As Europe’s biggest selling Toyota model, it was only a matter of time before the engineers had shoehorned the Hybrid Synergy Drive system more commonly found in a Prius, into the tiny little city car.
The Yaris Hybrid gets the tried and trusted Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive but completely re-engineered to fit the smaller car. That means a fully automatic transmission which balances power from the electric motor and engine on a continuously variable basis, with a pure EV (electric only) mode which can last for up to 1.2 miles or up to 31mph and automatically kicks in from rest.
With a heavy right foot the engine lets you know it’s there and usually in petrol form but the power train is refined and in EV only mode, virtually silent. At traffic lights or when parking the car is completely silent and being an automatic which I am not used to, was a pretty strange sensation, moving with zero noise.
The Yaris hybrid was absolutely brilliant in round town and on a semi country jaunt out to the Galgrom Resort, it proved to handle very well and do exactly what you would wish any car to do, it is by no means a hot hatch. Performance is fairly modest, with 0-62mph taking 11.8 seconds while top speed is 103mph.
Its seats are comfortable and there’s ample leg and headroom in the back. The boot is good enough for a couple of cabin bags or shopping and the seats fold forward as usual to carry bigger loads. There are three trim levels: T3 (trim we tested), T4 and T Spirit sporting slightly higher levels of equipment at each step and part leather upholstery at the top end.
Even though we drove the basic spec T3, it still has CD player with 6 speaker audio system, Bluetooth, iPod connection, rear view camera.
The two higher levels get touch screen control but none get sat-nav as standard. Instruments are simple with a large speedometer, fuel gauge and the ‘hybrid system indicator’ to show power use and more important, regeneration.
The safety of the Toyota Hybrid System is well proven and the Yaris has a five-star Euro NCAP rating. All versions are equipped with seven airbags including twin-chamber front airbags and a driver’s knee airbag as well as ABS, EBD, brake assist, stability control and traction control.
The combined fuel consumption figure is 81mpg and on our test drive we got pretty close to that figure, which is a lot closer than you can get to official figures in some cars. The official urban figure shoots up to 91 mpg because of the advantage given by the hybrid drive.
CO2 rating comes in at 79g/km meaning that the road tax costs all of nothing, yes that’s right zero road tax.
Prices from roughly £15k mean that this little car will most likely pay for itself over a good few years ownership due to the free
tax as well as the huge miles per gallon that it is capable of.
Engine: 1.5 petrol / electric hybrid
CO2 Rating: 79g/km
Economy: 81mpg (combined cycle)
Trim Level: T3
Price: 15k roughly
Road Tax: FREE
Words and Photos: Graham Curry