Cheap and green is the name of the game, with the Yaris aiming to deliver the least expensive hybrid in the market, with the best fuel economy and emissions figures in the light car segment.
Rather than relying on the 1.8-litre engine from the Prius, Toyota has downsized to a 1.5-litre and a smaller electric motor, inverter and battery pack, saving about 20 per cent in weight and avoiding having to cannibalise the Yaris cabin and 286-litre luggage space.
The new system is tipped to deliver a maximum of 74kW with fuel economy nearing 3L/100km and emissions as low as 80g/km. This brings it under the Prius’ 3.4L/100km and 89g/km, and also makes it a contender against new ultra-light city cars such as the Volkswagen Up.
Initially slated for Europe, the Yaris will make its international debut at Geneva Motor Show in March and hit the showrooms over there by May. And it will eventually hit our shores, but don’t expect to see it here for some years, Toyota Australia says.
“For the Australian market we have the Prius C arriving towards the end of first quarter this year – within a couple of months -- and that will take the spot of the Yaris Hybrid here,” a Toyota spokesman says.
“That’s for the interim. (TMC boss) Akio Toyoda’s vision is that every Toyota model will have a hybrid variant by 2020, so by then we will have one.”
As the first full hybrid model in the B segment in Europe, Toyota’s newcomer will hope to build on the strength of Yaris being their top seller there – and snare younger buyers that can move up the model line as they mature.