Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Design

Toyota Yaris, front static
Toyota Yaris, front action
Toyota Yaris, front action 2
Toyota Yaris, side action
Toyota Yaris, rear action
Toyota Yaris, front seats
Toyota Yaris, dashboard
Toyota Yaris, rear static
Toyota Yaris, boot

EVEN more astonishing than its fuel economy was the way a first sighting of the new Yaris prompted two teenage pupils walking between their public school lessons in town to stop in their tracks for a longer view.

Now, that's never been a likely scenario for the previous three generations of Toyota's little hatchback. Their grannies might have noticed, but this sensible runaround would have been invisible to our younger duo.

My guess is they mistook this modest version of the newcomer for its GR badged stablemate, packed with power and winning the sort of plaudits that attach to a vanishingly small number of new cars in the automotive firmament.

And a quick glance does show an easy relationship between the two cars, with this cooking version all bulges and dramatic creases that render it an arresting sight parked at the kerbside. Toyota has obviously decided to end it's little 'un's anonymity.

A touch shorter, wider and lower than before, and packed with safety equipment, this latest Yaris provides plenty of room for a couple of adults up front, rather less space in the rear seats and a boot that's plenty big enough for day-to-day life.

So, a typically sensible small Toyota, you might say. And one, that the statistics have told us forever, that will keep on providing reliable family motoring for many years ahead.

It won't cost even a small fortune to keep it that way either. Thanks to a more powerful battery (hidden under the rear seats) this hybrid Toyota can go further on electric power alone, up to 80mph in the right circumstances before the petrol engine chimes in to help.

Around town the little green 'running on electricity' symbol will be lit up on the dash more often than not. The result, in several hundred miles of mixed motoring, was a seeming inability for this Yaris to do less that 60mpg. Most days it was better than 70mpg, with a fuel gauge that seemed stuck on full...

You'll be enjoying this wallet-saving economy in a cabin that's mostly black and plain, with the odd touch - softly topped dash and soft felt inserts in the door panels - for a visual lift. A couple of annoying buzzes from both front doors were untypically Toyota.

There's perfectly decent performance available at the push of a right foot and a welcome lack of the high speed drone that once went with a CVT automatic transmission being asked to get a move on.

FAST FACTS

Toyota Yaris Hybrid Design

Price: £20,970

Mechanical: 114bhp, 1,490cc, 3-cyl petrol engine and electric motor, driving front wheels via CVT automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 109mph

0-62mph: 9.7secs

Combined MPG: 68.8

Insurance Group: 14

C02 emissions: 92g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles

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