To drive the hybrid version of the Yaris is almost identical to driving the equivalent standard car. It doesn’t feel any heavier and the handling characteristics are almost identical. If anything, it’s slightly better because of its lower centre of gravity due to the weight of the batteries and where they are positioned.
The interior is very similar to the standard Yaris; it looks modern and has a quality look and feel to it. All the controls, levers and switches are in the right place and easy to use, but with one exception: the lever for the automatic gearbox. It works fine and does exactly what it’s supposed to, but it does look too long, out of place and a bit of an afterthought. Something a bit shorter or with a nice gaiter around it would have been an improvement.
A moderately low list price makes this a good choice in the B sector hatchback market.
The Hybrid’s exterior does have some nice subtle differences when you compare it to the standard car, with LED lights and a slightly different front end which makes it stand out in a crowd and look pretty special.
The Yaris Hybrid is powered by a 1.5 litre petrol engine which is coupled to an electric motor, producing a combined power output of 101ps. It’s only available as an automatic, but this is perfectly acceptable on a small town car. There’s a button to the left of the driver’s seat that you can press and it will hold in EV mode. EV mode (Electric Vehicle mode) will run the car solely on electric power, so it’s almost completely silent when moving. The batteries are charged up by the petrol engine and by regeneration. It’s possible to drive the car on EV mode for a few miles before its petrol engine has to take over. The car’s official combined figure of 80.7 MPG seems a bit, well, optimistic to be honest; the average fuel consumption we managed while we had the car was 50.2 MPG, but this did include some motorway distance journeys, so not wholly representative of how and where this car is usually used. It has a very low CO2 emissions figure of 79g/km.
The car isn’t slow off the mark; it manages 0-62mph in 11 seconds and has a top speed of 103mph. On the motorway it easily maintained 70mph on even the steepest inclines, but when you press the accelerator the engine revs go up and you feel the gearbox trying to catch up. It does have a tendency to whine a bit and it sounds as though it’s slipping, but that’s just a CVT gearbox working hard and is normal.
The level of standard specification on the T4 trim is very high, and at £15,895 it does look like good value for money – especially for a company car driver where the CO2 is so important for Benefit in Kind. A moderately low list price makes this a good choice in the B sector hatchback market.
The Yaris has been a much forgotten about car in the past, and was rarely considered by either a new or a used car buyer, but with the Hybrid comes a bold new design, and this should change buyers’ minds. With the arrival of the Hybrid, they will probably consider a Toyota for the first time.
The price of the Yaris T4 Hybrid is £15,895 on the road.