TOYOTA engineers have every right to feel rather pleased with themselves for being so far ahead of the game when it comes to hybrid technology and now the ever-popular Yaris has raised that bar even further.
That's because the all-new fourth generation model of this supermini is the first Toyota to be built on the company's new small car GA-B platform and it is powered by a dynamic new 1.5-litre petrol hybrid engine.
It has also been engineered to be the world's safest compact car with a raft of driver assists systems as standard across the line-up, so it would seem Toyota has plenty to shout about.
The new Yaris is available in Icon, Design, Dynamic and Excel trim levels with a high-specification Launch Edition model available for a limited time.
Our car, in Dynamic trim, was priced at £21,920 - metallic paint added £585 to the cost. The three-cylinder, 114bhp petrol hybrid powertrain is mated to an electric CVT transmission and the car can sprint from 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds, maxing out at 109mph. According to official figures under WLTP testing, the Yaris can deliver a combined 65.6mpg with carbon emissions of 98g/km.
The new five-door car looks much sharper and dynamic in its styling - it is slightly shorter and lower, but is wider and features a longer wheelbase which results in extra cabin space.
Eye-catching design cues include a larger grille housing the Toyota emblem, a longer bonnet, new light clusters with LED front and rear lights, a rear spoiler, privacy glass, 17-inch alloys along with A pillars that have been positioned further back to give the car a sportier appearance.
Move inside and the Yaris is minimalist and clutter-free in its layout but richly equipped with kit. It has an upmarket feel with soft-touch padding to the dashboard, felt inserts in the doors, a wider front console, lowered hood for the instrument binnacle and a smaller, sports steering wheel.
Creature comforts are plentiful too and include the Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system with an eight-inch touchscreen that sits atop the dashboard, smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an eight-speaker JBL sound system, DAB radio, dual zone air conditioning, Bluetooth and lots more besides.
The new dimensions of the car result in a lower centre of gravity which makes the Yaris much more planted out on the open road and even more fun to drive.
There are Eco or Power modes that alter the way in which the car reacts with the Power option proving beneficial when firing through the twisting country lanes.
Long gone are the days when a CVT transmission would scream in protest at the slightest threat of throttle pressure. The unit on the latest Yaris was really smooth and delivered improved acceleration at lower speeds compared to the outgoing model. This makes pulling away from roundabouts or from an idling position much easier.
It cruises effortlessly on motorways and is beautifully agile in busier town centres, with a good turning lock and excellent all-round visibility proving beneficial when weaving through the crowds.
The car features an improved suspension set-up to smooth out the road surface creases and the upgraded insulation system keeps engine, road surface and wind noise levels to a minimum.
In addition, the latest hybrid technology delivers better fuel economy, lower emissions and also allows the car to operate in pure electric power at higher speeds and over longer distances.
Comfort levels are excellent up front and there is room in the back for two or three passengers although leg space is limited, as is the norm in the supermini sector.
The boot has a capacity of 286 litres - a limit that increases to 947 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere there is a glovebox, door pockets, front cup holders, rear cup holders in the doors, a pocket in the back of the front passenger's seat and handy trays below the touchscreen and above the glovebox.
Safety is another strong area where the latest Yaris scores highly with the likes of a pre-collision system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, intersection turn assist, emergency steering assist, road sign recognition, automatic high beam, lane departure alert with steering control and lane trace assist, adaptive cruise control, rear-cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and lots more.
It is also the first Toyota to feature centre airbags that deploy in the event of a side impact to help prevent the driver and front seat passenger colliding with each other.