Hybrid cars have not really kicked off in South Africa, and there is a reason for this. Personally, I think it is cost driven.
Hybrid cars often carry a price premium over their counterparts in the same range and usually users can’t really distinguish why a hybrid would make a better car to buy.
The Yaris 1.5 HSD XR is a pretty impressive little car. Just from viewing it from the outside makes you realise that this is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill Yaris.
For starters, the front bumper and headlights are completely different; the headlights feature LED daytime running lights and projector headlights. The headlights are adjustable via the switch on the inside but, to be honest, I would have expected the Yaris to actually have HID headlights.
Not to worry though, the halogen counterparts work great and visibility is good, too.
The rear of the car also features a different rear bumper and also different LED-inspired tail lamps. There has been a lot of R&D which has gone into this car to make sure it consumes very little energy at any given time.
The interior is pretty funky. The white inlay on the dash, which carries over to the doors, really suits the car. It has a young and vibrant feeling with a touch of trendiness to it. It just makes you feel a little more unique and you really notice the difference between the HSD and the regular Yaris. The stereo is also a touch screen unit with USB and Bluetooth.
From a safety point of view, the Yaris has 6 airbags; driver, passenger and side airbags. ABS and EBD is also standard, as is traction control. Another unorthodox feature is hill ascent control. There is also a Toyota Microdot system, factory fitted.
Where the hybrid drive really makes a difference is in the city. On a locally planned test route of about 20km, with a lot of stop/start with heavy traffic, careful driving saw us manage a crazy 2.8l/100km this was pretty unbelievable. Driving a little more carefree had this rise to about 3.3l/100km.
Let me explain how this was possible. You see, the Yaris has a petrol powered 55kw, 1.5l engine as well as a battery that provides power. On slow pull away the Yaris can run totally on its battery power and at around 50km/h the petrol engine will intervene and resume power. This all happens without any interruption and is almost unnoticeable. On the open road where the petrol engine is used, the Yaris returned a 5.2l/100km at 120km/h. The CVT gearbox really works well and makes sure power is applied where needed. The Yaris will run onto 178km/h on the speedo.
The Yaris has a 36l tank and we did about 600km to reserve. So give or take a couple of litres to reserve, we can safely say that the Yaris returned less than 5l/100km of various driving conditions. Couple that with 88g/km of emissions; (class leading I might add) makes this the eco friendliest option in its class.
The Yaris service intervals are every 15000km and it also comes standard with a 3 year 100 000km warranty and a 4 year 60 000km Toyota care service plan. The Yaris HSD XR retails for R245 900.
A really good little car if you can look beyond the price tag, the Yaris really offers a lot of kit, but will it be enough to lure buyers to the greener side of living?