The simplest way for an automaker to have a crossover is to take an existing hatchback, give it a pair of stilts, add cladding to make it look tougher, and give it a name like 'Cross'. That's exactly what Toyota did with this particular Yaris.
Dubbed the Yaris Cross, it's essentially everything we mentioned above and it was first released back in 2018 over in Europe. Toyota has been putting out new SUVs and crossovers a lot lately, so much so that this isn't even the smallest they make. To give you an idea, the Yaris Cross is actually longer than the Raize.
Spotting the differences between this and the regular Yaris is easy. The Yaris Cross comes with faux skid plates (front and rear) along with over fenders and a chunky bit of cladding on the sides. Wheels are unique to this variant, as well as the two-tone paint which is optional. Its interior, on the other hand, is the same as the lower-riding versions of this hatchback.
Propulsion on the other hand is courtesy of a new 1.2-liter engine that makes 92 PS and 109 Nm of torque. It actually comes close to the 1.3-liter mill we find on our local Yaris, but the 1.2-liter is specifically built for countries that offer incentives (lower taxes, etc.) for lower-displacement engines. It then shifts via a continuously variable transmission or CVT.
No, the Yaris Cross cannot go in the deep end of an off-road trail. It's still front-wheel drive so don't expect to see any of these going up muddy hills and steep, rocky roads. Still, at least you'll have better chances of getting where you need to be when floods start pouring in. Clearance is up by 30 mm, that means you're 190 mm above the ground. That translates to a little over an inch more than the standard Yaris.
Toyota gave the Yaris Cross a unique set of shocks and springs to get it slightly higher up off the ground. We're curious as to how this car handles since raising it will, in some ways, affect the way it rides and drives. But if it's the style of the Yaris you want but need something more like a Rush, this should be a good alternative.
That's if you live in Thailand. In the ASEAN region, that is the only country that has it, at least for now. Sadly, we're not expecting it to be offered here too given that we already have the Rush. Still, there's always some room for more crossovers in the country, and this stilted Yaris should be an interesting addition to the range.