The New Yaris Hybrid: A Quiet Revolution

Wednesday, 18th July 2012

Everyone knows that green is the new black. It should therefore come as no surprise that Brad, Angelina, Jennifer, George and Leonardo are amongst an ever-increasing list of A-listers who have opted to sashay down Rodeo Drive in hybrids.

While some may balk at the idea of the Hollywood jet set flaunting their organic “Free Trade” cotton T-shirts, there is no denying that the human race is heading towards an environmental meltdown unless some serious green-fingered intervention takes place.

Now we aren’t claiming to have found the cure for global warming, but there are three incontrovertible truths about Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive® (HSD):

  • You will drastically cut down on your fuel consumption
  • You will radically reduce hazardous emissions (much lower particulate and nitrogen oxide emissions than a diesel, plus there’s no particulate filter to go wrong
  • You will be helping to protect the environment.

The new Yaris HSD epitomises this ethos. Featuring a new powertrain that has been optimised for installation within the vehicle’s compact, extremely efficient packaging design it delivers without detriment to performance, passenger accommodation or loadspace. The downsized hybrid system combines a substantially re-engineered 1.5 litre petrol engine with a lighter, more compact electric motor, transaxle, inverter and battery pack. With low fuel consumption (average fuel consumption of just 3.8 l/100 km), low environmental impact, strong acceleration, great manoeuvrability and unique all-electric EV capabilities, it represents the ultimate urban car.

According to Kerry Roodt, General Manager of Marketing Communications, the new Yaris HSD marks a number of industry firsts: “Toyota has taken its sophisticated HSD drivetrain and squeezed it into the popular Yaris, making it the smallest full hybrid in the world, not forgetting of course that it carries the most affordable price tag. With emissions of just 88g/km, it’s also officially South Africa’s lowest carbon emitter.”

“But, what makes the Yaris HSD truly impressive is that it’s a no-compromise package. The CVT transmission has been refined to provide a natural acceleration feel, boot space is not sacrificed due to the fact that the batteries are stowed underneath the rear seats and, like its Auris sibling, this is a hybrid that doesn't feel the need to shout its green credentials to every casual observer, a few fetching aesthetically-enhancing aerodynamics aside. To summarise then, the Yaris HSD is much more than just another new product, it represents a major step in the company’s full hybrid roll-out strategy,” concludes Roodt.

Aerodynamic Design

The Yaris Hybrid differentiates itself from the other Yaris derivatives with an exclusive, aerodynamically-efficient exterior design which instantly identifies it as the flagship of the Yaris model range.

It combines a new, more aggressive, frontal design treatment - the distinctive ‘family’ Toyota face is still there but with HSD detailing reinforced by hybrid-specific LED lights. Flanked by front aero corner treatments, the strong centre section of the lower bumper houses a larger, trapezoidal lower grille optimising engine bay cooling whilst emphasising the new hybrid’s ground-hugging stance and low centre of gravity.

A slimmer upper grille, elegantly sculpted to highlight the hybrid-blue Toyota badge and accented by slim headlights, emphasises the new hybrid’s bold, horizontal front styling. Exclusive to the Yaris Hybrid, the projector-type headlamp unit features standard chrome-plated ‘eyebrows’ lipped with an LED ‘lightguide’, and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL).

In profile, identified by hybrid badging and alloys (XS and XR), the new hybrid shares the stylish, cab-forward silhouette and long wheelbase profile of the standard Yaris. The exterior overall length is only 20 mm longer than the standard Yaris due to the revised front bumper design.

To the rear, the hybrid-blue badged tailgate incorporates a new, LED-type high mounted stop light, and clear lens combination lights incorporate a LED tail and stop lamp signature unique to the new Yaris Hybrid.

In addition, numerous underbody airflow rectification components have been adopted to create a flat surface, smoothing the flow of air under the new Yaris Hybrid. These include a front spoiler, a large engine undercover, and front, centre and rear deflectors. A rear undercover incorporates vertical fins which create a laminar flow effect to enhance ride stability. As a result, Toyota’s new full hybrid boasts a class-leading drag coefficient of just Cd 0.286.

Rounding off the new package are standard 15” alloy wheels, and a range of six body colours including a model-specific new “Pearl White” execution. Toyota pioneered this Pearl White finish, which has required the introduction of a bespoke production process at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF) plant where the new hybrid is built. Reinforcing the Yaris Hybrid’s uniquely stylish and environmentally-conscientious design credentials, the new colour delivers a cool, high quality image (particularly in sunlight) when the soft, silken lustre of pearl is at its strongest.

