Practical experience Toyota Yaris Hybrid: how good is ‘the new one’?

‘A completely different car when it comes to driving experience’

Toyota Yaris Hybrid GR Sport

If you need sparkle and enthusiasm, you probably don’t immediately think of a Toyota Yaris. At least not until 2020, when the model finally fell prey to Akio Toyoda’s now somewhat worn statement ‘no more boring cars’. It must be said, not without results. A Yaris has never looked as fresh as the current generation. But there is more than meets the eye. How good is the car under that sharply drawn body? We will take a look at the user reviews.

We previously looked at user experiences with the previous generation Toyota Yaris, which was delivered between 2011 and 2020. Users noted the somewhat high seating position and the limited adjustable steering wheel, as well as the crosswind sensitivity and the slow central screen. Let’s see if Toyota has been able to solve that with the new generation.

What is certainly striking: where we saw reviews of the 1.0-liter VVT-i and 1.3 VVT-i in the ‘previous’, people now only write about the 1.5 Hybrid with 116 hp system power. Such a hybrid is not mandatory, because you can still choose a common 1.0 (72 hp) or 1.5 (121 hp). And for the 261 hp GR Yaris of course, if you still manage to get one.

Toyota Aygo X vs Toyota Yaris

Is it still practical?

If you look at it, you would say that the Yaris is not the most spacious in its class. If we can believe the next Hybrid driver, that is completely true. “I often read in other reviews that the car in the back is too small. That’s a fair comment, but I don’t consider it a family car but more of a small city car. You can take a number of rear passengers with you for short pick-up and drop-off trips. If you want to regularly drive with rear passengers, it is better to opt for the larger Polo, Corsa or 208.”

A 6-foot rider has a different experience. “The space on the back seat is more than sufficient, once I have adjusted the front seat with my height of 1.80 metres, I can easily sit in the back and still have room for my knees.” Another buyer experiences the space as just sufficient. “It is a great driving car for my wife and me. Our grandchildren can travel in safe car seats. The space in the back seat is limited. But we knew that in advance.” However, in the long term the space proves to be somewhat limited and a solution is found within Toyota’s range. “After 2 years we are exchanging this Yaris for the Yaris Cross Executive with more luxury, but also more practical options.”

Riders have no complaints about the luggage space. “The trunk measures 286 liters. Of course much less than the ocean of space in our previous car, a Camry, but of course we knew that when purchasing. In addition, the weekly groceries fit in the car, as well as large pads for boxing training. Enough space for us,” writes a satisfied rider in this area.

Toyota Yaris vs.  Toyota Corolla

Seating comfort Yaris

With the previous Yaris there were noises about a mediocre seating position, with which the next driver who chose a Yaris First Edition has experience. “The seating position behind the wheel is much better, the steering wheel and seat are easier to adjust. Chairs offer good support and are comfortable.” He also indicates that, despite his height of 1.84 meters, he can sit well ‘behind himself’.

Anyone who is in the market for a Yaris would do well to test drive different versions, which also have different seats. “I specifically chose the Executive because of the seats,” writes a driver who based his choice on the seating comfort. “At that time, this version was only a few tens of euros more expensive per month (private lease). Those chairs alone are more than worth the extra price.”

The driver of a Yaris Active, the second equipment level, has taken matters into his own hands. “You can have the backrest of the seats adjusted for a small fee at a car adjustment company. Afterwards they fit perfectly.” He is also positive about the seating position. “Pedals and steering wheel are at a good distance, which was not the case with the previous generation of Yaris.”

Toyota Yaris vs.  Toyota Corolla

This is how the Yaris drives

The previous Yaris Hybrid was sometimes accused of a stiff character, the new one seems more like a everyone’s friend. “Immediately when driving away you notice that the Yaris responds much more alertly to the accelerator pedal than the previous Hybrid model. The car also feels a lot more mature on the road. I cannot describe it as a small improvement compared to the previous model, this is simply a completely different car when it comes to driving experience, driving comfort and, above all, safety,” writes the clearly satisfied owner of a 2021 Yaris Hybrid.

