Toyota Yaris Cross long-term test

The Toyota Yaris Cross is the most efficient car we've ever tested, but now our car reviewer is finding out if there's more to this small SUV than just thrifty motoring...

Toyota Yaris Cross Long Term Lead

The car Toyota Yaris Cross Design Run by Max Adams, Reviewer

Why it’s here To provide ULEZ-busting travel, save money on running costs and find out if hybrid power is a viable option for someone who can't charge their car at home

Needs to Prove that it is as efficient as our True MPG test promises it to be, and be as trouble-free as Toyota’s reputation suggests

Mileage 6388 List price £26,530 Target price £25,187 Price as tested £25,431 Test economy 63.4mpg Official economy 62.7mpg Dealer price now £26,767 Private price now £23,793 

16 June 2023 – Farewell to frugality

Reading through my previous reports on the Toyota Yaris Cross, there’s no hiding from the fact that I’ve been closely and continually monitoring the car's average MPG, expecting to see only nice big numbers of 50mpg or more. Indeed, you have to feel a bit sorry for this small SUV because, while you’d be chuffed and possibly even impressed to see 45mpg in any of its rivals, we’ve been disappointed to see even 49mpg in the Yaris. 

The thing is, like that kid in school who set a precedent for always getting straight-A grades, the Yaris Cross’s undefeated title of most efficient car that we’ve ever put through our True MPG test means that we have high expectations. Impressively, though, even in the real world, my Yaris Cross has lived up to the hype and I’ve become accustomed to seeing its digital average MPG readout displaying numbers around the 60.1mpg figure that it scored in the lab. 

Refuelling the Toyota Yaris Cross

Great efficiency is all well and good but, in my first report, I wondered whether the small 36-litre fuel tank would still be a hindrance on long journeys. Well, after testing it out on multiple long road trips, I'm happy to say that it isn’t, providing that you take it easy with the accelerator and keep to Eco mode – using that method, I managed to travel 400 miles from London to Scotland on one tank. Surprisingly, performance doesn’t suffer too much when you decide to drive around in Eco mode either, and I like that the Yaris Cross still responds pretty much instantly when I want to pull away from a junction. 

Now, the Yaris obviously isn’t the fastest SUV in the barn, and its 0-60 mph time of 10.7sec (which we clocked in a recent twin test against a Nissan Juke, which managed 10.5sec) isn’t going to be great fodder for conversations with your mates, but throughout my time with the car, I've never felt like I needed more oomph or like I was getting in the way of other traffic when filtering on to the motorway. Plus, the Yaris never promised to be a performance car.

Long term Toyota Yaris Cross as a mobile mechanic van

There is one thing that bothers me about the way the Yaris delivers its power, though, and that’s the raucous noise that the CVT automatic gearbox makes when you need a bit of extra power. In comparison, the automatic gearboxes in the Ford Puma and Volkswagen T-Roc are less vocal and don’t send as many vibrations through the interior. 

Then there’s the infotainment system. You get used to it over time, learning the best and quickest ways to get to each menu and option, but there’s no getting away from the fact that it feels outdated and a bit clunky next to some other rival SUVs. Such were my frustrations with its slowness that I often bypassed it completely, instead opting to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.

Toyota Yaris Cross long term at Mazda CX-60 launch

Aside from the infotainment system, everything else in the interior impressed me. Not only has it been put together well, but everything is simple to use and located exactly where you’d expect. A good example of this are the physical air conditioning controls, which I can now find and operate perfectly without ever taking my eyes off the road ahead. 

When I think about it, ease of use has been an ongoing theme throughout my time with the Yaris. Even going back to my original argument of whether I should have gone for an electric car or a plug-in hybrid over a regular hybrid in the first place.

You see, unless you have access to an electric charging point at home, the Yaris Cross makes life a whole lot easier, never needing to be plugged in and never leaving you with range anxiety. On top of that, while plug-in hybrids require you to keep their batteries topped up if you want decent economy – otherwise your running costs may soar since you'll be dragging around a heavy, but empty, battery – the Yaris Cross takes care of that for you and delivers real-world figures that most other SUVs can only dream of.

I'll miss the Yaris Cross now it's gone from my driveway, and I suspect my wallet will too.

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