The Yaris HSD is available in two trim grades – mid-spec XS and high-grade XR – both of which feature a generous list of standard kit. The only external differentiators between the two being the inclusion of front fog lights, privacy glass for the rear side windows and a rear spoiler for the flagship XR model.

On the safety front, the 5-star EuroNCAP rated Yaris gets ABS (with EBD and BAS) as well as Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). In XS guise, the Yaris comes standard with four airbags (driver, passenger and side airbag system) while the XR grade gets a total of seven thanks to the additional curtain shield and driver knee airbags.

Bespoke, Hybrid-Exclusive Interior
On board, Yaris Hybrid customers benefit from a driver-focused cockpit with hybrid-exclusive details and trim finishes.

Silver ring-trimmed, three dimensional instrument dials incorporate a hybrid system indicator and feature a combination of white and blue backlighting. The centre console-mounted “Toyota Touch” system incorporates a hybrid energy monitor illuminated in blue as well as the dual zone air-conditioning.

The dashboard soft-touch pads and front door trims are finished in an exclusive, Ice Grey colour, and blue stitching trims the leather/cloth upholstery (XR only), steering wheel and hand brake. A unique gear lever to the hybrid derivative comes standard with blue finish on the gear knob. It goes without saying that both Yaris HSD models come with a well stocked larder of standard equipment.

Here’s a rundown of some the most important standard kit:

  • Automatic climate control with seperate temperature controls for driver and front passenger;
  • Remote central locking
  • Touchscreen* audio incorporating Bluetooth and on-board computer with hybrid-specific “Eco” functions;
  • Audio jack with USB port;
  • Steering wheel controls (audio and Bluetooth);
  • Height-adjustable driver’s seat;
  • 3-spoke leather steering wheel (height- and tilt-adjustable);
  • Follow-me-home headlights.

XR models get the flagship treatment by adding some of these items to the standard equipment menu:

  • Push-start button;
  • Iluminated glovebox with cooling function;
  • Back monitor (image shown in the centre touchscreen display);
  • 8-speaker sound system (as opposed to the 6-speaker system for the XS);
  • Electrically-adjustable rear windows;
  • Combination leather/fabric upholstery trim;
  • Height-adjustable front passenger seat;
  • Electrochromatic rear-view mirror;
  • Cruise control;
  • Illuminated vanity mirrors;
  • Rain-sensing windscreen wipers;
  • Auto light control system.

* The Toyota Touch system incorporates a Hybrid Energy Monitor which displays the real-time energy flow within the Hybrid Synergy Drive system. Vehicle information displays include remaining fuel range, instant fuel consumption, average fuel consumption per minute over the last 15 minutes, time elapsed since last engine start as well as a record of past consumption results.

Downsized full hybrid powertrain for fuel and space efficiency

  • Substantially re-engineered 1.5 litre petrol unit engine combined with downsized hybrid system components
  • Compact battery, relocated under the rear seats to preserve boot space
  • Total system output of 74 kW, with low, 3.8 l/100 km fuel consumption
  • Lowest CO2, NOX and Particulate Matter emissions of any vehicle in South Africa
  • Frequent all-electric operation with no fuel consumed and zero emissions
  • Driving range potential of 1,000 km on one tank of fuel

The new engine generates a maximum 55 kW at 4,800 rpm and maximum torque of 111 Nm from 3,600 to 4,400 rpm. With a focus on lower emissions and the minimisation of mechanical friction for improved fuel efficiency, some 70% of all engine components are either new or redesigned.

Overall, the thermal efficiency of the Yaris Hybrid petrol engine has been improved by 6% over that of the second generation Prius, contributing to improvements in both fuel efficiency and environmental performance.

Hybrid System Performance

Combining the power of a 55 kW petrol engine and battery powering the electrical motor, the Yaris Hybrid’s highly efficient powertrain generates a maximum 74 kW system output. It offers the best balance of performance and fuel consumption/CO2emissions in the B segment.

The Yaris Hybrid will accelerate seamlessly from 0-100 km/h in 11.8 seconds, and on to a maximum speed of 165 km/h. Conversely, it delivers an average fuel consumption of just 3.8 l/100 km and segment-best CO2 emissions of only 88 g/km, whilst allowing customers frequent driving in modes that emit zero NOx, Particulate Matter (PM) or CO2 emissions. Its exceptional fuel efficiency gives the Yaris Hybrid a driving range potential of close to 1,000 km on a single tank of fuel.

