HYBRID cars are perceived by many to be rather high on pricing as well as having impressive fuel consumptions and low emissions. But from now on that is not so for I have just been driving Britain’s lowest priced hybrid car which costs less than rival eco superminis such as the Ford Fiesta, writes Bryan Longworth.
For the Yaris hybrid that has a combined fuel consumption of around 80mpg and is exempt from car tax starts at £14,995 which is a very impressive price for a five door supermini with a roomy interior that certainly raises the bar in this sector.
My test car was the top model the Yaris Hybrid T Spirit 1.5 CVT five door costing £16,995 on the road and its statistics are a top speed of 103mph, zero to 62mph in 11.8 seconds, combined fuel consumption of 76.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 85g/km.
It was powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor with a combined power output of 98bhp and there was CVT automatic transmission which provided smooth changes although at high speeds the engine seemed to be spinning at quite high revs.
The power unit can be driven in three modes but the car is only powered solely by the electric motor at low speeds and then the petrol engine takes over which is extremely quiet with one passenger thinking it was being driven all the time by electricity!
Handling and steering were impressive but the ride was firmer than I had expected for this type of car which also surprised the aforementioned passenger who felt it was too firm especially over poorly maintained roads of which there are now quite a lot.
The Yaris Hybrid had conservative styling but looked really good up front and below the reasonably sized boot had a spare wheel underneath - something of a rarity these days.
I liked the instrumentation although I found the control for the trip computer not very accessible nor user friendly and the average fuel consumption on the computer was in the lower 50s , some way below the combined figure.
Yaris Hybrid which is produced at Toyota’s plant in Northern France has beeen criticised by some writers for lacking fun and not being very exciting car.
This may be so but the type of person buying it will not be looking for such qualities but for a car with green credentials that offers no road tax and a good fuel consumption.
There is no doubt that Toyota has done an excellent job in producing a hybrid car at such a reasonable price and I imagine it will prove to be a good seller for the ever increasing band of green minded motorists.
It will also appeal to those motorists who would like an electric car but are put off by excessively high prices and very low mileage ranges and who regard the Yaris Hybrid as a compromise in the supermini market sector.
My Verdict: A reasonably priced hybrid supermini.