The big draw card here is fuel economy, with Toyota claiming a combined consumption of 3.8 litres per 100km but with both versions selling for around R40 000 more than the equivalent petrol models (which claim 5.6 l/100), you’re not going to be saving any money at the pumps. The hybrid advantage does widen in town driving, however, with a claimed urban consumption of 3.1 l/100km.
But just like buying expensive solar panels to power your house, you’ll be buying the Yaris hybrid because you want to lower your carbon footprint rather than save any money in the short or medium term – and with an emissions rating of just 88g/km this new Yaris is the lowest-emitting car on sale in South Africa.
At its heart is a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain similar to that in the Prius, but downsized. Here a 1.5-litre Atkinson Cycle petrol engine (which makes 55kW and 111Nm) is mated to a 45kW/169Nm electric motor – together the two motors enable a total system output of 74kW. Toyota says this is enough to get the Yaris Hybrid from 0-100km/h in 11.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 165km/h.
Hybrid system has a combined output of 74kW.
The electric motor is fed by a battery that, like the fuel tank, is installed under the rear seats so as not to intrude on boot space – which remains at 286 litres.
Both the XS and XT versions send their power to the front wheels via a CVT constantly variable automatic transmission and some aerodynamically-beneficial styling changes that distinguish them from thirstier Yari.
As far as spec levels go, the base XS has four airbags (front and side), ABS, Vehicle Stability Control, a six-speaker touchscreen audio system with Bluetooth and hybrid-specific ‘eco’ functions, multi-function steering wheel and remote central locking.
Splash out on the XR and your sound system is upgraded to eight speakers and you also receive cruise control, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, partial leather seat trim, push-button engine starting function, electric rear windows and an illuminated glovebox with cooling function. You might also feel your life is worth a little more when you’re in an XR as this one adds curtain airbags and one for the driver’s knee.
Our ‘eco warrior’ is currently attending the Hybrid’s local launch, so watch this space for some driving impressions.