In-depth reviews

Toyota Yaris Hybrid engines, drive & performance

While a Ford Fiesta is more fun, the Toyota Yaris feels far better to drive than the car it replaced

Toyota Yaris Hybrid
Rating
Engines, drive & performance Rating
0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
9.2s109mphFront114bhp

Figures aside, what's the Yaris Hybrid like to drive? The answer is 'pretty good' – which isn't entirely surprising when you learn it sits on a scaled-down version of the impressive Toyota Corolla's mechanical underpinnings. Body lean in corners is well contained, so you don't feel your head rolling around on twisty roads, but at the same time the suspension is nicely comfortable on rougher surfaces.

If you accelerate hard, you do experience the noisy rise in engine revs that characterises Toyota and Lexus hybrids (and anything else with a CVT automatic gearbox), so it's best to take some time to get used to the system and employ more gradual increases in speed for a more relaxing driving experience. 

The only place it comes apart a bit is when you're trying to keep up rhythm and momentum on winding country road, where you're likely to miss the extra level of involvement and control a traditional petrol engine and manual gearbox brings. Still, it generally feels crisp and precise – and much better to drive than the car it replaces. 

Toyota Yaris Hybrid 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

In total, the Yaris's hybrid system makes 114bhp and can get the car from 0-62mph in a reasonable 10.3 seconds. That compares to 138bhp and 8.3 seconds for the Renault Clio E-TECH, although most hybrid supermini buyers will be more concerned with efficiency figures, and the early estimates from Toyota look good: 86g/km CO2 emissions and 105mpg fuel-economy – the latter sounding more like the figure for a plug-in hybrid model.

Handling

There's not a lot of feel through the Yaris' steering wheel, but it responds very quickly to a turn and feels ideally suited to negotiating busy urban traffic, tight side streets and multi-storey car parks, with a very small turning circle. Greater battery power means the petrol engine cuts in much less frequently than it did in the previous hybrid Yaris, making for a smoother drive at lower speeds.

Overall, the latest Yaris is much better to drive in almost every situation than the previous-generation model, getting closer to its key rivals than ever before.

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