Although some may hastily portray crossovers as mere “elevated” variations on the theme of the everyday hatchback, judging the right balance for the visual features of the project (robustness, agility, modernity of style) and instilling an element of charm into them is not always easy, especially when we are dealing with small dimensions.

Muscular forms

“In our case with the Yaris Cross”, says Tomoyasu Nishi, group manager of Toyota’s design division, “the problem was not one of adding solidity to the Yaris image. We have never cultivated any preconceived ideas about the model and we felt perfectly free to handle it in a new way, exploring more muscular formal qualities without hesitation”.

Diamond surfaces

During development, we worked by subtraction, progressively refining the body structure and retaining very sharp angles between the surfaces, particularly at the wheels: “This is a layout we call Nimble Diamond”.

Practical and refined

The overall vehicle develops along minimalist lines, which are not without a certain refinement and have been stripped of any superfluous graphics, thus representing the material translation of the principles expressed initially. But that’s not all. “In addition to robustness, our studies have shown that European purchasers of B-segment crossovers look for height and practicality,” continues the designer.

High waistline

The entire architecture is therefore moulded around these values: “We have emphasised the vertical development by focusing on a high waistline and positioning the light clusters above it, while the functional aspects are suggested by the shape of the roof, which suggests a roomy cabin”.

Between road and off-road

Even the launch colour, Brass Gold, is inspired by a synthesis between off-road attitude, urban flavour and attention to quality, under the banner once again of complex alchemy. “Just what today’s customers want”, concludes a pragmatic Tomoyasu Nishi.

(Full article in A&D no. 245)