Would You Want a Toyota Yaris With Hybrid Tech, AWD?

Warning: The striking new Toyota product you’re about to see here will not come to North America. But given that the C-HR is a fake SUV with no all-wheel drive option, wouldn’t it be sweet?

Built on the compact Toyota GA-B platform, the Yaris Cross unveiled today for the European market is obviously based on the fourth-generation Yaris (totally unrelated to our Yaris, which is nothing more than a rebadged Mazda2). It will enter production next year at the same assembly plant located in Valenciennes, France.

The big differences are the 30 mm of extra ground clearance and available intelligent all-wheel drive system called “AWD-I” (which also comes with a double-wishbone rear suspension) making the vehicle more capable in various road and weather conditions.

Photo: Toyota

The system directs torque to the rear axle when pulling away and when accelerating. In normal driving, the Yaris Cross operates with front-wheel drive, but when low-grip conditions are detected, all-wheel drive is engaged automatically.

Furthermore, the driving position is a bit higher, which should please quite a few people. Let’s not forget the wider, larger wheels (up to 18 inches in diameter) and slightly roomier cabin. Emphasizing the model’s utility, there’s a power rear liftgate for when your hands are full, plus a height-adjustable cargo floor.

Photo: Toyota

Similar to the regular Yaris sold in Europe, the Yaris Cross offers the latest generation of Toyota’s hybrid system. A 1.5-litre, three-cylinder, Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine combines with an electric motor to generate 116 horsepower while achieving lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions than any other urban SUV equipped with all-wheel drive, the company claims.

We’re curious to see what you think of the Toyota Yaris Cross. Would you rather buy this model instead of a C-HR?

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