Toyota has revealed its new Yaris Cross, an all-wheel-drive offering for Europe based on the latest Yaris hatchback and slotting in below the facelifted C-HR.

The Japanese firm says the newcomer shares the standard Yaris hatch’s wheelbase of 2 560 mm, although its overall length is some 240 mm more at 4 180 mm (the slightly larger C-HR, for the sake of comparison, measures 4 385 mm nose to tail).

In addition, the new Yaris Cross is some 20 mm wider and 90 mm taller (around 30 mm of that is extra ground clearance) than the hatchback on which it’s based and with which it shares the TNGA-B platform. The brand will offer alloy wheel sizes as large as 18 inches in diameter.

In Europe, oomph will come from a hybrid powertrain comprising a 1,5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor, with a total system output of 85 kW. Toyota says the AWD-i system provides “extra stability and traction in everyday driving, in poor conditions and on low-grip surfaces”. An electric arrangement, it directs drive torque to the rear axle when pulling away and when accelerating.

In normal driving, the Yaris Cross operates in front-wheel-drive mode, but when low-grip conditions are detected, all-wheel drive is engaged automatically.

The new Yaris Cross will be built at Toyota’s Valenciennes plant in France alongside the hatchback.

Of course, the Yaris offered in Europe is not the same as the Asian-spec version sold here in South Africa. And that makes it seem very unlikely the new Yaris Cross (not to be confused with the Yaris 1,5 Cross variant already offered locally) will become available in South Africa anytime soon...