Toyota Yaris Hybrid review

The 2020 Yaris Hybrid is a major step forward from its predecessor and should be more of a worry for its rivals

Toyota Yaris Hybrid
£19,910 - £24,005
Hybrid

Pros

  • Handles very well
  • Great potential fuel economy
  • Improved interior and infotainment

Cons

  • Uninvolving to drive
  • Firm ride on rough roads
  • Rear seats tight for adults
Car type Fuel economy CO2 emissions 0-62mph
Hybrid 66-69mpg 92-98g/km 9.2 seconds

A Toyota Yaris Hybrid has been available since 2012, but for this latest fourth-generation model arriving in the second half of 2020, Toyota expects the electrified version to make up a greater proportion of sales than before.

The larger Toyota Corolla, Camry, C-HR and RAV4 models all use hybrid power exclusively, building on the hybrid expertise it has built up over four generations of the Prius, but in the Yaris' price-sensitive small-car market, it'll continue to offer a manual-gearbox 1.5-litre petrol version as well as this hybrid for the moment.

Key rivals for this Yaris Hybrid include the Renault Clio E-TECH and Honda Jazz (which boast similar hybrid drivetrains) as well as efficient petrol versions of its traditional sparring partners the Ford Fiesta, Opel Corsa, Peugeot 208 and Volkswagen Polo. In terms of dimensions, the new Yaris bucks industry trends by being slightly smaller than the old one: it's 3,940mm long, but has a 50mm longer wheelbase for greater interior space.

Under the metal, its hybrid powertrain is a big improvement on that of the outgoing model, with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine working in tandem with an electric motor. And where the old Yaris had a nickel-hydride battery, the new one's is lithium-ion – the same technology used in pure-electric cars.

The Yaris feels most at home in the city, with direct steering and a drivetrain that's more than willing to operate under electric power for much of the time when in 'Eco' mode. It's great to drive on the open road, too, with a crisp, responsive feel through corners, but motorways can make the powertrain feel a little strained.  

Elsewhere, the car's interior is well made and functional, but stops short of being exciting. Infotainment is better than before, but still not class-leading, although proper smartphone integration is very welcome indeed.

Overall, this feels like the most relevant and impressive Toyota supermini we've seen for many years. Unlike some of its rivals, it's not concerned with eye-catching interior technology or particularly swish exterior design. Rather it looks at getting the basics that buyers want right, foremost among them being low running costs and hassle-free ownership.

For a more detailed look at the Toyota Yaris Hybrid, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.