Yaris — cheap, green

Cheap and green is the name of the game with the new hy­brid Yaris, writes KARLA PIN­COTT

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

THE stakes just got big­ger in the af­ford­able hy­brid bat­tle, with Toy­ota an­nounc­ing a hy­brid ver­sion of the lit­tle Yaris.

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 3 litres/100km and emis­sions as low as 80g/km.

This brings it un­der the Prius 3.4 litres/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 the Geneva Mo­tor Show in March and hit the show­rooms 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 spokesman for Toy­ota 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 who can move up the model line as they ma­ture.

2011 Toy­ota Yaris ZR aims to have the best fuel econ­omy in the light-car seg­ment

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