Toyota yaris hybrid on test: the real three-liter car

The Yaris Hybrid easily achieves a three before the decimal point. However, its self-assured price brings it competition in the form of highly subsidized electric cars.

The Yaris Hybrid is amazingly economical off the highway.

(Picture: Christoph M. Black)

  • Christoph M. Black

Three decimal points X: The ease with which the Toyota Yaris Hybrid achieves fuel consumption figures of less than four liters is astounding. This is true at least after the immediate cold start phase and on this side of the highway. So on federal highways and in the city.

The second-generation Yaris Hybrid usually – but not always – undercuts its predecessor’s low fuel consumption by a few tenths. In addition, Toyota has apparently listened to customer criticism: several significant weaknesses have been corrected. When it comes to the price, the Japanese group remains very self-confident.

The proportions have shifted slightly in favor of interior comfort: At 1.75 meters, the Yaris has become five centimeters wider, which means the decisive more for the elbows. Height and length are largely identical. Toyota doesn’t follow the trend here to fill the parking spaces further with each evolutionary stage.

Safety plus

The Yaris has become even safer. This is due to the LED headlights, for example. They form a sharp contrast to the inadequate halogen lights of the Yaris Hybrid (test) in its previous form. However, they are only available from the Club equipment line (from 22.990 Euro) included. In contrast, a comprehensive assistance and safety package is standard in all Yaris models – including the manual basic version with 53 kW (72 hp) engine output.

This includes, for example, adaptive cruise control and optional active center lane control. On the highway, the car cruises along like the big ones. Cruise control on, steering assist on, let it run. In addition, it is possible to adopt the limit identified via traffic sign recognition with a long pull on the steering wheel switch. It is questionable why the competition demands hefty surcharges for these functions, although radar and camera are available in all engine variants due to the mandatory emergency braking systems. So praise goes to Toyota, also for the automatic high beam, intersection assist and numerous airbags.

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid in test I (6 pictures)

Better safe than sorry, that was and is also true for the powertrain. Word has spread about the durability of Toyota hybrids. Little has changed in the basic design of the Yaris Hybrid, but a lot has changed in the details.

Even more efficient

The predecessor’s powertrain was essentially based on that of the Prius 2. Compared to the current stage of hybrid drive, which started in 2016 with the Prius 4 (test) and the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), the Yaris was simply outdated. The new Yaris Hybrid still has 1.5 liters of displacement, but the rest is heavily revised.

The fact that this displacement is now distributed over three instead of four cylinders leads to a changed and, compared to the competition, more noticeable sound image. The torque of the combustion engine increases slightly from 111 to 120 Nm and the power from 55 to 68 kW. Adding the power of the larger of the two electric motors of 59 kW as well as 141 Nm results in a system power of 85 kW (116 hp). As usual, the distribution and control of the three-cylinder as well as the two e-motors are carried out via a planetary gearbox, which Toyota calls e-CVT.

The gain in practical use has increased noticeably, which can only be imperfectly read from the pure acceleration rates (9.7 instead of 12 seconds to 100 km/h). Everything seems less strained, you rarely have to pummel the Yaris, and even on the highway ramp it’s over with the tortured high-revving sound of the four-cylinder engine. The thrust lasts for a long time, and the noise level from wind and chassis is lower than before. The Yaris is still not as quiet as a VW Polo.

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