Toyota has dropped some big hints about what to expect from next year's Yaris Hybrid.
The firm is tight-lipped about the exact details, including CO2 and fuel consumption figures. However, company insiders have indicated that the petrol-electric Yaris will be cleaner and more efficient than the current benchmark model for cars with an internal combustion engine, the Kia Rio 1.1 diesel.
The Kia emits just 85g/km of CO2 and does an average of 88.3mpg. If the Yaris beats those figures, it'll be big news for Toyota.
The Yaris Hybrid will be powered by an adaptation of the same Hybrid Synergy Drive system already used in the company's Prius and the Auris HSD, using a version of the same Atkinson Cycle petrol engine. However, the current engine's capacity will be cut from 1.8-litres to 1.5-litres for the Yaris, and power output will also be reduced. The firm remains guarded over what the final power output will be.
Toyota has also indicated that the Hybrid drivetrain will have minimal impact on the Yaris's generous cabin space. The nickel-metal hydride battery packs are located underneath the rear seats, and, as a result, the rear seat squab will be slightly shorter and rear headroom a fraction tighter. The Yaris's impressive rear legroom and 286-litre boot will not be affected.
How much will the Yaris Hybrid cost?
The Yaris 1.33, which is expected to be the best sellar, costs between 12,760 and 14,385 depending on trim and bodystyle. What Car? has been told that you can expect to pay around 2500 more for the Hybrid version.
The car is due to go on sale in June next year, in the middle of a busy 2012 for Toyota. The year will kick off with an extensive face-lift for the Avensis, which will include revised looks inside and out, revised steering, and improvements in engine efficiency.
The face-lifted Prius, with minor cosmetic revisions, will follow soon after, shortly before the revised Aygo city car breaks cover. The mid-year launch of the Yaris Hybrid will coincide with launches of two more new hybrids: the Prius Plug-in (which lets you run for longer electric power alone) and the Prius Plus (a seven-seat version of the standard car).
Toyota's new sports car, based on the FT-86 concept car, will be launched mid-way through the year. The production version will be revealed at the Tokyo motor show in December, and so will its name. The car is being developed with Subaru and it announced that its version will be called the BRZ.
There's plenty going on with the Lexus side of the business in 2012, too, with a new GS450h executive hybrid car, a refreshed RX400h and an FSport version of the CT220h.