This is an old story by now (in fact, it is exactly a year old) but I am posting it because I love the Netherlands, and also the Yaris hybrid.
This one features a 2015 model that I was using in Eindhoven last fall, and I just happened to be in the great city of Eindhoven on September 18, the 75th anniversary of the city’s emancipation at the end of WWII.
(Eindhoven, Netherlands) All right, here’s what I want you to do: go to Europe and drive a Toyota Yaris Hybrid. Not just anywhere in Europe, either, I want you to go specifically to Eindhoven, Holland.
Go ahead and ignore me if you want, but Eindhoven is a delightful place; and you have go to Europe to get the Yaris hybrid anyway, as they aren’t sold here, so go to Eindhoven.
I used mine to bolt out of Frankfurt after the auto show, and took down the A3 highway to Holland. As you know, long stretches of the Autobahn have no speed limit, and while the compact hybrid can’t touch the Carreras and R8s racing down the road in the left lane, he specs on the Hybrd Yaris say that it tops out at 165 km/h.
I got pretty close to that, too (the car, while not a prizewinner in acceleration, will handle sustained high speed pretty admirably) but I chickened out of pushing it to the limit as it rained hard on me for most of the trip.
Ever since I learned they exist, at Toyota’s Hybrid World Tour showcase a couple of years ago I wanted to try one; big fan of alt-fuel low-emitters that I am (I also learned that Toyota sells a ton of gas-electric powertrain vehicles that we don’t get here in North America, from minivan to Corolla – the closest equivalent you can find on our side of the Atlantic would be the even smaller Prius C or the Lexus equivalent CT200h).
Compact though it may be, the Yaris was far from the smallest vehicle on the road in the Eurozone, where it dwarfed a lot of Clio and Peugeot cars but still fit right in. The hatchback bodystyle is the way to go in small cars, as far as I am concerned; with an easy access cargo area that holds enough stuff to make it a suitable do-all daily commuter.
This one, also contained, thankfully, an excellent navigation module (with an English language option, thank golly) which is the only reason I am not still driving around south Holland, lost and starving; because hey: have you ever tried to find an address in The Netherlands?
The streets are, shall we say, non-intuitive – I drove past my hotel like three times when I got to the city of Eindhoven – and the nav is invaluable if you’re like me and don’t actually know where you’re going and just sort of make up destinations at the last minute, real haphazard-like.
I’ll tell ya where the real value of my Yaris Hybrid test car was, though; fuel economy! This is no small concern in Europe, either; gas was going for the equivalent of $2.31 a litre while I was over there, and here’s the really interesting part: I can’t believe the fuel efficiency I got with the car.
This may be the best I have ever seen, in any hybrid. I’m pretty sure I am doing the math correctly, here – I drove the little car a total of 703 km between fills, and it took 23 litres to top it up. That works out to 3.27L/100km, which is fantastic.
I’m not sure what the takeaway is here, the moral of the story, as it were. Is it “let’s hope the Yaris Hybrid makes it to Canada one day soon?” Is it “gas-electric powertrains are the way to go in the future?”
No. The moral here is: let’s all go visit Eindhoven.
2015 Toyota Yaris hybrid
Trim level: Comfort 5-door
Price as tested (before taxes): 18,790 Euros ($27,527 CDN)
Engine/transmission: 1.5L 4-cylinder with electric motor/ CVT automatic
Power/torque: 98 hp/ 820 lb.-ft.
Fuel (capacity): regular
Fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 3.1 city, 3.3 hwy
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 3.3 over 703 km
Competitors: Ford C-Max, Honda Civic hybrid, other Toyota hybrids
Strengths: Super fuel economy, all-round usefulness, fierce styling
Weaknesses: a little on the ‘subcompact’ side for family use, not available in North America yet