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Taking on the city with the Toyota Yaris Cross V

A subcompact crossover for urban driving

Do you spend most of your driving time in the city? PHOTO BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

Standstill traffic, rushing motorists, too many places to go to, and too many things to do are an everyday reality for most of us. As much as you want a fleet of sports cars parked in your garage, realistically speaking, what you probably need the most is a straightforward, fuel-efficient, and reliable machine that will take on the city miles.

The Toyota Yaris Cross 1.5V is a practical option for a few reasons. It belongs to Toyota’s more affordable line of subcompact SUVs and crossovers, thanks to the Daihatsu New Global Architecture. The 1.5V is the non-hybrid petrol mid-level variant between the Yaris Cross HEV and the 1.5G base model.

The Yaris Cross is a head-turning crossover. PHOTOS BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

On the exterior, it has a modern and sporty shell with its rear spoiler, fin-type antenna, and roof rail. It’s surrounded by LED front and rear lights, as well as daytime running lamps.

The design simply falls in between a hatchback and an SUV. You could say it’s the smaller sibling of the Veloz or the Rush, both seven-seater MPVs. But it’s roomier than the Raize, which seats five people just like the Yaris Cross.

With its looks and size, and a price of P1,306,000, it’s an economical option compared to the more premium five-seaters like the Corolla Cross and the RAV4, which are priced within the P2,000,000 bracket (give or take).

The Yaris Cross has more than enough cargo space. PHOTOS BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

Inside, the steering wheel is made with synthetic leather, as well as the seats, which are actually soft and quite comfortable. The blue stitching matches the blue-stripe trim across the dashboard, making it look sporty yet elegant. The driver’s seat is the only one with eight-way power adjustment, while the passenger seat can be adjusted four ways manually.

A spacious storage boot with 466L of cargo space can easily keep all evidence of an active and dynamic lifestyle, or your shopping or delivery errands around town. The rear seats are foldable to accommodate extra cargo, and there is a removable floor panel to better suit your storage requirements.

Don't confuse the Yaris Cross V for the hybrid variant. PHOTO BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

It’s equipped with keyless entry, push-start ignition, power locks, power tailgate, and wireless charging—all of which would tick the boxes for driver and passenger convenience. It’s loaded with a digital meter cluster and a 10-inch display for the infotainment.

Aside from the radio and Bluetooth connectivity, the system has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, so you can enjoy your audio of choice from all six speakers. You can even go hands-free with the voice-command function.

For drivers who think they can never have enough cup/bottle holders, this ride has a total of 10 on the front and the rear combined. Name a sports car with that many.

The ambient lighting has a wide spectrum of hues that you can choose from to enjoy the car’s interior all the more. These details elevate the Yaris Cross V and make it feel anything but basic. On the inside, it feels like it’s a more expensive car.

What color would you choose for the ambient lighting? PHOTOS BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

Now, let’s talk safety. The Yaris Cross has enough safety features to help you power through the metro with Toyota Safety Sense. Driver and passenger airbags, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic and lane-departure alerts, and a panoramic view monitor are all included.

The built-in dashboard camera is a nice touch since not many cars offer this at the same price point. It’s equipped with state-of-the-art Toyota Vehicle Security System comprised of an alarm and an immobilizer.

The car has a ground clearance of 212mm to get you through uneven concrete roads and elevations without a hitch, plus hill-assist technology to prevent you from rolling back on an incline.

City driving carries a higher probability of accidents and theft, but these systems in place should be more than enough to help you get around safely and efficiently.

This or the Corolla Cross? PHOTO BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

The Yaris Cross V has a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with 105hp and 138Nm, mated to a CVT. Was it built for speed? Not really. It doesn’t deliver torque as much as the hybrid variant can, and you’ll hear the engine revving with more effort along the highways.

It may not also have the same hybrid system for fuel efficiency, but according to Toyota Motor Philippines tests (based on the UN R101 standard), you should be able to get at least 15.38km/L in ideal urban conditions, with owners reporting around 12km/L from a full tank.

It feels like you’re going at a hundred when the speedometer reflects only above 70. It might struggle with power and speed on the highway, but it will still definitely serve you well on long leisurely drives.

On top of that, it’s packed with enough safety and aesthetic features that you can find in more expensive cars. It also comes with a three-year/100,000km warranty.

If you’re shopping in the crossover aisle for a car that can take the brunt of city milesand withstand the wear and tear, and the stop-go nature of driving downtownthe Yaris Cross 1.5V could be the one.

Patty Morato-Roa

Patty had an early career as a TV and print model. She was also immersed in the motoring world at a young age having spent her childhood around annual car shows. She has worked as an editorial assistant, and dabbles in photography as well. She’s a wife of an avid motorcycle rider and a mom of two.