Toyota Yaris Hybrid hatchback (2011-2020) - Interior & comfort
Facelifted Yaris Hybrid has improved trim quality
The Toyota Yaris has an attractive, well equipped interior and the hybrid engine means that urban travel is rather peaceful. In stop-start driving, it could be that the only engine noise you’ll hear will come from neighbouring vehicles.
Accelerate hard, though, and the peace is shattered by a hard-working engine controlled by a lag-prone CVT gearbox; this can make the Yaris Hybrid tiring to travel in for long distances. Unfortunately, the mechanical noise is joined by more wind noise than you’ll experience in some rivals, and the Yaris – hybrid or petrol – lags some way behind the Volkswagen Polo for overall comfort.
Toyota Yaris Hybrid dashboard
Aside from an economy gauge in place of the rev counter, there’s not much to distinguish the Yaris Hybrid from the normal version. The dashboard looks distinctive thanks to contrasting coloured plastics and all Hybrid models beyond entry-level Active trim have a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
A facelift in 2016 brought a big improvement in interior build quality, but the Yaris still feels rather dated inside compared to newer rivals. Also, although the plastics used are sturdy and built to last, they don’t feel as pleasant to touch as those found in European rivals like the Volkswagen Polo, Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 208. This criticism is brought into focus when you consider the Hybrid version’s elevated price tag.
The best news is that every Yaris comes with the Toyota Safety Sense package, which includes autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning and auto-dipping headlights. Hybrid models all have a few extra features compared to their petrol stablemates, with even the entry-level Active enjoying dual-zone climate control and powerful projector headlamps. It lacks the cruise control and road-sign recognition of the Icon, though, and that spec also adds 15-inch alloy wheels and a seven-inch ‘Touch 2’ touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio. Moving up to Icon Tech adds sat nav and DAB radio to the infotainment system.
Design models forgo sat nav but add racy body styling, special 16-inch alloy wheels and darkened privacy glass. There’s also a Bi-Tone version that adds upper bodywork in a contrasting colour. The top-of-the-range Excel model adds 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and brake lights, rain-sensing wipers, part-leather seats, electric rear windows, dual-zone climate control and cruise control. Strangely, though, sat nav remains an optional extra.
The Yaris can be specified with a variety of equipment packages including the Smart Pack, which adds keyless entry and automatically folding mirrors. You can add a large panoramic roof to Icon models and above for an additional £550. The infotainment system can be upgraded to include sat nav on any model from Design upwards, and models with 16-inch wheels can be optionally downgraded to 15-inch to take advantage of the better fuel-economy and lower emissions offered by the smaller wheels.