Gone are the days when the Yaris Hybrid was almost alone in the world. The arrival of the convincing Renault Clio E-Tech and Honda Jazz Hybrid forces the little Toyota to question itself. Competition is always good for us buyers who, in addition to a wider choice, benefit from "little frugal" armies like never before.
Comfort and power on the rise
After nine years of career therefore, the Yaris, still made in France, gives way to this fourth generation (the second only to exist as a hybrid), which is no longer just talented in town. A few kilometers of road at the wheel in the Brussels region is enough to see that it treats its occupants much better than before, driver included. Convinced of the relevance of its choices, Toyota only refined the hybrid chain of its predecessor. Not only did the newcomer boost both the heat engine (92 hp, + 16 hp) and the electric traction (79 hp, + 18 hp), but in addition the Yaris is less prone to the runaway phenomenon of its CVT type transmission. It is still suffered when overtaking or on hills, but, the rest of the time, it is forgotten all the more quickly as the sound of the 3-cylinder petrol is not unpleasant.
More fun to drive
The previous generation Spartan is followed by a fairly well-bred small to plan long journeys. The Toyota compares to the Hybrid Jazz, even if he it would be better to contain air and rolling noise to reach the level of a Clio E-Tech. On the suspension side, failing to pamper its occupants like a Jazz (the fault of the tremors raised by the 17-inch wheels here on this Premiere finish), the Yaris turns out to be much more fun to drive than before. With its widened tracks, a lowered center of gravity (- 12 mm), a contained roll and a rather incisive front axle, this Toyota incites to abuse its 116 cumulative hp, which allow him to perform safely overtaking (80 to 120 km / h is announced in just 7.6 s).
In addition, if a reflex braking in an emergency reveals a pedal that is still a little spongy, the dosage turns out easy to manage on a daily basis in town. A territory where Japan has not fallen asleep on its laurels either. Before, you had to drive with an egg under your right foot to stay 100% electric after 15 km / h. Now we reach easily 35 km / h before the new 3-cylinder petrol wakes up to support it. If the small battery (approx. 1 kWh) displays more than 50% load, a velvet foot and patience allow you to exceed 70 km / h without emitting emissions, as with a Clio, but without its vigor. When the Yaris battery is full, you can force the 100% electric drive, but it does not last more than 3 km, and the 1.5 l this time starts as soon as you exceed 45 km / h. You might as well leave the system to manage itself, he does it like a chef.
A qualitative leap
In this environment, the Yaris, like its rivals, displays smooth operation that encourages zen driving and enjoying the interior, totally redesigned. The dashboard does not win the prize for originality, but the qualitative leap is obvious. Without escaping some savings, especially in the trunk where the shelf and floor covering seem fragile.
Good ideas on board
Ergonomics are guaranteed by direct controls and a responsive screen placed at the right height while we benefit from a steering wheel with a more vertical implantation, although we would have liked a depth adjustment with more amplitude. If the Yaris revises its proportions, it which widens by 5 cm (1.75 m) and lowers its flag by 4 cm (1.47 m), she remains confined to 3.94 m long. Almost the same interior dimensions as its predecessor. A compact size that does not prevent it from offering rear passengers as much space as the Clio (4.05 m). With his minivan format, the Jazz (4.04 m) remains much more spacious and practical, its “magic” bench being infinitely smarter than the simple folding backs of the Yaris. Finally, the Toyota announces a trunk of 285 dm³ (304 dm³ for the Jazz, 254 dm³ for the Clio E-Tech).
Price within standards
To display from € 20,950, and € 25,450 (price September 2020) in this variant First equipped like a big (head-up display, ultra-complete safety package), the Yaris hybrid is therefore well placed against the Jazz hybrid (from € 21,990) and Clio E-Tech (from € 22,600, in August 2020) . All that remains is to submit it to our measures to see if it turns out to be as sober as its two formidable rivals: it is expected very soon.