Another goes into more detail about the driving characteristics. “For a small car in the B segment, the driving quality is superb. The chassis is comfortable on long journeys, and bumps are well filtered out. However, if you want to go around the bend quickly, you can do so with playful ease.”

The next rider even experiences the opposite of a stiff chassis. “The dampers have become a bit more flexible after almost 5,000 kilometers. Especially on slopes and short elevations (slow stroke out), the damping is a bit too weak. The car is therefore a bit shaky. The damping has remained the same on short bumps, which is good. Any stiffer would make the car a bouncer.”

Especially a lot of positive things about the handling, the crosswind sensitivity of the previous model also seems to have disappeared. Yet there is also criticism. Several drivers would prefer to hear less wind and tire noise at highway speed.

Toyota Yaris vs.  Toyota Corolla

Engine and hybrid drive

With the previous Yaris Hybrid, drivers sometimes noticed that the engine screamed when merging and accelerating smoothly. Replacing the old four-cylinder with a new three-cylinder seems to have a beneficial effect on the experience. About the new one, a driver writes: “When accelerating hard you hear the engine giving a raw roar, but sometimes that is also a nice sound. He screams with pleasure, but then you also move forward like the proverbial fire brigade in Power mode.”

If you take it a bit calmer, the hybrid Yaris will also behave the same way. “Where the new Yaris really excels is the interplay between the combustion and electric motor,” writes the driver of a 1.5 Hybrid Dynamic from 2020. “This goes through the interior without vibrations or shocks. The only difference is the sound of the combustion engine that you will hear in the background. However, you usually have to look carefully at your digital meters to know whether you are driving fully electric or combined.” We previously found out how economical the Yaris is in practice; you can read the article about it here.

Toyota Yaris vs.  Toyota Corolla

Disruptions and irritations

The previous Yaris scored well on reliability with its owners, but it turned out not to be completely problem-free. Riders complained, among other things, about creaking noises from the front axle, and someone was also stranded with an empty 12-volt battery. We don’t hear any noise from drivers of ‘the new’, other than those of wind and tires. However, two riders were stranded with an empty 12V battery. “When it does it, it’s a nice car to drive. But precisely because we drive little and make short journeys, the starter battery is not charged sufficiently and we have now had starting problems 6 times,” reports a driver who has had this happen to him. This remains a point of attention for Toyota.

Another annoyance has been addressed in the ‘lesser suffering’ category. “Practically all switches are now illuminated in the dark, which was not the case in the previous model. For example, the switches on the steering wheel were not illuminated before, but with this new model they are,” reports an owner happily.

Some private drivers are less satisfied with the maintenance prices. “In March 2022, the standard maintenance (including roadside assistance) cost me €237.61,” writes an owner. “The car recently went back to the dealer for maintenance, but the standard maintenance service cost around 400 euros. That was too much for me, so I took the budget version without roadside assistance and ‘hybrid security-control’. But that still cost 322.26 euros.” Another driver thinks the same: “First service costs €328.44 for just under an hour of work. I think it’s a good price.” The maintenance interval of the Yaris Hybrid is 15,000 kilometers or one year.

No more complaints about slow infotainment

Finally, we no longer read complaints about the slowness of the infotainment screen. The new system therefore appears to have been improved, although it appears that these improvements also pose new problems. “The connection with Android Auto is unstable and regularly fails,” says the driver of a 2022 Yaris Hybrid. “The dealer has acknowledged this problem, but cannot find the cause. They have now installed a phone holder in the car at their expense, so that we can navigate directly on our phones. Of course, that’s not why you choose a car with such a nice multimedia screen.”

Bottom line, the new Toyota Yaris seems to be a success again. It does not excel in space, but those who need more of that can now opt for the more practical Yaris Cross. The handling appears to have been refined and the hybrid drivetrain, with continuously variable transmission, also seems to appeal to drivers more than before. A problem inherited from its predecessor is the discharge – or insufficient charging – of the 12V battery, although most drivers do not experience this in their practice. If you can live with the limited space, the current Yaris seems ‘no more boring’, without having to make any concessions. And otherwise there is the Yaris Cross.

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