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Toyota ZR Yaris hybrid hatchback – great car at steep price

David Berthon

Driving Toyota’s latest fourth-generation Yaris hatchback today – a striking compact five-door hatch with a host of new technologies – and packed with new age safety elements including 8 airbags. As I mentioned a few weeks back voted by the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria as the safest small car under $30,000. This latest Yaris now features new 1.5-litre three-cylinder engines in lieu of the four-cylinder in its predecessor, is lower with a more rigid body and a host of driver-assist technologies while two of the six Yaris models gain Toyota’s fourth-generation Hybrid power train for the first time. All of the above however comes with a price penalty.

Prices now running from  22,130 for the entry Yaris Ascent Sport manual to $32,100 for the ZR Hybrid CVT automatic – I tested the latter which at over $35,000 drive-away really gets into larger SUV territory. Little wonder  Yaris sales have nose dived this year by 56 percent. Having said that the ZR Hybrid automatic was impressive in so many areas – the 67kW three-cylinder petrol engine supplemented by a 59kW electric motor generator and a compact lithium-ion battery – combined output 85kW – the hybrid can run in two modes – eco and power.

Economy quoted at 3.3L/100, my best 3.9L/100 with mainly city driving. Warranty 5 years/unlimited with battery warranty at 10 years/unlimited. Such a pity price dims an otherwise impressive hybrid.

I’m David Berthon

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David Berthon
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