Toyota Yaris 1.5 VVT-i Hybrid CVT Excel
Aygo-themed nose is a welcome improvement
- Aygo-themed design revisions work well
- Improved hybrid system is impressive
- Real world economy performance is good
- Generous level of standard equipment
- Driving experience remains less than thrilling
- Despite improvements cabin ambience remains average
- Engine can prove noisy when revved hard
- Not a particularly inexpensive choice despite on-paper savings
In essence this Yaris is almost the same as its predecessor - almost. As a model range and as a hybrid variant Toyota's small car has proven to be a popular choice. Visually it's been trumped by many rivals, although this Aygo-themed nose treatment has done much to breath new life into the car.
In hybrid guise this refreshed Yaris offers a fresh new look and promises small but meaningful gains in terms of drivability, refinement and its green credentials. The car's new nose can't be missed, but tweaks to its hybrid powertrain have resulted in useful reductions in emissions and fuel consumption.
On a day-to-day basis it's likely that the car's refreshed cabin will attract more attention than its improved suspension settings. That said, there's still evidence of trademark Toyota hard plastics. Taking a positive view, you could view this as a plus point in terms of overall durability though.
Look past the car's fascia materials and you can't fail to notice the new infotainment system. This colour touchsreen unit boasts the usual connectivity options and, after a little practice, proves easy to operate. Upgrading to a low-cost navigation option is straightforward.
For all that, the primary reason to choose the hybrid over a regular petrol variant is simple: to 'do your bit' plus reduce fuel consumption and minimise your tax outlay. And in lower spec trim you can hit an impressive 75g/km CO2, although this creeps up slightly as you move up the range.
Our verdict on the Toyota Yaris 1.5 VVT-i Hybrid CVT Excel
There are many good reasons why the hybrid version of Toyota's Yaris is popular. For many it's the car's ease of use and low impact cost of ownership, while others are drawn to concept of a low CO2 supermini. Whatever your attraction to the car, the positives outweigh the few aesthetic negatives.
Despite the car's elevated asking price relative to a standard, low power petrol supermini, in the long term there are meaningful savings to be had. Ultra-low CO2 is matched by high fuel economy, plus the prospect of regular bursts of electric-only running around town.
Space and practicality
Boasting a flexible cabin for its size and an accommodating boot - complete with fold-down rear seats, the Yaris Hybrid is a surprisingly versatile supermini. Crucially, the hybrid mechanicals don't intrude on cabin or boot space, thus ensuring a compromise-free ownership experience.
Controls and display
The Yaris' cabin could be described as functional, but in a good way. Everything is where you expect it to be, while even the infotainment system proves intuitive after a little practice. There's nothing to the CVT transmission, although the hybrid mode buttons down by the handbrake would work better on the fascia.
Despite the presence of hard-looking cabin plastics, the Yaris boasts a comfortable living environment. Wind and road noise are modest - although highlighted in electric mode due to the lack of engine noise. The ride is firm but mostly comfortable - poorly surfaced urban roads can unsettle this short wheelbase car.
All Yaris Hybrid models are equipped with an immobiliser as standard, while the keyless ignition system is a welcome addition for both security and convenience reasons. The car's small but sturdy load cover does a good job of hiding your valuables from prying eyes.
The Yaris Hybrid is well equipped for a supermini, and there are plenty of airbags fore and aft in the cabin. Factor in the stability control system and you're all set - this is not hot hatch, after all.
Don't expect the Yaris Hybrid to be a ball of fire, but you will be surprised by its brisk acceleration and responsive electric-only drive mode. It's an easy car to drive but not terribly rewarding. It's talents lie delivering a fuss-free experience, while the hybrid system can be confidently left to its own devices for maximum efficiency.
Family car appeal
Despite its size the Yaris Hybrid could double as a family car - at a pinch. Once newborns begin to grow, the cabin and boot might prove a little too small once you've loaded up the buggy, though.
First car appeal
Assuming you've got the funds for the less than bargain basement-priced Yaris Hybrid, the little Toyota would be an ideal first car. Offering low running costs and ease of use, it's easy to park and plenty big enough.
Quality and image
Although the actual materials used inside the Yaris are only par for the class, they are quite clearly well put together. Image-wise the Yaris is at something of a disadvantage compared to key rivals; it is commonly regarded as a car for the more senior driver and lacks youth appeal. Toyota hopes that will change thanks to the funky facelift, while the hybrid variant is easily the most popular choice.
In five-door only guise the Yaris is largely quirk-free and is good at accommodating occupants both fore and aft. Climbing aboard is effortless, and the same goes for the boot; the tailgate is very light and pops open easily, and the boot floor is at a good height for easy loading.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
A good quality colour screen dominates the fascia, which can be updated to include navigation alongside the comprehensive audio and device connectivity options. Operation can be a little sluggish at times, although the overall package is good value.
Colours and trim
Having adopted the Aygo's dramatic nose redesign, the Yaris is now a more youthful and jolly-looking car in the metal. This is reflected in the colour choices available, although the cabin retains Toyota's more conservative corporate approach to design.
With a generous glass area, compact dimensions and light steering at low speeds the Yaris is a very easy car to park. Factor in the user-friendly nature of the CVT 'auto' gearbox plus reversing camera and it's hard to get it wrong.
Tyre inflation kit fitted as standard.
Petrol engine options - 1.5-litre hybrid (100bhp). Transmission options: CVT auto for hybrid variant. Trim levels: Active, Excel, Icon, Icon Plus, Trend.
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