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Car news, 27 Mar ’24: updated Toyota Yaris Cross priced for Australia, Government announces changes to NVES proposal, and more


Every important car news story breaking today, one convenient read

Thanks for joining us this Wednesday March 27th 2024. Notably in car news today: Toyota announces pricing for its updated Yaris Cross small SUV, and the Australian Government makes some concessions for its proposed New Vehicle Efficiency Standard.

Browse this issue:

Toyota Australia updates Yaris Cross for 2024 

This is the updated Toyota Yaris Cross for 2024
  • Toyota’s local arm has today announced a significant update for its Yaris Cross small SUV, which now starts from $30,900 before on-road costs (price of entry up $900). The top spec Urban AWD now costs $39,880 before on-road costs.
  • The Yaris Cross is hybrid-only for 2024, and is available with either 2WD or AWD depending on the grade.
  • Front-drive Yaris Cross variants use a 1.5-litre three-cylinder hybrid system with combined output of 85kW, while all-wheel drive variants gain a rear motor generator for extra traction. 
  • Standard equipment for the Yaris Cross includes a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen, a 7.0-inch full digital instrument cluster, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as upgraded USB-C charge ports. 
  • The Toyota Yaris Cross retains key safety features including new motorcycle detection for the vehicle’s AEB system, as well as further improvements to its adaptive cruise control. 

The Australian Government makes revisions to proposed NVES

The Australian Government has made concessions for larger ladder frame SUVs
  • The Australian Government has responded to feedback from automakers and local importers regarding the future New Vehicle Efficiency Standard, with some concessions to be made for large ladder-frame four-wheel drives and utes. 
  • Large ladder-frame four-wheel drives that were originally set to be identified as a passenger vehicle have now been classed as light commercial vehicles, meaning that many 4x4s, including the Toyota Prado and the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, will have different emissions targets to other passenger vehicles. 
  • Vehicle importers will be fined $100 per gram of C02 emitted over the set threshold, however they can also receive credits for selling low or zero emissions vehicles, much like it is the case in regions such as Europe. 
  • The efficiency standard is set to become legislated from 1st January, 2025, with penalties to be in place from 1st July, 2024.  

Genesis GV90 concept breaks cover

The Neolun concept could be the future GV90
  • Genesis has pulled the covers off a new Neolun concept which is very likely to be the future GV90 large SUV. 
  • With futuristic exterior looks and purple upholstery in the interior, the Neolun previews an SUV future for the Korean luxury automaker. 
  • The front seats can rotate 180 degrees, turning the space into a comfortable lounge-like seating configuration for occupants. 
  • Although still unconfirmed, the Neolun concept could one day become a production GV90, a model likely to ride upon the same E-GMP electric platform as the Kia EV9 and the upcoming Hyundai Ioniq 9 SUV

Toyota caught testing Hyundai Santa Cruz, with Japanese ute likely under study 

Toyota engineers have been spotted driving rival Hyundai’s Santa Cruz ute
  • Toyota engineers have been spotted in the US driving Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz models, leading several reports to believe Toyota is making a unibody ute of its own. 
  • Reports from Automotive News have stated that the future Toyota ute could be an EV, and is likely to be smaller than the current Tacoma.
  • We know that Toyota’s next Hilux is very likely to be built on the ladder-frame TNGA-F platform that the Tacoma uses, but if Toyota wants to build a unibody pickup, it could look to use a RAV4 or Highlander to build a smaller, city-style utility vehicle. 
  • The potential Toyota ute could work well in Australia, however it’s competitors, such as the Hyundai Santa Cruz, have not been offered in our market and are not likely to due to low towing and payload capacities.  

Lexus RX350h AWD Luxury Long Term reviewed

Lexus RX 350h Luxury LT 2023 CTC front
The Chasing Cars Lexus RX 350h Luxury long-term test car
  • Chasing Cars deputy editor Curt Dupriez’s long-term road test update 4 of his 2024 Lexus RX350h AWD Luxury was published, including performance testing and highway fuel consumption.
  • During performance testing at the Chasing Cars’ test track, the hybrid AWD rattled off a time significantly quicker than what is advertised for this variant and its powertrain.
  • While interstate road tripping, the big hybrid Lexus proved to be quite frugal, if short of its importer’s claim.
  • In summary, it’s a case of so far, so good for the six-month test where we’re hoping to clock up an extra 10,000km on the odometer.

The next issue of Car News Today will be published on Thursday 28th March at 4.30pm Sydney time.