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.
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.2
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.