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Hybrid remains best option claims Toyota as new small SUV unveiled

In focus: Yaris Cross

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2021 arrive: the new Yaris Cross small SUV

2021 arrive: the new Yaris Cross small SUV

The rear of the Yaris Cross

The rear of the Yaris Cross

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2021 arrive: the new Yaris Cross small SUV

Toyota remains convinced hybrids represent the "best solution" for drivers wishing to move away from petrol and diesel cars.

That is the powerful message coming from top management figures in the company I interviewed recently to mark the launch of the new Yaris Cross small SUV (reported online last Thursday).

In response to a question about plans for a plug-in or a full-electric version for the new car, I was told: "We believe right now that the best solution is hybrid and the volume of our sales in many markets (accounting in some for up to 80pc of brand purchases) underlines that."

They claim that scale of hybrid sales worldwide is "reducing emissions significantly".

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The rear of the Yaris Cross

The rear of the Yaris Cross

The rear of the Yaris Cross

However, they acknowledged there will be a need at some point for more plug-ins and battery-powered models. But they don't need them "at the moment".

The lack of a plug-in is relevant for Irish buyers since the Budget hit normal hybrids hard in favour of PHEVs. Globally, the Toyota experts told us that, as a marque, they don't really need PHEVs to get down overall emissions.

Pointedly, they say their competitors - many of whom heavily criticise Toyota for their "self-charging" claim - do need to lower their global emissions in advance of new thresholds.

Those limits will punish manufacturers whose average is above 95g/km.

On the new Yaris Cross, they said biggest improvements come via the hybrid system. Significant increases in battery capacity deliver and capture more energy, according to their hybrid expert Morisaka-san.

Basically the same software logic applies to the Cross as it does for the new Yaris hatch but it has been slightly tweaked for different weight and size etc.

The 1.5 hybrid system develops a total of 116hp.

The 3cyl 1.5 Atkinson-cycle petrol engine is strong on pulling power (torque) and fuel efficiency, they claim. The Cross is due in the second half of 2021.

Asked if provisional 135g/km emissions for AWD versions and 120g/km for front-wheel drive models were disappointing they claim they are "competitive" against rivals.

The new car is a mix of SUV and urban hatch. Toyota expect Yaris-badged models to eventually account for a third of its European sales.

It has the same 2,560mm wheelbase as the new hatch but is 24mm longer (4,180mm).

Around 60mm has been added to the front overhang and 180mm to the rear to create extra interior space. Ground clearance is up 30mm while the car is 90mm taller and 20mm wider than the hatch.

The boot has 390 litres of space (depending on model) but the 40:20:40 rear seats fold to give more if needed.

Indo Motoring