Toyota Yaris Hybrid review
"The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is the ideal supermini for navigating towns and suburbs"
- Very economical
- Stylish design
- Well equipped
- Dull interior
- Can get expensive
- Mediocre boot space
Verdict - Is the Toyota Yaris a good car?
Toyota has focused on hybrid technology for its latest Yaris supermini, making it one of the most affordable cars to run in its class in the process. Not only that, but the Yaris looks better than before, and it’s good to drive. Traditional Toyota values like reliability shouldn’t be an issue, and it’s backed up by a long warranty. There are few negatives, but an uninspiring interior design and CVT automatic transmission won’t be for everyone.
Toyota Yaris models, specs and alternatives
The latest Toyota Yaris is now hybrid only, and while it may have seemed like a niche proposition before, the Yaris Hybrid should be on the shortlist of any savvy supermini buyer. It’s well-equipped, better looking than previous versions of the Yaris, and more importantly, it’s affordable to run and cheaper to buy than most all-electric superminis currently on the market. If you require a bit more space, there’s also a taller and boxier version called the Toyota Yaris Cross.
The Toyota Yaris Hybrid takes on a few rivals including the Honda Jazz Hybrid and Renault Clio E-Tense – cars that can also run on electric power for a respectable amount of time around town. Like the Jazz and the Clio E-Tense, the Yaris never needs to be plugged in – instead, the small battery pack charges each time you slow down through regenerative braking, and occasionally by the petrol motor acting as a generator. As the car only runs on electricity for some of the time, it allows for the battery pack to be much smaller, lighter and cheaper than that of a small electric car like the Peugeot e-208.
On the road, the Yaris Hybrid performs beautifully in towns and cities. Its CVT automatic gearbox and electric motor are smooth and quiet much of the time, before the 1.5-litre petrol engine kicks in. In normal town and city driving conditions drivers can expect up to 68.8mpg, but take the Yaris Hybrid onto the motorway where the petrol engine has to do more of the work and fuel economy will suffer.
You wouldn’t expect a car of its type to be the most fun to drive, but the Yaris Hybrid’s chassis is fairly accomplished. That means it’s quite agile, particularly when the Yaris is specced with 17-inch alloy wheels, although the automatic gearbox (the only option on the Yaris) isn’t as engaging as a manual would be on a back road.
For out-and-out performance and driving engagement there’s the GR Yaris hot hatch, but in all honestly it has very little in common with the standard Yaris at all. It’s the only ‘Yaris’ now available with a manual gearbox, and comes with a very powerful 1.6-litre petrol engine, and we’ve reviewed it separately.
In typical Toyota fashion, the Yaris Hybrid's interior feels well made and boasts an improved infotainment setup featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but it isn't as stylish as the Clio or Jazz. There are too many black plastics, which is a shame given that the exterior now looks more desirable.
If you have an eye on running costs and the environment but aren't sure about fully electric cars like the Renault ZOE just yet, the Yaris Hybrid could be the ideal choice. It's affordable, good to look at and ideally suited to the driving most superminis are used for. It can also have an unrivalled 10-year warranty, so long as you don't mind sticking to Toyota servicing.
New 2024 Toyota Yaris Hybrid gains power and upgraded interior technology
A choice of power options, larger digital screens and myriad safety features for facelifted Yaris Hybrid
The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is getting a facelift that’s available to order from autumn 2023, with the first customer cars set to arrive from early 2024. Changes include a more powerful engine option, some of the largest interior screens in the supermini class, and new styling and safety features. While no pricing has been confirmed, a small increase on the outgoing car would equate to a starting figure of around £23,000.
While the Yaris Hybrid powertrain has only been offered with 114bhp thus far, Toyota will also offer the updated model in Yaris Hybrid 130 guise. This uses Toyota’s latest fifth-generation electric motor, boosting the combined output of the 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor to 129bhp. CO2 emissions remain a respectable 96g/km, despite a reduced 0-62mph time of 9.2 seconds.
Exterior changes are slight, but there are new five-spoke alloy wheels and a distinctive Juniper Blue paint colour. At launch, a Premiere Edition “halo model” will also be available, with Neptune Blue, Platinum Pearl White or Silver Metallic bi-tone colours contrasting with a black roof and door pillars. This version is also fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels, and the blue theme continues inside, with blue stitching and “deco lines” for the instrument and door panels.
Top trim levels will get a 12.3-inch digital instrument display (seven inches as standard), along with a 10.5-inch infotainment touchscreen (nine inches on lower trims). The former boasts sharper graphics and four different themes to suit “the driver’s mood and the type of journey”. These are called Smart, Casual, Sporty and Tough. Voice control has been upgraded to recognise commands such as “Hey Toyota, I’m cold”, which turns up the cabin temperature without needing to fiddle with any buttons. Toyota says over-the-air updates will also be possible.
The Premiere Edition trim will be the first Toyota you can unlock and start using a digital key in the MyT smartphone app, giving up to five users access to the vehicle. Remote features have also been enhanced for the top trim, including locking and unlocking, adjusting its climate control and flashing the hazard warning lights.
Safety enhancements round out the suite of upgrades, with a host of driver aids designed to make the Yaris the “safest small car in the world.” It can now detect motorcyclists as well as pedestrians and other vehicles, help avoid unintended acceleration, and bring the car to a halt if the driver is unresponsive. Safe Exit Assist provides warnings if a door is about to be opened into the path of another road user, and alarms will also sound if a child or pet has been left in the back seat.