From £15,034
Driving the Toyota Yaris Hybrid is effortless and its cabin is a superbly quiet place to be

Our Verdict

Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Toyota’s hybrid tech rolls out into Europe’s biggest market segment in the shape of the Yaris, but is it a wholesome alternative to humble petrol engine?

18 June 2012

What is it?

Toyota has taken the drivetrain from the previous generation Toyota Prius and squeezed it into the popular Toyota Yaris, making it the smallest hybrid on the market. With emissions of just 79g/km, it is also among the lowest carbon emitting new cars on sale in the UK, and has a claimed combined economy figure of 80.7mpg.

Under the bonnet, you’ll find a 1.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor sandwiched next to each other. These give a combined 98bhp and 125lb ft of torque, transferred to the front wheels via an epicyclic torque split. Batteries for the electric motor live under the rear seats and are charged during braking and by the petrol engine.

Despite all the extra tech, the only defining features externally are some ‘Hybrid’ badges, new front and rear bumpers, new headlights and black LED taillights. The Yaris Hybrid is the same size and weight as normal fossil fuel powered versions.

What's it like?

Pleasant. The green ‘ready’ light is the only clue you’ll have to the Yaris Hybrid being on when you first start a journey. Slot it into ‘D’ and you waft away silently with only the electric motor providing power. Even when the petrol engine starts, the Yaris Hybrid is a superbly quiet place to be.

Driving the Yaris is effortless, as to be expected from a car bought mostly by 60-something females. Everything is where you would expect to find it with big, easy-to-read dials and touch screen sat nav taking centre stage. The instruments are lit with a blue aura rippling outwards from the centre, but the dash itself isn’t so flashy, largely covered in a dark grey, grained plastic but lightened somewhat by bright white inserts. Although some of the materials seem a little cheap, there is no denying that this cabin has been built to exacting standards, feeling solid throughout.

Down by the handbrake lie two buttons, ‘Eco mode’ and ‘EV mode’. Providing you have enough charge, ‘EV mode’ allows you to drive silently on the electric motor, but only with the gentlest of throttle movements and below 25mph. Push the throttle anything past a third of its travel and you’ll hear the engine start up to boost power.

The batteries for driving that electric motor live under the rear seats and, although they don’t eat into boot space, they do protrude into the rear legroom. Passengers in the rear will notice the awkward bulge pressing against the backs of their legs in an otherwise spacious and comfortable car.

Toyota has done a terrific job with the ride and handling. The chassis is direct, steering light and car stable, even in the strongest of winds and heaviest of rain. Potholes are barely felt by occupants and around town, and the drivetrain allows for almost silent if sedate progress.

Venture out of town and the Yaris has enough power to maintain progress at the cost of some refinement. The CVT-like gearbox makes for constant high-revving from the engine when building speed to join a motorway, overtake or accelerate uphill. It’s made all the more noticeable by this car’s near-silent EV mode driving and can come at quite a shock.

Acceleration isn’t this car’s strong point. You’ll be waiting 11.8 seconds before reaching 60mph from rest, with peak power being delivered in a noisy, slightly strained fashion. You quickly learn how to get the best from this car’s engine set-up and how to avoid the sound of a revving engine, but as most buyers will be using this car around town, you’ll enjoy mostly silent travel. And economical travel, too. 80mpg isn’t realistic in our test experience, but 60mpg certainly is - if you familiarise yourself with the car’s regenerative braking and keep your usage mostly urban.

Should I buy one?

Yes - if you are in the market for a small hatchback for town use and economy features highly amongst your priorities. Although £16,995 isn’t cheap, the generous kit levels and low running costs of the Yaris cushion the blow.

Supermini hybrids are still rare, but they make strong sense – and this is a good one. Small cars are still most commonly brought with petrol engines, as you’ll never see the true economy out of a diesel around town. Add an electric motor into the mix and you’ve got a car that can perform silently, effortlessly and cleanly, and particularly efficiently where small cars are most often used.

