The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is not just the pick of the entire Yaris range; it’s also one of the most convincing hybrids on the market.
In fact, the Yaris’s big achievement is that it delivers hybrid technology into such a small vehicle – and at a reasonable price. It’s not exactly cheap but at less than £15,000, it undercuts the petrol-electric version of the Honda Jazz by more than £1000.
The figures stack up well, too. The Yaris’s Prius-based technology mixes a 1.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor. With just 72bhp and 82lb ft on tap it’s not about to rip up the asphalt, but it’ll reach 62mph in 11.8 seconds. Better still, it delivers average economy of 80.7mpg and just 79g/km of CO2, so it’s exempt from road tax and the London Congestion Charge. With no diesel engine penalty, it also falls into the 10% band for company car tax.
On the road the set-up is tailored towards ease of use, with an automatic gearbox, extremely light steering (handy for busy city streets) and good visibility, thanks to a large glass area and slightly elevated seating.
The Yaris isn’t perfect; its cabin is pretty cheerless and while it’s tightly screwed together, the materials used look decidedly cheap for a £15k motor car. The CVT transmission doesn’t like to be rushed, either; try to push on and you’ll send the engine revs rocketing skywards, without a great deal of gain in speed.
However, plenty of people want automatic transmissions without a major environmental penalty, and Toyota’s baby hybrid does a commendable job of delivering those qualities.