RAY MASSEY: Toyota beefs up award-winning Yaris

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Toyota beefs up award-winning Yaris to grab larger slice of lucrative small SUV and crossover market, and RAY MASSEY gives this 'Cross' a big tick

By Ray Massey Motoring Editor For The Daily Mail

Published: 17:01 EDT, 3 September 2021 | Updated: 17:22 EDT, 3 September 2021

Toyota has beefed up its award-winning Yaris to grab a larger slice 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 super-mini, 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 Premiere Edition with front-wheel drive costing £28,185. The top-range all-wheel drive version is £30,545. But its biggest seller is expected to be the mid-spec Design trim from £24,140. 

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

Powered by a frugally efficient but willing 3-cylinder 1.5 litre hybrid set up with a continuously variable (CVT) automatic t­ransmission, my car had 114bhp of power (of which 79bhp comes from the electric motor) that drove it from rest to 62mph in 11.2 seconds up to a top speed of 106mph. 

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

It'll drive in electric-only EV mode up to 30mph. CO2 emissions are up to 117.2g/ km though the most frugal models get that down to 102g/km. It offers a nimble, engaging drive and is nippy on country lanes and motorways alike. 

You can set the drive in 'B' mode which boosts the regenerative braking system meaning you can 'earn' extra charge as you drive with just one pedal — the accelerator — which also makes the car brake automatically when you take your foot off. 

The extra 25mm of ride height provides a commanding SUV-like view of the road. It's also easy on the pocket, offering up to 57.6 mpg fuel efficiency (up to 62 mpg on the most frugal version) and a relatively low insurance group of 13E. 

Toyota is making much of the hi-tech dashboard and screen and how it connects to your smartphone.

Whatever. This car is simply a lot of fun.

VIPS CAN REMAIN INCOGNITO WITH CUSTOMISED TAXI

Celebrity car dealer Clive Sutton has launched the ideal customised vehicle for VIPs who want to remain incognito on the road: a luxury electric taxi based around LEVC's electric London cab. 

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

Ingognito: The Sutton VIP LEVC Taxi starts at £104,680, with the fully-stocked show car costing £121,480

Dubbed 'the world's most luxurious black cab', the Sutton VIP LEVC Taxi starts at £104,680, with the fully-stocked show car costing £121,480. 

It comes with leather-clad reclining seats, umbrella holders, a drinks fridge, sunroof and blinds. There's also a 20-inch TV screen for watching movies or playing games, plus the same automatic push-button door closing mechanisms used by Rolls-Royce. 

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

MORGAN TO LAUNCH NEW VERSION OF CLASSIC 3 WHEELER 

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

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

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

Long history: Morgan three wheelers date back to the firm's beginnings in 1909

It says: 'It will be an all-new design, with significant engineering advancements.' The new version, from around £40,000, will be powered by a naturally aspirated in-line three-cylinder Ford engine. 

Orders for the previous version, which started production in 2011, closed at the beginning of 2021, though production will continue throughout the year to round-off a decade-long production run. 

Morgan three wheelers date back to the firm's beginnings in 1909, when founder, HFS Morgan, built a three-wheeled vehicle to transport him around the Malvern Hills. 

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