- Smaller, more efficient motor than the liftback Prius
- Clever battery packaging for cargo space equal to the conventional Yaris
- 67-mpg estimated fuel economy
For over a decade now, Toyota has remained a hybrid leader, with dedicated gas-electric models like the Prius and hybrid versions of other models like the Camry and Highlander. While continuing to expand the Prius lineup to include a wagon, a compact city car and a plug-in version, Toyota is also bringing hybrid technology to another typically gas-powered model, the subcompact Yaris.
Debuting at the Geneva Auto Show, the Yaris Hybrid uses the same drivetrain as the little Prius c to achieve high fuel economy and a limited, no-emissions electric-only range. A compact motor, transaxle, battery pack and inverter mean the Yaris Hybrid delivers interior space identical to the conventionally powered Yaris.
As with all Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive arrangements, a gasoline motor and electric motor work together for maximum output, or the electric motor alone can propel the vehicle until the batteries deplete. Electric-only range is about 3.5 miles according to one test by Toyota. Overall, fuel economy is expected to be equivalent to about 67 mpg.
The gas motor is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder that, combined with the electric motor, delivers 100 horsepower. Both the battery and fuel tank are located under the rear seat so neither passenger space nor cargo space is compromised.
Toyota says comfort should not be compromised in a high-efficiency vehicle, either. To that end, an automatic transmission and air conditioning are standard. Still, the base price will be about equivalent to about $23,750 in the UK, making the Yaris Hybrid the least expensive hybrid car in Europe.
Toyota hopes this greater accessibility will mean more people have will have the choice to drive an efficient and low-emissions hybrid vehicle. The Yaris Hybrid will be available soon after the Geneva show.
What it means to you: The Yaris Hybrid gives up no passenger or cargo space for the necessary equipment to achieve better economy and lower emissions than the conventionally powered Yaris.