Small is big - new Toyota Yaris

Many manufacturers are producing hybrids these days and so I have been testing the new Toyota Yaris hybrid to see how it measures up.

Many manufacturers are producing hybrids these days and so I have been testing the new Toyota Yaris hybrid to see how it measures up.

Road tested by Hugh Maguire

As most now know, hybrids are powered by a combination of a petrol or diesel engine and an electric motor which gets its power from a rechargeable battery pack.

The new Yaris hybrid benefits from the very latest in hybrid technology and so for example the battery pack is very compact and does not intrude on luggage space as in early hybrid cars.

.

First Impressions.

The new Yaris has really grown in size! It is a stylish car with echoes of the new Auris in its styling theme. I must say I thought it looked very good and is one of the more attractive small cars around.

.

Behind The Wheel.

The new cabin is large, bright, roomy and well finished. I like the two-tone colour scheme which adds an air of fun to the cars interior.

The driving position is perfect and the level of standard equipment is very good and includes, Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Hill Assist Control, multiple airbags including a drivers knee airbag, Whiplash Injury Lessening Front Seats (WIL

Emergency Brake Assist, Unique Hybrid front grille, Unique Hybrid rear lights, LED rear combination lights, Unique alloy wheels, Dual Climate Control, LED daytime running lights, Blue stitching on steering wheel, gear lever and hand brake, and a centrally mounted touch screen with hybrid system monitor and rear reversing camera, partial leather seats, cruise control and Smart keyless start.

Accomadation is very good with ample leg and headroom both front and rear and a decent sized boot which is accessed via the large rear tailgate.

.

Performance.

This Yaris hybrid is powered by a re engineered version of the petrol engine which was first seen in the Prius hybrid. Capacity is smaller at just 1.5 litres and in combination with the electric motor total power output is 100hp. C02 emissions are just 85g. So it is in the lowest road tax bracket.

Claiming a fuel consumption as low as 3.1 litres per 100km the Yaris hybrid sounds very economical indeed. In reality though the on board trip computer recorded an average over my weeks road test of 5.3 litres per 100km in mixed driving conditions most of which was cross country and motorway driving.The Yaris hybrid will really only come into its own when in city or slow traffic where driving on electric power only with zero consumption and zero emissions are possible.

The change between hybrid power and the petrol engine is truly seamless. You really forget you are driving a hybrid. Overall performance is very good and he 5 speed gearbox is light with well chosen gear ratios.

.

Road Behaviour.

The new Yaris hybrid handles very well and proved itself sure footed whether on wet or dry roads.

I found it to be a nice car to drive with a generally refined cabin with low levels of noise. The steering is light and lacks a bit of road feel but thats no big deal in this segment, most are like that.

.

Verdict.

The new Yaris hybrid is a lovely car. But would I buy it over the “standard” car and pay the premium in price? The answer has to be no. Sure its great for the enviornment and its economical but the price difference between the entry level and excellent Yaris 1.0 VVTi petrol and the Yaris Hybrid is €3,395. Yaris prices start at €15,555 while Yaris Hybrid starts at €18,950. The Yaris Hybrid Luxury as tested here costs €19,950.

Great car, nice technology, beautifully built, but so is the ‘standard’ car so my choice would be but buy the “standard” one instead.