The new Toyota Yaris test drive: compact in size but clean, green and huge on safety features

New Toyota Yaris Hybrid ZR

Good looks. Tick. Compact. Tick. Safety features. Tick. Hybrid option. Tick. 

The latest Toyota Yaris is hard to go past if you’re in the market for a compact-sized vehicle. There are three grades available in the new Yaris range – Ascent Sport, the SX, and the top of the range, ZR. If cleaner and greener are high on your list of priorities, the hybrid version (available in the SX and ZR) delivers outstanding performance and efficiency by combining the benefits of an electric motor with a petrol engine.

We test drove the ZR and the verdict is out – the 1.5L Toyota Hybrid System with auto CVT is big on safety features, technology, and fuel efficiency. Providing a smooth and comfortable ride, the Yaris is perfect for city driving and squeezing into those tight, awkward parking spots with the assistance of front and rear parking sensors as well as a reversing camera (which is standard across the range). 

But with cutting edge safety technology such as the head-up display, blind-spot monitor, lane trace assist (steering assistance when you’re out of line), and pre-collision safety system, this is also the perfect ride for those long, out-of-town road trips. There’s no danger of cramping your style as there’s ample space to throw in your luggage, plus extra space designed underneath the floor of the boot. 

One of the first things you notice when you turn the engine on is how quiet the hybrid system is. You have to check twice to make sure the car is actually on. As you accelerate, you can feel the petrol engine kick in to provide more power. When you’re stuck in traffic or driving in the city, the Yaris can automatically switch to electric (or EV) mode using zero fuel and reducing CO2 emission. When driving on the open road, the petrol engine will take over for efficient high-speed driving.

Toyota Yaris e1604576101858
The new Yaris ZR Hybrid is perfect for city driving and road-trips

Does the hybrid battery need to be recharged? The answer is no. There’s no need to plug the battery in for charging, as it recharges while you drive. Every new Toyota Hybrid battery purchased after 1 January 2019 is protected by a maximum 10-year unlimited-kilometre warranty (as long as you undertake your annual inspection according to Toyota specifications). 

The new Yaris starts at around $22,000 for the Ascent Sport and about $32,000 for the ZR hybrid. The cost of your annual service is capped at $170 for your vehicle’s first five visits and comes with a five year/unlimited kilometres warranty. 

Find out more about the new Yaris here