The Yaris is Toyota’s B-segment warrior, a cute little car which isn’t really exceptional in any way. However, Toyota has figured out a way to make it more appealing by fitting its full hybrid system into this subcompact car.
The Yaris HSD, however, will feature much of the same hybrid technology in the best-selling Prius, but in a smaller, cheaper B-segment chassis. The B-segment of cars is the largest selling group in Europe (where gas prices are around double what they are in the U.S.) The Toyota Yaris already has decent gas mileage numbers, so with a full hybrid system, I wouldn’t be surprised to see highway mileage approach or eclipse 60 mpg. Toyota is keeping mum on specifications right now, though I wonder if the Prius “C” concept and the Yaris HSD might have anything in common.
Another thought; will Toyota allow another of its vehicles to eclipse the much-ballyhooed Prius in fuel efficiency? Mayhaps, though at the end of the day, what is really going to make or break a B-segment hybrid is price, no matter who makes it. A non-hybrid Yaris starts around $12,500, and most people looking in this price bracket either can’t, or won’t spend too much money on an automobile. But if Toyota can keep the price of a Yaris hybrid under say, $15,000, and offer Prius-like gas mileage, they could have a real winner. Toyota is also planning to bring hybrid technology to all of its European models in the coming years. See, who says I never have anything nice to say about Toyota?
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to Hemis. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.