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Toyota Yaris Hybrid unlikely for Australia

Official images and details of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid have been revealed in the lead-up to the compact city car’s 2012 Geneva motor show unveiling in March.

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It appears unlikely the Yaris Hybrid will come to Australia in the short term, however, with Toyota Australia favouring the similar Prius C hatchback, which goes on sale locally in the coming weeks. The Prius C will be around 100mm longer than Yaris, and comparative in most other dimensions. Toyota Australia's Mike Breen said it was unlikely a hybrid version of the current-generation Yaris would be sold locally, but said later generations of the car may be considered.

Breen said the Yaris Hybrid would be powered a very similar Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) system to that used by the Prius C, which is a downsized version of the system used by the full-size Prius and Auris (Corolla) Hybrid in Europe.

The Yaris Hybrid’s HSD combines a 1.5-litre petrol engine and a more compact electric motor and battery pack, which Toyota says is 20 per cent lighter than the HSD system in the Auris Hybrid. The Yaris Hybrid has a maximum power output of 74kW.

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The Yaris Hybrid will be capable of running on full-electric mode, where it burns no petrol and emits zero emissions.

Despite the added hybrid equipment, the vehicle’s interior space and its 286-litre luggage capacity are unchanged from the conventional non-hybrid models.

To be produced in France, Toyota says the Yaris Hybrid was developed to be the most affordable full hybrid in Europe.

Breen said the Corolla Hybrid was a chance to join the Australian line-up "somewhere along the line" before 2020, by which time the global manufacturer plans to have a hybrid variant available in every model in its range.

The current Auris Hybrid is only produced in the UK, and Breen suggested the cost of importing a vehicle the size of the Corolla from Europe made the business case difficult for Toyota Australia in the short term.