Toyota’s new Yaris Cross art cars create city colourscapes

13 February 2024

The new Toyota Yaris Cross has brought vibrant colour to city life with a fleet of cars finished in original liveries created by a team of contemporary artists.

Five Lisbon-based creatives were commissioned to produce unique designs to celebrate the updated model’s launch. The artworks they have produced are inspired by the Portuguese capital’s cultural heritage and its modern street art scene.

On sale now, the new Yaris Cross range includes a more powerful, 129bhp version of the 1.5-litre hybrid electric powertrain. New features also include a fully digital, customisable driver’s instrument display, the latest Toyota Smart Connect multimedia system and enhanced Toyota Safety Sense active safety and driver assistance systems.

The line-up features a new top-of-the-range Premiere Edition model which, together with the new Yaris GR Sport, is equipped with the 129bhp hybrid system.

The artists and their designs

The artists’ designs build a striking visual relationship between the compact, urban-friendly Yaris Cross and the wealth of colours, motifs and murals that bring Lisbon’s streets to life. Each has its own distinguishing characteristics and themes.

Ines Santos is a graduate of ESAD.Cr, Portugal’s Upper School of Arts and Design. She worked for advertising agencies before joining the award-winning studio Barbara Says and is also a member of the team delivering Lisbon’s world-renowned Architecture Triennial.

Her design for Yaris Cross is inspired by Lisbon’s famous azulejo ceramic tiles, adapting the classic scrollwork that can still be found on the facades of older buildings and using their signature light blue and white shades. These contrast with a yellow stone-like pattern lower down on the bodywork, and a deep azure covering the car’s roof.

Los Pepes are the artistic duo Meggie Prata and Francisco Leal. They create bold and euphoric artworks with the aim of encouraging positive thinking in everyone who sees them. Also known as the “Gangsters of Love,” they explore what colours can do to the human mind, producing spray-painted street art and digitally rendered designs in which colour is a leading element.

Applying their technique to Yaris Cross, they have produced a dazzle-painted car in clashing colours and patterns across every panel, unlike anything else on the road.

Tosco (Paulo Ferreira) is a Lisbon native and began taking his art into urban spaces in the late 1990s when felt the need to express himself in a more visible way. Today he is one of the most innovative figures in Portugal’s unconventional line graffiti scene.

For Yaris Cross he has produced a streetscape scene that bursts with energy and humour, peopled by fantasy characters enjoying life to the full – from riding a bicycle and paddling a canoe to scoring a goal and playing a jazz trumpet.

Diana Oliveira is from the south of Portugal and is now based in Almada, just across the Tagus from Lisbon. Her passion for shapes and colours inspired her to become a multi-faceted graphic designer and illustrator, producing work that brings illustrative pieces to life with animation.

Her elegant design draws inspiration from one of Lisbon’s most famous tiled buildings, the 19th century Fábrica Viúva Lamego. Motifs from the architecture are combined with draped lemon tree branches and exotic birds and animals.

Italian-born Luca Colapietro was inspired by the beauty and abundance of the azulejos in Portugal’s cites to create his own interior design project influenced by their deep-rooted aesthetic qualities. This brought about the founding of Surrealjos, a surrealist interpretation of classical tile design, in 2014.

He has produced a classical and symmetrical all-over design for Yaris Cross, punctuated by surprise details, including eyes and red-lipped open mouths.

Toyota Yaris Cross, on 12.01.2024 in Lisbon, Portugal. Left-Right: Luca Colapietro,Paulo Ferreira, Francisco Leal, Meggie Pra