Well Balanced Dynamics, Ideal for City Driving

  • Zero emission driving possible for a high proportion of journey length and duration
  • Transmission optimised for a more natural acceleration feel
  • Two additional on demand driving modes:  EV and ECO
  • Class leading turning radius of 4.7 meters
  • Low, 550 mm centre of gravity
  • Electronically Controlled Braking system for powerful and progressive braking

Building on the inherently quiet, smooth power delivery of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive®, the fundamental elements of intrinsic driving pleasure – such as acceleration/braking feel, balance and agility – have been thoroughly refined without any compromise in the new Yaris Hybrid.

Full Hybrid in operation

Recent real world tests with Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain reveal that the Yaris Hybrid zero emissions driving accounts for around 66% of the average commuter journey length and around 58% of the total journey time, with the petrol engine being switched off.

The electric motor’s ability to deliver maximum torque from the vehicle acceleration start provides significant benefits during the stop/start driving of urban traffic conditions, combining brisk acceleration from a standstill in near silence with class-leading acceleration under full throttle of 0-50 km/h in only 4 seconds (0-100 km/h is dispatched in a laudable 11,8 seconds).

The new Yaris Hybrid’s seamless, E-CVT electric continuously variable transmission benefits from a new control system to create a more progressive engine rpm increase during vehicle acceleration. Optimised at 70-90% throttle opening, the new system suppresses excessive increases in engine rpm under acceleration, offering drivers a more natural-feeling, linear relationship between vehicle and engine speeds.

Supplementing this enhanced E-CVT transmission, two alternative ‘on-demand’ drive modes may be selected to further increase driving efficiency, performance and fuel economy. From start-up and at speeds up to 50 km/h the new Yaris Hybrid automatically operates in EV mode, driving under electric motor power alone. The driver may also select EV mode manually. This unique driving mode is only available to drivers of full hybrid vehicles.

With vehicle range dictated by battery charge, the EV drive mode allows for urban driving with minimal noise and zero CO2, NOx and PM emissions for up to two kilometres. Because the petrol engine is switched off throughout its operation, the EV drive mode contributes to a significant reduction in the Yaris Hybrid’s overall fuel consumption.

In ECO mode, throttle response to aggressive accelerator pedal inputs is reduced and air-conditioning control optimized for improved fuel economy. Depending on driving conditions, the ECO mode can help drivers achieve about 10% reduction in fuel consumption versus the normal mode.

Powerful Regenerative Braking

Incorporating Electronic Brakeforce distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist, Traction Control (TRC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), the new Yaris Hybrid is equipped with an Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB) system which coordinates the control of both hydraulic and regenerative braking.

The new full hybrid is fitted with ventilated disc brakes to the front and solid, discs to the rear for powerful, progressive and well balanced braking efficiency. Coordinated control of the hydraulic and regenerative braking systems maximises the regeneration of energy by the electric motor during deceleration and under braking.

Its segment-first, full hybrid technology offers Yaris Hybrid customers outstanding value for money through an unparalleled combination of competitive price, low maintenance and running costs, and Toyota’s traditional high residual values.

The Yaris Hybrid is competitively priced in the segment, comparing particularly favourably against diesel-powered vehicles. However, customer convenience is not compromised, with features such as dual auto-air-conditioning, automatic transmission, full electric drive and stop and start fitted as standard across the model range.

Best-in-class CO2 emissions of 88 g/km combined with superior fuel efficiency offer customers exceptionally low running costs and, in many countries, significant tax incentives or benefits.

The Toyota full hybrid consumes only 3.8 l/100 km over the homologation combined cycle, allowing customers to drive up to 1,000 km on a single tank of fuel.

The Hybrid Synergy Drive® system has been specifically designed for low maintenance and outstanding durability. The powertrain has been designed with no requirement for the clutch, starter motor, alternator belt and timing belt traditionally used in other vehicles.

And, thanks to the efficiency of the Yaris Hybrid’s Electronically Controlled Braking system (ECB), the brake pads life expectancy can potentially reach 100,000 km. Combining this component longevity with reduced labour times during servicing, Yaris Hybrid maintenance costs over 100,000 km are expected to be amongst the lowest in the B segment.

Rigorously assessed for performance and durability, and backed up by over 14 years of in-service experience, the full hybrid battery is designed to last the entire life of the car. The new Yaris Hybrid benefits from a three year/100,000 km warranty, extended to eight years/195,000 km on hybrid system components, including the battery. As with other Yaris models, the new HSD range comes with a standard four year/60,000 km service plan.

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