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Toyota Yaris Cross shows off its handsome shape

The Yaris-based crossover includes an optional hybrid powertrain and all-wheel drive.

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- 01:53

It's a Yaris on stilts!

Toyota

The Toyota Yaris Cross is fashionably late to the party. While Toyota showed the new Yaris-based crossover on Thursday, the model was supposed to debut way back in March for the 2020 Geneva Motor Show. Organizers canceled the event as the coronavirus pandemic began to take hold in Europe.

So, instead, here we have the newest Toyota via a digital debut. Based on Toyota's TNGA platform, which is starting to find its way to more new models, this one sits on the same version as the automaker's compact cars and really is like a Yaris on stilts. The whole goal was to keep the Yaris' ability to scoot around tight city streets, but add the extra space and comfort crossovers provide. Take a look at sales of the Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V and others, and you'll know this is a winning formula.

Perhaps what makes the Yaris Cross look rather handsome is the fairly simple exterior design. Here in the US, the smallest Toyota crossover remains the C-HR, which is definitely a quirky-looking thing. Compared to the C-HR, the Yaris Cross is even smaller; it's about 9 inches shorter, 5 inches skinnier and an inch shorter. The Yaris Cross looks very cohesive and there's just a little bit of second-generation Mirai in the front clip that I personally really dig.

As for the powertrain, it's a tiny 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, or the same engine can be had with Toyota's latest hybrid system for an even more efficient drive. Fuel economy estimates aren't available, but either engine configuration pairs with a six-speed manual or CVT. All-wheel drive is available, but only for the hybrid.

Inside, it doesn't look like the cockpit will blow anyone away, but it looks nice enough with a varied color palette and an attractive steering wheel design. The gear selector looks positive low budget, though. Like, straight out of a car 15 years old.

There aren't any plans to bring this tiny new crossover to the US, but it'll go on sale in Japan this fall. Toyota will treat Europe to the Yaris Cross in mid-2021.

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First published April 23.