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RAY MASSEY: Toyota beefs up award-winning Yaris

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Toyota bolsters the award-winning Yaris to capture more of the lucrative small SUV and crossover market, and RAY MASSEY gives this ‘Cross’ a big pass










Toyota has bolstered its award-winning Yaris to capture a larger share of the growing and lucrative small SUV and crossover market. And this week I road tested the new Yaris Cross, a jacked-up version of the Yaris supermini, currently European Car of the Year.

Priced from £22,515 for the entry-level Icon trim level, the Cross derivative is impressive too, great for cruising around town and country.

The car I drove on a return trip to the south coast was the fully stocked front wheel drive Premiere Edition which cost £28,185. The top four-wheel drive version costs £30,545. But the biggest seller is expected to be the mid-spec Design trim starting at £24,140.

Mightier mini: Toyota’s new Yaris Cross hybrid is based on a proven winner

Powered by a frugal but docile 3-cylinder 1.5 liter hybrid setup with a continuously variable (CVT) automatic transmission, my car had 114 horsepower (79 horsepower from the electric motor) that took it from rest to 100 km/h in 11 hours. .2 seconds to a top speed of 106 mph.

There are three driving modes: eco, normal and power.

It only travels in electric EV mode up to 30 mph. CO2 emissions are up to 117.2 g/km, although the most fuel-efficient models reach 102 g/km. It offers an agile, engaging ride and is agile on country roads and highways.

You can put driving in ‘B’ mode which boosts the regenerative braking system meaning you can ‘earn’ extra while driving with just one pedal – the accelerator pedal – which also automatically brakes the car when you take your foot off .

The additional 25 mm ride height provides an impressive SUV-like view of the road. It’s also easy on the wallet, with fuel economy of up to 57.6 mpg (up to 62 mpg on the most fuel-efficient version) and a relatively low insurance group of 13E.

Toyota makes great use of the hi-tech dashboard and screen and how it connects to your smartphone.

Whatever. This car is just really nice.

VIPS CAN STAY INCOGNITO WITH A CUSTOM TAXIA

Renowned car dealer Clive Sutton has launched the ideal custom vehicle for VIPs who want to stay incognito on the road: a luxury electric taxi around LEVC’s electric London taxi.

I took a look at this week’s Salon Prive event at Blenheim Palace.

Ingognito: The Sutton VIP LEVC taxi starts at £104,680, and the fully stocked show car costs £121,480

Ingognito: The Sutton VIP LEVC taxi starts at £104,680, and the fully stocked show car costs £121,480

The Sutton VIP LEVC Taxi, dubbed ‘the most luxurious black taxi in the world’, starts at £104,680, while the fully stocked show car costs £121,480.

It comes with leather-covered reclining seats, umbrella holders, a fridge for drinks, a sunroof and awning. There’s also a 20-inch TV screen to watch movies or play games, plus the same automatic door-closing mechanisms used by Rolls-Royce.

LEVC, together with Lotus and Volvo, is owned by Geely of China. The standard electric black cab starts at £74,700.

MORGAN LAUNCHES NEW VERSION OF CLASSIC 3 WHEELER

Who needs four wheels when you can arguably have more fun on three?

British maker Morgan is launching an all-new version of its classic 3 Wheeler.

It has shown photos of a lightly disguised engineering prototype undergoing durability testing.

Long history: Morgan tricycles date back to the company's inception in 1909

Long history: Morgan tricycles date back to the company’s inception in 1909

It reads, “It will be an entirely new design, with significant technical progress.” The new version, starting at around £40,000, will be powered by a naturally aspirated in-line three-cylinder Ford engine.

Orders for the previous version, which went into production in 2011, were closed in early 2021, although production will continue throughout the year to complete a 10-year production run.

Morgan tricycles date back to the company’s inception in 1909, when founder, HFS Morgan, built a three-wheeled vehicle to transport it through the Malvern Hills.

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