The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is the cleanest and most efficient supermini in its class. Toyota claims it can return up to 85.6mpg with CO2 emissions of only 75g/km, making it the cleanest none plug-in hybrid model currently on sale in the UK.

This facelifted model has been treated to an extensive overhaul, which Toyota has invested around £70 million in. The new-look front end features an Aygo-inspired nose, sleek LED headlights and chrome trim, while the interior has been fitted with softer materials, a new multimedia system and more spacious storage cubbies.

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Key to its eco credentials is the 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor, developing a combined 98bhp. The powertrain is ideally suited to life in the city as you’re able to pull away in pure EV mode and you can do this for just over one mile at up to speeds of 31mph. When the petrol engine is required, it cuts in smoothly and silently so it’s very refined at slower speeds.

Offered only in two trim levels – Icon and Excel – the Hybrid comes as standard with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, rear-view camera, Bluetooth and alloy wheels. Another bonus is that Toyota is offering the Yaris Hybrid with one year’s free insurance on top of the standard 100,000 mile/five-year warranty. 

Styling

Unlike the standard Yaris, the hyrbid version gets bolder styling to help it standout from the supermini crowd. The revised front features a larger lower grille, teardrop shaped foglights, smart LED strips in the slim headlights and alloy wheels. Inside the hybrid gets an energy meter instead of a rev counter and bespoke blue-ringed dials but a very outdated gear lever for the CVT gearbox.

The faclifted model also gets a much improved interior over the outgoing Yaris. There's plusher plastics and soft materials, plus a new Touch 2 multimedia system. An Aygo-style steering wheel and more spacious cubbies have also been added. 

Driving

The Yaris uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine derived from the 1.8-litre unit in the second generation Toyota Prius. On its own it produces a modest 73bhp total but when combined with the on-board electric motor this grows to 98bhp and a respectable 111Nm of torque. Depending on the level of battery charge the Yaris can also run silently on electric power alone but only for a maximum of 1.3 miles and at speeds below 31mph.

Still the choppy ride and noisy CVT gearbox mean it's not as relaxing as a conventional diesel supermini and on wider roads the lack of performance and lifeless steering mean that the Yaris is not a car for anyone who enjoys driving. Yet, if you live and work in the city it's an ideal fit but take it out of its comfort zone and things quickly unravel. 

Reliability

One of Toyota's traditional strengths is reliability. Even its petrol-electric drivetrain has been tried and tested before in the Prius and it comes with an 100k mile five year warranty as standard. Toyota and its dealers both finished strongly in our Driver Power satisfaction survey. The Yaris also earns a five star safety rating thanks to its seven standard airbags and standard ESP system.

Practicality

One of the standard cars biggest strengths is its spacious interior and the Yaris hybrid is no exception. The boot carries 286 litres with the rear seats in place and because the battery pack and the fuel tank have both been moved underneath the rear seats the loading area swells to 768 litres of once they are folded down flat. 

There's also decent space for rear passengers, too. Because there is no transmission tunnel there is generous amounts of space for adult passengers, plus headroom is generous, too. There are lots of cubbies and cup holders up front though and the upright driving position means that all round visibility is excellent and the compact dimensions mean it's easy to park too, made even simpler by the fact a rear-view camera comes fitted as standard to Hybrid models.

Running Costs

The main benefit of using two power sources is that the Yaris hybrid is the most efficient car in its class. With C02 emissions set at an incredibly low 75g/k it is tax-free and now exempt from the London congestion charge. Its claimed economy is also an impressive 85.6mpg.

However to get close to that figure you would have to drive mainly in town as on the motorway because the hybrid is heavier than the standard car it has to be worked hard to keep pace with other traffic. Other costs like insurance and servicing and relatively low despite the complex technology it uses and like most Toyotas it should hold its value well too.

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