The new Toyota Yaris gains in user friendliness and comfort. Handy and agile, it is as pleasant to drive in town as it is on the road. Too bad its ergonomics have some flaws and its interior is so sad.
Toyota entered the hybrid market in 2000 with its Prius. Today, the manufacturer markets no less than 20 hybrid models of the Toyota and Lexus brands which, in 2019, represented 63% of its sales in Western Europe. The Yaris, the latest to date (pre-order from December 2019 on the Toyota website), was to complete the range in June but, due to the situation related to Covid-19, its marketing was postponed to September 2020. The changes are visible at first glance. The style is much nicer and more modern than before. But the new interior and other elements are also appealing.
Quality of life on board
Compared to the previous generation, there is no picture: the interior of the 2020 Yaris model is much more pleasant to look at. The materials are certainly not as qualitative as those used in the French Renault Clio or Peugeot 208, or in the German Opel Corsa and Volkswagen Polo, but the progress is notable. However, we regret the predominance of black. The interior would have benefited from being brighter, with a white headliner, for example. A defect which, according to our information, will be corrected on the petrol engine version which will arrive at the end of the year (it will be equipped with a 1.5 l 3-cylinder unit very close to that of the hybrid version). The realization is no less successful and the materials are very well assembled. No sizzling, no vibration disturbed our test. While the interior is clear and overall is quite ergonomic, we regret that the steering wheel is loaded with buttons, which requires a lot of attention for the first few minutes. Likewise, the few controls placed on the driver's left are difficult to access.
Otherwise, managing the various features is quick and easy. The central, non-touch screen display is clear and placed at a good height. The head-up display is also particularly readable thanks to its excellent brightness. We appreciated the indications of the navigation system which are colored in blue to clearly show the changes of direction. The latter, however, lacks precision and, on several occasions, he gave us bad directions for lack of a good location. For example, it happened to us that the GPS locates us on a back alley, repeatedly asking us to turn right in order to be able to resume the good road… the one on which we were driving!
Overall, the interior space is convincing. Up front, driver and passenger will be very comfortable and have a great sense of space. This is, logically, a little less true at the rear, without being really prohibitive. This is all the more surprising given that the Yaris, at 3.94m in length, is among the shortest in the segment. It is possible to travel with four adults without worry and in a good level of comfort. The Yaris also has a fairly generous 284-liter trunk. Remember that the batteries are located under the floor and that they encroach a little on this storage space.
When starting this new Yaris Hybrid, we couldn't help but think back to the unpleasant noise of the previous version. This "moped effect" that felt like we were not moving forward and broke our ears. So it was with a little trepidation that we slowly and gradually depressed the accelerator pedal, while straining our ears. Result: linear noise, smooth acceleration, in short, it was a big relief! The biggest flaw in the old hybrid powertrain is now a bad memory. The only downside: after overtaking and fully releasing the accelerator pedal to slow down, the engine reacts with a delay and stays in the laps for a few seconds, which is quite strange. Apart from this minor peculiarity, the fourth generation of hybrid engine (combination of a 92 hp 1.5 l 3-cylinder petrol unit and a 59 kW electric motor) is rather pleasant to drive and proves to be efficient. . The EV mode, which allows forcing 100% electric driving, is appreciable but only allows you to travel a few kilometers and at reduced speed. In hybrid operation, we appreciate the support of the electric motor and the acceleration is straightforward. On a mixed city / road course, we consumed an average of 4.3 liters per 100 km, which is very correct.
In town, we appreciated the maneuverability of the city car, and its small turning radius (reduced by 20% compared to the previous generation) allows it to squeeze everywhere. On the road, the Yaris proved to be agile and comfortable. The suspensions are efficient and the irregularities of the road are well filtered.
According to the manufacturer, the new Yaris is "Designed to be the safest compact car in the world, with advanced driver assistance systems as standard". And, on closer inspection, it does have some arguments to make. Because in addition to the now usual panoply (automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane maintenance system, etc.), the Yaris introduces central airbags (located between the two front seats) which will prevent, in the event of an impact side, the driver and passenger to collide. It even receives a vehicle or pedestrian detection system at intersections. Thus, between 10 and 25 km / h, if the system detects a pedestrian crossing the street in which the car is entering, or if there is a risk that it will cross other vehicles, an audible alarm is triggered. and, without any action from the driver, the automatic emergency braking is activated. In general, these systems are not found on this segment of the car.
The Toyota Yaris Hybrid at a glance
The fourth generation of Yaris is improving in many ways. Much more pleasant to look at, it is also more comfortable and more pleasant to use. Not to spoil anything, its prices are quite interesting. Offered from € 20,950 in the basic version in France, the Toyota city car is more affordable than a Renault Clio E-Tech Hybrid. But at this price, technological equipment is scarce. To have high-tech systems, you have to opt for the version offered at launch: the Yaris Hybrid Première sold for € 25,450, which remains less expensive than the Clio. On the other hand, the latter wins the match in terms of driving pleasure and finish.
- Approval in progress
- Road comfort
- security level
- Perfectible soundproofing
- Sad interior
- Sometimes complex ergonomics