Toyota Yaris HSD

16 Dec, 2011 7:10pm Andrew English

We try the petrol-electric Yaris that promises to deliver 80mpg


The Yaris hybrid’s biggest problem is that there’s already an efficient 1.4-litre diesel – and Toyota reckons buyers will have to do 15,500 miles a year over three years for the hybrid to be cheaper to run. Most only do 10,000 miles annually, and even then, few hybrids match their lofty economy claims. Still, the car will be exempt from road tax and congestion charge, it drives well and it’ll cost £1,000 less than a Honda Jazz Hybrid.
Toyota’s most popular model in the world is going hybrid. The petrol-electric Yaris will go on sale in June and should cost about £15,000 – that’s £1,000 less than the Honda Jazz Hybrid. It’s set to account for 20 per cent of sales. We test drove a prototype in Japan to see what buyers can expect.

Some clever engineering has gone on under the skin. The 1.5-litre petrol-electric drivetrain from the Prius has been re-engineered and now weighs 20 per cent less. There is also no compromise on boot or interior space.

The Yaris hybrid is easy to drive, too. In ordinary traffic it creeps silently along using just battery power and has a total electric-only range of 1.2 miles. That helps slash CO2 emissions to 85g/km.

However, as it weighs about 20 per cent more than a standard petrol Yaris, the engine has to kick in fairly quickly to maintain the performance.

The car feels heavier, too, with slightly ponderous steering and handling, although it will still be agile enough for most owners.

Toyota engineers have tried hard to reduce noise by improving the CVT gearbox, which hangs on to revs. They have been only partly successful and there’s a knack to keeping the Yaris refined and quiet on the road.

There wasn’t much opportunity to make a judgement on ride quality, but we’d expect it to feel rather stiff on UK roads.

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Why the hell do they not go for a diesel/electric hybrid? A petrol odel just doesn't offer enough by way of economy. The 80mpg estimate sounds pretty high. I would suspect that the real world economy would be a lot lower than this, unless you do most of your driving in an urban environment.

Consider the economy offered by the new Kia Rio. Add an electric motor to that and you would have a 100+mpg car with a nice boost in acceleration.

If you truly had to stick with petrol, then why not look at something like the Fiat twin-air?

Seriously Toyota, this is a weak offering.

After the general disappointment of the new Yaris, I wondered why you can only specify a diesel engine in lowly TR trim - not SR and T-Spirit like you used to be able to with the old model. It's obviously to remove internal competition for the hybrid model.

I really can't see the point of spending almost 20 grand on a small hybrid car only to save a few quid a year in fuel and road tax (that's assuming the fuel economy claims are to be believed which isn't usually the case).

It would be interesting to test the hybrid Yaris and Jazz against the VW Up! trio or the new Fiat Panda to see if they really are twice as good as any of those true economy cars.

I thought that a couple of weeks back you test drove some already on sale Astra 1.7 Eco whatever that performed great and managed 76mpg. So what is this uninspiring little Toyota promising now?

Given hybrids will appeal to city dwellers, diesel with DPFs' problems are not a good idea - see "urbanproof" models requiring regular long runs to clear filters.

Given the larger Auris is rated at 89g/km and 74.3mpg, there appears to be a law of diminishing returns with hybrids, where you note the weight penalties cancel out fuel economy measures

this new HSD Yaris doesnt really make the underwhelming new Yaris any more interesting. What might help would be to introduce a replacement for the old T-Sport or 1800 SR?

The A2 now has 160,000 miles on the clock and still capable of over 103mpg on 28 mile cross country commute in rush hour.

81 to 86g/km CO2, zero Road tax. Come on Audi and VW lets have a 3L in the UK!

Yes driving a generator from a gas turbine and call it the HST?
hang on, as that been done before........

Key specs

* Price: £15,000 (est)
* Engine: 1.5-litre twin-motor hybrid 
* Total power: 99bhp
* 0-62mph: 12 seconds (est)
* Top speed: 110mph (est)
* Economy: 80mpg (est)
* CO2: 85g/km (est) 
* Equipment: Air-conditioning, electric mirrors and windows, Toyota Touch screen, unique trim and seat upholstery
* On sale: May