Toyota Yaris Hybrid T Spirit review (2012 onwards) MSN Cars UK

2 Май 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Toyota Yaris Hybrid T Spirit review (2012 onwards) MSN Cars UK отключены
TOYOTA Yaris Hybrid

Toyota Yaris Hybrid T Spirit review (2012 onwards)

Model: Toyota Yaris Hybrid T Spirit, £16,995 (£18,295 as tested)

Transmission: E-CVT automatic, front-wheel drive

Performance: 11.8 secs 0-62mph, 103mph top speed

Efficiency: 76.3mpg, 85g/km CO2

What is it?

Toyota

Where does it fit?

Ok, so the MX-5 is missing the point. But the Polo Blue GT is an interesting comparison, because rather than chase the heavyweight lead Toyota has with heavyweight petrol-electric solutions, the VW employs an advanced 1.4-litre turbo petrol with Active Cylinder Technology (ACT).

This means it can shut down two cylinders to save fuel while cruising, yet still offers impressive performance on demand. If you do a lot of motorway miles ACT could prove a significant advantage, since the added heft of the hybrid system hinders rather than helps the Toyota at these speeds.

there’s still nothing to touch the Yaris Hybrid’s petrol efficiency figures

Where the Yaris makes more sense is around town, since here the Hybrid can zip along on electricity alone – meaning zero emissions – for surprisingly large amounts of the time. This makes a big difference to real-world city centre fuel economy, and sees it achieve a stunning 85g/km CO2 rating.

Is it for you?

Such low CO2 means it’s not only road tax exempt now but has plenty of headroom should the government lower the 100g/km threshold at some point in the future. So in terms of minimising running costs, the Yaris Hybrid certainly looks strong – especially considering Toyota’s legendary reputation for reliability.

Besides the Jazz and the Polo, most alternative eco-centric choices at around the same price point are diesels – including the MINI Cooper D, Ford Fiesta Econetic and Kia Rio. But you might also consider the brand new 0.9-litre TCe turbo petrol Renault Clio, and the forthcoming 1.0-litre Ecoboost Fiesta.

Assuming you don’t want dirty old diesel, there’s still nothing to touch the Yaris Hybrid’s petrol efficiency figures, at least on paper. But there is that slightly geriatric image problem to contend with. Something those awful cartoon rapper and puppet MC television adverts haven’t really done much about…

Toyota

What does it do well?

Put the image issue to one side if you can, and just gaze at the car for a moment. The Yaris is quite the sharp looking little character in its latest third generation guise, and the Hybrid’s unique blue accents and silver-backed projector headlamps set this off rather nicely. A good start.

Climb aboard, and assuming there’s juice in the battery pack and you aren’t wearing concrete boots, your initial manoeuvres will inevitably take place under electric power. With a sparkly blue gearknob and “ice grey” dash fascia – both improvements over the standard items – it immediately feels futuristic.

As with most hybrids, that gearknob controls a straightforward Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT in this case, with the E standing for Electric). No proper gears to worry about means you simply plonk it into drive, put your foot down, and go.

The resulting hum is a soothing sort of noise that’s somewhere between a golf cart and those self-satisfied doors in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (just us?), but more importantly, it’s immediately endearing.

it has an easy charm that makes for a stress-free driving experience

Perky – or better yet, plucky – is the word that springs to mind, and the Yaris Hybrid carries right on in this fashion. Even when the petrol engine kicks in refinement is especially impressive; in urban situations you can also go quite some way before this happens.

What doesn’t it do well?

So if you’re just going to potter about gently, and maybe throw in the occasional motorway journey, the Yaris Hybrid has an easy charm that makes for a stress-free driving experience. Venture beyond this comfort zone, however, and it quickly begins to get out of its depth.

The gearbox and the powertrain just don’t cope with fast B-road driving very well – and if you work it too hard, the way the E-CVT adjusts to keep the engine revving for maximum power means the Yaris will soon start to sound like you’re hurting it.


And though all the vital parts required by the hybrid system have been shrunk down compared to its Auris and Prius big brothers – total system weight including the smaller 1.5-litre petrol engine is about 20% less – it’s still like carrying an extra … passenger around compared to a regular Yaris.

Even with Toyota’s best efforts at optimising the balance and packaging, the Hybrid is always going to feel more sluggish in the turns as a result. The T Spirit’s 16-inch alloys aren’t brilliant for the ride comfort, either. But keep within its limits and it does just fine.

Toyota

What is it like to live with?

TOYOTA Yaris Hybrid

With the electric noises, the simplicity of the automatic transmission and its general fuss-free approach to motoring life, it’s tempting to describe the Yaris Hybrid as the automotive equivalent of a high-quality domestic appliance. But carmakers don’t tend to like that kind of thing – even when it’s well-meaning.

So let’s call it an urban transportation module instead. As an urban transportation module, the Hybrid functions every bit as well as the regular Yaris. Which is to say it’s well built if not exceptional, and all the extra techy bits are hidden away, meaning passenger space and luggage room are unaltered.

The Yaris is a reasonably spacious car for its class, so your full-grown mates will fit into the back with few complaints (at least over short distances) and the 286-litre boot expands to 710 litres with the rear seats folded down. Plenty of capacity for the weekly family shop, but a squeeze for a 2.4 children weekend away.

The T-Spirit includes leather upholstery as standard. The optional touchscreen sat-nav is often clever, but occasionally puzzling. In an effort to reel in the yoof, there are various apps available regardless – including live search functions, a parking space finder and a fuel price checker.

How green is it?

Officially, the T Spirit specification Yaris Hybrid returns 76.3mpg combined while emitting 85g/km CO2 – this sounds amazing but is actually quite a downer compared to the 80.7mpg and 79g/km claim of the smaller-wheeled T3 and T4 models. The price you pay for leather-trimmed luxury…

You’re unlikely to achieve these claims in reality – but the fuel economy may not be as far off as you think, since this Hybrid is especially keen to function in electric-only mode. Toyota reckons a third of typical urban journeys can be covered this way in fact, a statistic our experience seemed to match.

It is expensive compared to a less technologically sophisticated supermini

While it activates the electricity impressively enough on its own, you can prompt the kilowatts yourself by pressing the EV button. It’s also capable of higher electric speeds than we’ve noticed in a Toyota of this type before. It tries hard, that’s for sure.

Bless it.

Would we buy it?

If you’re looking for a compact runabout that wears its environmental savvy with pride then the Toyota Yaris Hybrid ticks almost all of the right boxes. It is expensive compared to a less technologically sophisticated supermini, but that technology now more than ever seems to justify the extra cash.

What it isn’t – nor is it trying to be – is all things to all people. Some of the interior finishing is naff, it’s not much fun to drive once the novelty wears off and if you do lots of longer journeys you may never see the hybrid benefits.

But if you accept all that and still think a small petrol-electric will suit your lifestyle, then choose one of these. We doubt you’ll have many complaints.

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