Toyota readying Yaris-based SUV

Want a Toyota SUV but find the C-HR too expensive? Just wait, there’s something in the works for you.
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Toyota is reportedly developing a new, entry-level crossover to slot into its line-up beneath the C-HR. Auto Express reports the new SUV is set to be revealed in the second half of this year.

It’ll be the second vehicle to use the Yaris’s TNGA-B architecture, which differs from larger TNGA-C-based cars like the Corolla in using a simpler, torsion-beam rear suspension.

The SUV is expected to measure around four metres long, around the same length as a Hyundai Venue.

For comparison, the new Yaris measures 3940mm and the C-HR is 4360mm long. Other small SUVs like the Mazda CX-3 and Nissan Juke are just over 4200mm long.

Toyota sees a spot in its range for an SUV both smaller and cheaper than the C-HR.

“SUV segments in general are all continuing to grow,” Toyota’s European executive vice president Matt Harrison told Auto Express.

“C-HR is playing in the very top end of what could almost be a sort of coupe-crossover C-segment SUV. It doesn’t really compete with other products like Qashqai or more practical offerings.”

Should it reach Australia, it'll give buyers a more affordable SUV option at Toyota dealers. The C-HR only just sneaks in under $30k before on-road costs, narrowly undercutting the larger RAV4, while hot-selling small SUVs like the Mitsubishi ASX start at around the $25k mark.

Some of the SUV’s extra length over the Yaris may be in the wheelbase, allowing for a more spacious cabin.

The new model will also be around 40mm taller than the Yaris, affording it the coveted higher seating position of an SUV.

Expect the SUV to share powertrains with the 2020 Yaris instead of the C-HR.

That means a naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine mated to either a continuously variable transmission (CVT) or a six-speed manual transmission.

That same engine can also be mated to a lithium-ion battery in the Yaris, so expect the SUV to likewise offer a hybrid option.

The new Yaris will be available with Toyota’s E-Four electric all-wheel-drive system in the Japanese market, which also swaps out the torsion-beam rear suspension for a double-wishbone arrangement.

This could be shared with the new SUV, though it’s possible it could be front-wheel-drive-only in some markets, much like the Hyundai Venue.