Toyota Yaris Hybrid Toyota's new supermini hybrid fails to convince
At 70km/h then engine is making a bit of a racket, particularly noticeable since I’d spent so much time in the car with only the sound of rubber tyre on tarmac to disturb the piece. But it’s the CVT that annoys the most, never seeming to be in tune with your needs. Either it’s not getting the most out of the engine on overtaking or it’s revving too high when cruising.
Take it out at motorway speeds and the problems magnify. Officially the Yaris hybrid can achieve a top speed of 165km/h but I had to work the car pretty hard to get to the 120km/h limit and hold it there. When you get there, the benefits in terms of fuel economy seem to evaporate, with averages on the motorway closer to 6.5 L/100km (43.5mpg).
While I never had the time to test whether you could actually get 1,000km from a tank, I think it’s possible for some buyers who don’t leave town, but I doubt it could be achieved on a longer commute.
The ride quality and handling are decent and the car is comfortable even on rougher Irish roads. Yet the benefits are so dependent on urban motoring that you have to consider if most buyers would be better off in a Yaris diesel. The 1.4-litre D-4D version manages 104g/km compared to 79g/km for the most efficient hybrid version. That means only an extra €20 a year in motor tax for a more versatile – and powerful – Yaris. The diesel also claims a fuel economy figure of 3.9 L/100km (72.4mpg), compared to the 3.5-litre (80.7mpg) of the hybrid. If you need your Yaris for national roads then the diesel version is the better buy.
Priced at €18,950 for the regular version (€1,000 more for the Luxury specification that adds cruise control and alloys) it’s at the upper end of the supermini price bracket and several hundred euros more than the Yaris diesel. To recoup the extra spend you would have to spend a good deal of time in town driving in electric mode.
The Yaris Hybrid will however suit those who potter around town. I could see how as a second car the Yaris Hybrid could work, being roomy enough for school runs etc. But I couldn’t live with its lacklustre performance on the open road and for most rural motorists the diesel still seems a better buy.
ENGINE:1,497cc 16-valve DOHC petrol engine, putting out 74bhp @ 4,800rpm and 111Nm of torque, combined with a 45Kw electric motor with 169Nm of torque
Official L/100km (mpg):3.5 (80.7)
EMISSIONS:(motor tax): 79 g/km (€170) (Luxury version 85g/km with tax of €180)
FEATURES:Main features include: vehicle stability control; traction control; hill assist control; double front, side curtain airbags and a driver’s knee air bag; emergency brake assist; LED rear combination lights and front daytime running lights; 15-wheels; dual climate control aircon; Hybrid system monitor on the Toyota Touch system
PRICE:€18,950 (€19,950 for luxury version)