automatic
Power to weight ratio 75.2kW/t 70kW/t
Weight (kerb) 1130kg 1215kg
Spare tyre type Temporary Temporary
Payload 445kg 435kg
Tow rating Not rated to tow Not rated to tow
Turning circle 10.2m 10.6m

The Toyota Yaris is not rated to tow.

Can a Toyota Yaris Cross tow?

Whereas other Yaris Cross models can pull up to 400kg – braked or unbraked – the GR Sport is not rated to tow.

Should I buy a Toyota Yaris or a Toyota Yaris Cross?

We understand many readers may have already made their mind up about which car is better. Some buyers want the higher driving position, or need the space of, the in-fashion SUV shape, while others wouldn’t be caught in one.

If you are on the fence, it is a close call – as the scores show – and depends on where your priorities lie.

The Yaris hatch is cheaper to buy, feels perkier on the road, uses less fuel, and is more comfortable around town in this form.

However, the Yaris Cross is more spacious inside, has a bigger boot, and feels more sure-footed on the open road.

Ultimately, it depends on your preferences – the higher seating position and roomier interior of the Yaris Cross, or the smaller footprint, better fuel efficiency and stronger value equation of the Yaris hatch.

For our money, it is the hatchback that takes the edge.

How do I buy a Toyota Yaris? The next steps?

This ZR Hybrid model is worth consideration if your budget stretches this far, though apart from blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, the circa-$3000 cheaper SX Hybrid variant doesn’t miss out on many must-have features.

The $2000 premium Toyota charges for the hybrid system over the regular petrol model is worth the money for its lower fuel consumption.

Toyota says it aims to cut wait times to between four and six months by the middle of 2024. The exact wait will depend on the dealer you’re purchasing from, where you are in the order queue at the dealer, and your preferred model grade, body style and colour.

To contact a Toyota dealer for the most accurate estimates on delivery times, click here to find your nearest showroom. You can also find Toyota vehicles for sale at Drive.com.au/cars-for-sale.

We would also recommend test-driving a Volkswagen Polo, which in Life form has just been crowned the 2024 Drive Car of the Year Best Urban Car under $30K.

How do I buy a Toyota Yaris Cross? The next steps?

While the GR Sport stands out in the Yaris Cross range for its sportier driving experience, the GXL is $3000 cheaper and may be a better bet for buyers who prioritise comfort over handling.

As above, Toyota says it aims to cut wait times for popular models to between four and six months by the middle of 2024.

We would also recommend test-driving the Ford Puma, which is in run-out and set to be discontinued, but is a previous Drive Car of the Year award winner.

Overall Ratings

Drive’s Pick

2023 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid Hatchback

7.5/ 10

7.5/ 10

2023 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Wagon

7.4/ 10

7.4/ 10

Ratings Breakdown

Performance
2023 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid Hatchback
2023 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Wagon
Ride Quality
2023 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid Hatchback
2023 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Wagon
Handling & Dynamics
2023 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid Hatchback
2023 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Wagon
Driver Technology
2023 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid Hatchback
2023 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Wagon
Interior Comfort & Packaging
2023 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid Hatchback
2023 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Wagon
Safety Technology
2023 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid Hatchback
2023 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Wagon
Infotainment & Connectivity
2023 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid Hatchback
2023 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Wagon
Energy Efficiency
2023 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid Hatchback
2023 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Wagon
Value for Money
2023 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid Hatchback
2023 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Wagon
Fit for Purpose
2023 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid Hatchback
2023 Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport Wagon
Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

Read more about Alex MisoyannisLinkIcon

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