Expected for the summer, the new Yaris hybrid not only sets a new sobriety record for a non-rechargeable car, it also progresses very clearly in terms of performance and driving pleasure, the two main weaknesses of the previous model. Enough to compete with the future Honda Jazz and Renault Clio E-Tech? Answer in a few months.
Read also Clio E-Tech: a very promising first hybrid Renault
This Yaris 4 takes nothing from the previous one since it simultaneously releases a new platform and a new hybrid powertrain, of the latest generation. The length hardly changes at 3.94 m, however the body is lowered and widened by 4 cm while the wheelbase is stretched from 5 cm to 2.56 m. The TNGA-B platform is announced 37% more rigid in torsion than the previous one and introduces new ground connections. If the McPherson principle is kept at the front, the strut is inclined more inward both to reduce the level of friction in the shock absorber for comfort, and to take more negative camber in compression to delay the onset of understeer on a curve. The rear axle, still with a deformable cross member, has been stiffened by 80% in roll, in particular to allow the use of slightly less stiff springs, again in favor of comfort.
But the main evolution is under the hood with the appearance of a 3-cylinder 1.5 liter derived from the 4-cylinder 2 liters of the Corolla. This new block is content with an indirect injection so as not to have to use a particle filter. It has a compression ratio of 14: 1 and two variable camshaft settings, the one operating on the intake side being electric to modulate the Atkinson cycle more quickly and precisely, the principle of which, based on a late closing of the intake valves , is to obtain an effective expansion stroke longer than that of compression, for the benefit of the thermodynamic efficiency which can reach here 40%. This block of 91 hp drives the front wheels via a planetary gear which it drives the planet carrier; the transmission ratio is determined by the resistant torque of the MG1 generator secured to the sun pinion of the gear. The differential and the MG2 79 hp electric traction motor are linked to the inner gear ring of the planetary gear. This principle of continuously variable transmission e-CVT said to power derivation released by the first Prius in 1997 is therefore renewed, but it is associated here with power electronics with improved efficiency and a lithium ion battery both lighter (25 kg against 37) and more powerful than the nickel metal hydride unit of the previous model.
Toyota announces a cumulative power of 116 hp, which allows to deduce that the new battery develops about 20 kW (27 hp), or even a little more in peak value (about 30 kW or 41 hp). Compared to the previous model, power therefore increases by 16 hp while the overall mass is reduced by 20 kg. Result of significantly improved performance with 0 to 100 km / h covered in 10.3 s, a gain of 1.5 s. Better, it is especially the consumption and therefore the CO2 emissions which are reduced by around 25%, from 84 to 63 g / km on the correlated NEDC cycle. On a more realistic WLTP cycle, this new Yaris hybrid claims the excellent value of 86 g / km. What not only escape any penalty, but also the annual TVS for the first 3 years.
Life on board
By settling aboard this new Yaris, we first measure the benefits of the new platform allowing a less comfortable, more upright driving position, close to segment references in this area such as the VW Polo and Renault Clio , thanks in particular to a steering column now more horizontal and stretching over a greater amplitude of adjustment. The manufacturing quality has also made great progress compared to the previous model which was, it is true, very perfectible in this area. If the rear habitability is now completely correct, the trunk volume remains measured for the category with only 284 liters.
Point Auto's opinion
But it is in action that this new Yaris is most convincing: thanks to its more powerful battery, it is both more nervous at start-up, and capable of staying in 100% electric mode longer and up to significantly higher speeds (70 km / h). Result this new Yaris hybrid is more than 80% of the time in zero emission mode in the city. Even better, even on motorways, electric propulsion is sufficient to temporarily maintain 130 km / h. The rest of the time, when the petrol engine is used, its revs are now much better controlled, less erratic. In this regard, we must welcome the replacement of the 4-cylinder of the previous model by a 3-cylinder as a wise choice: by ear, at equal speed, the new block seems to rotate slower, due to the lower frequency of its combustions.
Dynamically, too, this 4th generation Yaris is making significant progress. It is more agile, more incisive, and therefore much more pleasant to drive on winding routes. Comfort also marks significant progress, in particular in filtering, without however reaching the level of the benchmarks of the segment due to damping revealing trepidation on bumpy surfaces. Likewise, the electrically assisted steering lacks centering, which disrupts heading on the road and the highway. For what we could see during the handling of a prototype development of the Clio E-Tech, the Renault, a little more efficient, should keep the advantage in terms of comfort and driving pleasure, especially on the road.
Still, the sobriety of this new Yaris appears very impressive. Significantly less than 4 l / 100 km in the city, its consumption finally reached 4.2 l / 100 km according to the on-board computer on a route carried out at a good pace combining city, motorway and departmental. The future Honda Jazz Hybrid and Renault Clio E-Tech will have a lot to do to reach this level of efficiency.
Read also Honda Jazz: a score only in hybrid
Driving pleasure on the rise …
… But still perfectible at a sustained pace
Modest trunk volume
Direction lacking in centering
Under the hood of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid:
Thermal engine: 3 cylinders indirect petrol injection with Atkinson cycle
Displacement: 1,490 cc
Power: 91 hp
Torque: 120 Nm
Electric motor: permanent magnet synchronous, 79 hp, 140 Nm
Battery: lithium ion
Traction chain: 116 hp
Transmission: to front wheels
Transmission: automatic continuously variable e-CVT
Dimensions L x W x H: 3,940 x 1,740 x 1,470 mm
Safe: 284 l
0 to 100 km / h: 10.3 s
Speed: 175 km / h
Consumption on WLTP cycle: 3.7 l / 100 km
CO2 WLTP: 86 g / km (no penalty, no TVS for 3 years)
Weight: 1,070 kg (9.2 kg / hp)
Price: from 20,950 euros