Tim Watson

Toyota Yaris Hybrid T Spirit

Price: £16,995; 0-62mph: 11.8sec; Top speed: 103mph; Economy: 76.3mpg); CO2: 85g/km; Kerb weight: 1085kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1497cc, petrol, plus electric motor; Combined power: 98bhp: Torque: 82lb ft (petrol engine), 125 lb ft (electric motor); Gearbox: CVT

Join the debate

Comments
15

18 June 2012

Emissions 79g/Km as stated in text or 85g/Km in specs at bottom of page.

 

18 June 2012

I think it's time for Toyota's Hybrids to take a leaf out-of GM's effort i.e. it needs to be a plug-in with a real world battery power of 40 miles, if this were the case, for small cars at least, some people would only put petrol in a couple of times a year.

Toyota have being doing battery power for a long time now and it's time to raise the bar.  Good thing is though Battery/Hybrid range extenders are here to stay!

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

18 June 2012

A long time ago my father had a Cortina 1.6 GL (about 1980) pumping out 75bhp.  This was a car designed to pound up and down the countries motorways and was a large family car. Small city cars had 1.1liter engines with about 55 bhp.  There really were small and light and because the pilars were thin. You could see put of them without a BBC camera team attached to the vehicle broadcasting live images inside your car.

Today, Toyota are offering a "Small" city car with an engine capacity of 1.5 litres, not withstanding a second electric motor. It is undoubtely more powerful, cleaner and more fuel efficient. That is not the point.

When did england grow larger that we need larger and larger more powerful cars.  When did the nations speed limits rise that make it a requisite that all cars must have at least 100 bhp. 

Why are we not driving around in cars with smaller capacity engines capable of 150mpg already.

 

 

 

 

 

18 June 2012

topsecret456987 wrote:

Why are we not driving around in cars with smaller capacity engines capable of 150mpg already.

 

Focus 1.0 Ecoboost is a smaller capacity than the Cortina, maybe not 150 mpg though. For max mpg you could get BMW or Audi Diesel that’ll do 60 MPG, i.e. twice that of the Cortina and it’ll be safer, faster more comfortable etc.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

18 June 2012

The original insight was 80g/km, so well done toyota for finally beating that. I had an Insight and it averaged over 67 mpg over a couple of years, so this may also acheive that sort of figure.

As a long term ownership proposition its probably quite good, but £17k is a lot of money for a small car. It probably makes more sense to spend £12k and just put more fuel in your car, unless you drive into London everyday.

18 June 2012

This seems to be getting very positive reviews everywhere  - it would be good to see on an Autocar full test what real world fuel economy is like when using round town, as the Prius never seemed to get near its official figures.

I'd agree with xxxx that a plug in hybrid is the next step, ther is now a Prius plug in so I'd guess a Yaris plug in shouldn't be too far behind.

18 June 2012

 

horror, shock!!!

seriously Autocar: ... new headlights and black LED taillights

??? what?

so... at night, how can we see the taillights?

?

shouldn`t be darknedLED taillights?

Autocar, please proofread from time to time, at least...

(loved the +60`s female bit... ;-D )

 

18 June 2012

"...I think it's time for Toyota's Hybrids to take a leaf out-of GM's effort i.e. it needs to be a plug-in with a real world battery power of 40 miles..."

I think Toyota have beaten you to it - details of the Prius plug-in have been released and it will be available next month. The problem is the batteries to provide this sort of range cost in the region of £8,000, and you can still buy a lot of petrol for a supermini for that money

 

18 June 2012

sierra wrote:

"...I think it's time for Toyota's Hybrids to take a leaf out-of GM's effort i.e. it needs to be a plug-in with a real world battery power of 40 miles..."

I think Toyota have beaten you to it - details of the Prius plug-in have been released and it will be available next month. The problem is the batteries to provide this sort of range cost in the region of £8,000, and you can still buy a lot of petrol for a supermini for that money

Please read about Vauxhall Ampera with a real world range of 40 + miles (A plug in Range extender type vehicle). Toyota don't do that type yet.  I just read the plug-in Prius range will be between 11 and 14 miles and then only up to 53mph i.e. 4 times less.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

18 June 2012

Quote:

Small cars are still most commonly brought with petrol engines

Bought perhaps. Please make an effort.

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