The latest Yaris was always intended to swallow a battery pack, but Toyota’s engineers still deserve credit for preserving the car’s internal dimensions, and they can take pride in the fact that spaciousness remains one of the car’s most compelling assets.
An extra 20mm on the front overhang may have nudged the Yaris close to four metres but, seated inside, it would be hard to persuade a blindfolded rear cabin passenger that the model wasn’t much bigger than that. As well as accommodating adult-sized thigh bones, it feels airy in a way that’s matched only by its closest rival, the Jazz Hybrid.
The Yaris swaps its revcounter for a backlit battery dial that shuffles between Charge, Eco and Power. Similarly, there are now two buttons adjacent to the handbrake, for selecting Eco and EV modes.
Otherwise, a splash of Prius-blue switchgear are all that distinguishes the model from a standard Yaris. Such a policy may be useful in helping to lever Toyota’s conservative supermini demographic into a new-fangled hybrid, but the cockpit could also be interpreted as a missed opportunity for distinctiveness. The company continues to mass-produce robustness better than anyone, but its mainstream competitors have moved interior style several streets ahead. The facelift saw more standard equipment fitted and the interior was given a light refresh to make it appear more sporty.
On the standard equipment front, the entry-level Active model comes with steel wheels, heated wing mirrors, front electric windows, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone climate control, projector headlights and Toyota's full suite of safety technology, while upgrading to Icon adds 15in alloy wheels, keyless start, cruise control, road sign recognition, rear view camera and Toyota's Touch 2 infotainment system complete with DAB radio and 7.0in touchscreen display.
New for 2017 is the Icon Tech trim, which as you will have guessed adds more technology to the Yaris package, such as, sat nav and front parking sensors, while opting for the Design models add luxuries such as, arear spoiler, 16in alloy wheels, tinted rear windows and a gloss black honeycomb grille.
The new Bi-Tone range adds black door mirrors, rear LED lights, LED day-running lights and rear electric windows to the package, as well as the option to pick one of the snazzy bi-tone colour scheme which comes with a black roof and a choice of Nebula Blue, Tokyo Red, Glacier Pearl and Platinum Bronze. Topping the range is the Excel trim which adds 16in alloy wheels, part-leather and Alcantara upholstery, automatic headlights and wipers, chrome sills and an auto-dimming rear view mirror.