The new Toyota Yaris hybrid pairs a three-cylinder engine with a lithium ion battery for the first time to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 20 percent compared with the outgoing hybrid, the automaker says.
Toyota Europe will offer its latest-generation Yaris small-segment car with gasoline and full hybrid powertrains. There will be no diesel version, as with the current model.
The new small car will initially be launched as a hybrid only, with gasoline versions arriving later, Toyota said in a news release on Wednesday.
A 20 percent improvement over the current Yaris hybrid would reduce CO2 emissions figure to 67 grams per km, meaning its emissions would be closer to a plug-in hybrid than a standard full hybrid.
A switch to lithium-ion from nickel metal hydride has cut the battery’s weight by 27 percent, Toyota said. Toyota did not give a figure for battery capacity.
The new Yaris is the first car to be built on Toyota’s new modular small-car platform, a variant of the TNGA platform that underpins the new Corolla compact and CH-R and RAV4 crossovers. The new platform, called GA-B, is said to improve handling thanks to increased rigidity and a lower center of gravity.
The platform also allows designers to create visually distinctive models with appealing proportions, Toyota said.
The styling of the new Yaris, with its prominent wheel arches and wide grille dominating the front, gives it an appealing, “ready to go” character, according to Toyota.
The new car is 5 mm shorter than the outgoing Yaris, which is 3,950 mm long. The new car is also 15 mm lower and 50 mm wider.
Toyota is strongly promoting the safety benefits of the new Yaris, describing it as the safest in its segment. The company said it is the first small car to use a center airbag, which deploys between the two front seats.
Active safety equipment includes adaptive cruise control, which can brake the car automatically to a complete stop, and a lane-keeping assist. Both are standard.
Toyota will continue to build the Yaris at its Valenciennes plant in northern France. The automaker has invested 300 million euros ($330 million) to bring the TNGA platform to the plant, a move that Toyota said would increase capacity to 300,000 cars annually. The company added a third shift at Valenciennes in 2014 to bring production to 220,000 cars annually.
Equipment inside the Yaris includes a touchscreen mounted high on the dashboard and a 10-inch head-up display that projects information such as satellite navigation directions onto the windscreen. A heated steering wheel is also available.
Toyota describes the materials used in the interior as high quality and highlights the use of a felt trim finish on the door panels. The company said its aim was to give the interior “a sensory quality” that places more importance on colors, operation of the controls, interior ambient lighting and graphics.
The size of the steering wheel has been reduced slightly as part of a design layout that Toyota calls “eyes on the road, hands on the wheel” because of its intention to reduce distractions for the driver.
The hybrid version of the Yaris has become a successful model for Toyota since it was first launched in Europe in 2012. Almost half of the 130,967 Yaris models sold in the first six months of this year in the region were hybrids, Toyota Europe said.
The model has had few electrified competitors in the segment, but the new Yaris will go up against the new Honda Jazz, which arrives next year as a hybrid model only. Like the Yaris, the Jazz will be powered by a 1.5-liter engine boosted by an electric motor.
Deliveries of the Yaris hybrid will start in the second half of next year.
Toyota will launch 1.0-liter and 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline models at a later date but only in selected markets, the automaker said, without giving more detail.