New Toyota Yaris Hybrid roadtest report and review: DAVID HOOPER gets to grips with Toyota’s lively little Yaris Hybrid on Lincolnshire’s slippery and muddy roads.
Roadtest proves new Toyota Yaris to be an Excel-lent travelling companion
THE Toyota Yaris has been around for as long as many of us will care to remember, offering buyers a worthy but arguably unexciting runabout, but this latest full hybrid incarnation genuinely impressed me.
Not only does it look great, it is also surprisingly endearing to drive, with its lively performance and solid handling characteristics. There’s no doubt it put a smile on my face, but maybe that was because I’d been couped up in the house for too long thanks to the latest national lockdown!
The price tag, however, would have wiped said smile off my face again, no matter how good the car is, £22,220 for a Toyota Yaris does seem a bit steep, but then it was packed with tech that is normally found in much larger cars, and featured radar cruise control, lane departure alert, lane trace assist, road sign assist, automatic high beam, active steering, a rear parking camera and more. Although the Panoramic Sunroof was a £495 option, it was worth every penny in my book, especially as the darker winter days closed in.
Other options on our test car were metallic paint at £585 and the Tech Pack at £825, which all complement standard features such as the Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system with its 8in screen perched top and centre on the dashboard, and the 8-speaker JBL audio system did sound sublimely good!
For many, the drive-train will be of as much if not interest than the technology, with this Toyota Yaris featuring the well proven full hybrid system, so you don’t have to worry about plugging the car in and there’s no more range anxiety than there would be with an ordinary petrol engine, but you do get the benefits of some electric battery usage in slow moving traffic, or to contribute to the car’s overall performace. An excellent active graphic will show you what the car is doing at any one time, whether you’re moving on battery power alone, a combination of battery and engine, or whether the battery is being charged, either by the engine, or by the car gathering energy on the over-run, or from braking.
It’s all clever stuff, and although I’m now very familiar with these systems, it’s still fascinating to watch as you drive along. The driver can select an EV mode, which will lock the car into its battery mode, but only until it becomes too depleted, which doesn’t take long, at which point the engine will automatically cut back in. For most owners though, all they will ever do is drive the car in a normal manner.
It’s good to drive too. Power comes from a perky three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine, coupled up to the hybrid system of course, which together give the Yaris a top speed of 109mph and a reasonable 0-62mph time of 9.7 seconds, but those figures are only part of the story. How the car feels on the road is what matters, and this little Yaris is a delight to drive – I really enjoyed it. It’s feels livelier than its on-paper figures would suggest, and allied to competent and assured handling, it proved itself to be a very competent and entertaining little car to drive on Lincolnshires mud-covered and slippery backroads which are fairly common at this time of year.
Economy wise, it returned 50.5mpg over a test distance of around 300 miles, which included all types of driving roads and most conditions… it didn’t snow but I got quite a bit of everything else!
So if you want lots of tech and luxury features packed into a compact, but stylish package, this little Toyota Yaris could be the car for you!
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Toyota Yaris Hybrid Excel grade.
ENGINE: 1,490cc, 114bhp three-cylinder petrol engine, driving front wheels through an electric CVT automatic transmission.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 109mph. 0-62mph in 9.7 secs.
ECONOMY: Combined (WLTP): 65.6mpg.
Wheel World test average: 50.5mpg
CO2 EMISSIONS: 98g/km.
FUEL TANK: 36 litres.
VED cost (first year): £125.
WARRANTY: 5 years/100,000 miles
• All data correct at time of publication.