Toyota to launch small SUV with all-wheel drive, hybrid powertrain for Europe

by Tom Morgan, Autocar UK 19 Feb 2020

Toyota will launch a Yaris-based small SUV for Europe, featuring all-wheel-drive and a hybrid powertrain, at this year’s Geneva motor show in March. The Japanese firm says that the as-yet-unnamed new model blends its “extensive small car experience with its strong SUV heritage”.

The model was first announced at a company showcase event in January. Today, the maker released a darkened image of the SUV's rear styling (below) as it ramps up to the SUV's Geneva reveal.

It will use the same TNGA-B platform and the same 1.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid powertrain as the new Yaris supermini.

Despite sharing many parts with the Yaris, Toyota claimed the SUV is an entirely new design. Toyota's European vice-president, Matthew Harrison, promised that the car won't be "just a Yaris with body cladding and raised suspension". Instead, it will be "an entirely new and distinctive B-SUV model" with a "compact, dynamic design and a personality of its own”.

Sitting directly below the C-HR, it will be longer, wider and taller than the Yaris, with a longer wheelbase, and offer 'intelligent' four-wheel drive system and proper off-road suspension, according to Toyota representatives.

Toyota hopes the model will help capitalise on the ongoing popularity of compact high-riding models and predicts the model to make up almost 30% of European sales volume, along with the Yaris, by 2025. It will face stiff competition from the all-new Nissan Juke, Renault Captur and Ford Puma.

Toyota said the name of the SUV, volume plans and the timing of its introduction will be announced at a future date. It will be built alongside the Yaris at Toyota's plant in Onnaing, France.

Toyota’s stand at Geneva will also feature the new RAV4 PHEV and second-generation Mirai fuel cell car, alongside the prototype GR Yaris hot hatch.