Pros: Urban efficiency, relaxing drive, more refined
Cons: Performance, centre console layout
2017 has been an exciting year for the supermini segment with a host of newly-launched models to choose from in the class. The most notable new model launches include the Ford Fiesta, SEAT Ibiza and Nissan Micra, along with this, the new Toyota Yaris. For the first time ever, the Yaris is available with Toyota’s hybrid technology which means it is the first hybrid supermini to go on sale in Ireland too. We recently spent a week with the new Toyota Yaris Hybrid to see how it fares against the competition.
What is it like?
The Yaris looks sportier than before thanks to a new front end design with reshaped lights and a significant redesign at the rear too. Subtle features distinguish the hybrid version from the regular model too, including blue-coloured Toyota emblems and Hybrid badges on the boot and front quarter panels. The Yaris is available in both three and five door versions, but the Hybrid model is exclusively available as a five door. Our test car is a high specification Sol model which means it has 15-inch grey alloy wheels and chrome detailing for added flair.
The Yaris’ interior feels more spacious up front with plenty of room to seat adults comfortably and lots of usable storage areas throughout the cabin, while space in the rear seats is good thanks to a flat floor and improved positioning of the ISOFIX mounts. The boot offers 286 litres of storage space which is slightly larger than other cars in its class. The Yaris’ dash materials are hardwearing and durable, but ultimately lack the quality feel of those in cars like the Volkswagen Polo. The eight-inch touch screen system in our test car is easy to use, but we found it leans away from the driver and can be hard to reach. There is also a new 4.2-inch TFT display behind the steering wheel which displays lots of useful driving information and it’s a great addition.
The new Yaris is available with four different engines including petrol and diesel options, but for the purposes of this review we will focus on the petrol-electric Hybrid powertrain. The Yaris Hybrid mixes a 1.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for a combined power output of 100bhp, and it’s also the only Yaris in the range to feature Toyota’s CVT continuously automatic transmission. It’s incredibly easy to drive around town, routinely switching between electric and petrol driving depending on the battery charge, speed and rate of acceleration. While performance is sedate, it is on par with most of its small petrol-powered rivals and gathers speed well, with 0-100km/h taking 11.8 seconds.
The Yaris Hybrid is incredibly frugal with €170 annual motor tax, and we managed 3.7-litres per 100 kilometres in fuel economy (76 mpg) when driving it around town. That said, the returns decrease significantly once you take it out onto the motorway and drive at higher speeds, so the Yaris Hybrid is most at home around town. There is also an EV button located beneath the handbrake which allows you to manually select electric driving mode for speeds of up to 50 km/h.
Toyota has made some pretty significant changes to the underpinnings of the Yaris Hybrid with the added weight of the petrol-electric platform. It handles more assertively than before, while extra sound-insulation result in better ride quality and lower noise levels on the move. In fact, the petrol engine is so quiet that the transition between electric and petrol power is almost unnoticeable. While the Yaris Hybrid is never going to be as fun to drive as the new Ford Fiesta, it ticks all of the boxes pretty well and majors at being incredibly easy to drive.
Prices for the Toyota Yaris start from €15,950 for the Terra specification 1.0-litre petrol, while the entry Hybrid range starts from €19,575. All Hybrid models get 15-inch alloy wheels. Power-heated door mirrors, halogen headlamps and collision warning. Our Sol test car has additional rear electric windows, black roof lining and chrome detailing on the exterior, but prices start from €21,000 for this specification. Taking all of this into account, the Yaris Hybrid is priced competitively against the comparable diesel-powered Volkswagen Polo or Ford Fiesta.
Carzone verdict: 3.5/5
The concept of the hybrid supermini may be a relatively new one, but it certainly suits the new Toyota Yaris. The Yaris Hybrid’s fuel economy returns are seriously impressive when it is driven cleverly and it’s especially-suited to the urban sprawl. Tweaks to the platform mean it’s also more refined than before , although it’s not as exciting to drive or look at as some of its newly-updated rivals. Despite this, we expect the Yaris Hybrid to establish its position in the supermini class quickly and become a popular choice with Irish buyers for the foreseeable.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Toyota Yaris Hybrid Sol
Prices from: €19,575
Price as tested: €21,600
Annual Road Tax: €170
Engine: 1497cc four-cylinder petrol / electric hybrid motor
Top Speed: 166km/h
0-100km/h: 11.8 seconds
Transmission: CVT Automatic Transmission
Body style: Hatchback
Boot Space: 286 litres