Toyota may not have invented the hybrid-powered vehicle, but it has become accustomed to breaking through petrol-electric barriers nonetheless. The Yaris Hybrid is Toyota's first foray into the supermini segment with parallel hybrid technology.

When the original Prius went on sale in Japan 15 years ago, it was the culmination of a development process that had begun five years earlier, and marked the introduction of the first mass-produced hybrid car.

The seismic ripples generated not only by its novel configuration but also by the 2.5 million sales it subsequently accumulated continue to be felt across an industry that’s still working frantically to catch up with the manufacturing colossus.

The Yaris has the potential to be an even more conductive lightning rod than its bigger hybrid brother. It is smaller, cleaner and, most importantly, cheaper than the established hybrid norm, and it is perfectly positioned to unlock the untapped market potential of the petrol-electric supermini.

Buyers can pick from one of three trim levels: T3, T4 and range-topping T Spirit.

Top 5 City cars

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Toyota range

Driven this week

  • Lamborghini Aventador S
    First Drive
    21 January 2017
    Is an upgrade to 730bhp and the addition of four-wheel steering enough to realise the Aventador's potential?
  • Ford Focus RS Mountune FPM375
    First Drive
    20 January 2017
    Does an official Mountune upgrade of 25bhp and 30lb ft, improve the already rampant and rather magnificent Ford Focus RS?
  • Audi S5 Sportback
    First Drive
    19 January 2017
    The Audi S5 Sportback is more bruising GT than practical sports car, but it makes sense for those wanting a fast executive saloon in coupé get-up
  • First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Despite receiving a cosmetic and mechanical refresh, Lexus's compact executive saloon still fails to provide much driving involvement
  • 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 5h review
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Big-selling plug-in SUV gets a light refresh in the face of new challengers to offer decent economy but only average driving dynamics