Report 3: The cold weather is taking its toll on efforts to match the official fuel figures.
Gosh, it’s cold. It’s so much nicer to have a car to sit in than to be waiting around on a train station platform, but one of the big downsides for me with the Yaris Hybrid is that it doesn’t come with heated seats. You get to a certain age and that’s all you begin to look for in a motor, those creature comforts.
There’s an even bigger downside when it comes to a hybrid like the Yaris though – when you run the heaters in cold weather it means the engine has to come on to warm the air up, which means that you can’t enjoy a spot of silent battery-only running and the smugness that comes with it.
The combination of heating up the engine to warm the air blowers and the cold weather sapping the performance of the batteries has meant a serious dip in fuel consumption figures. I usually drive with a careful right shoe, but the economic downturn is making me doubt my abilities. Hopefully the weather will warm up again soon and we’ll see a commensurate rise in the mpg figures.
Not being able to run in EV mode seriously damages the appeal of the Yaris – there’s much fun to be had harvesting energy where you can, coming off the accelerator early and letting the hybrid system use the momentum to generate electricity. The CVT auto gearbox automatically sits at high revs as soon as you get going, but that normally serves as an encouragement to take it easy. If the engine is working away in cold weather it’ll rev up regardless of how much you’re gunning the accelerator, which can leave you feeling a little nervy.
One particular highlight of the last few weeks has been finally finding a local jet wash to take the Yaris along to – nine minutes with a high-pressure hose and hot foam brush is all the therapy anyone ever needs in life, and I had forgotten how stylish the white Bi-tone model looks with its white body and black roof. I’ve seen other Yarises on the road in various shades, but they just don’t like quite as good as this one.
There's room for five in here – the Yaris is bigger than it looks
Friends and family are keen on the looks
Hybrid tech remains a novelty around town
Fuel economy continues to disappoint
The interior is robust rather than exciting
The steering lock is surprisingly poor
Our car: Toyota Yaris Hybrid 1.5 VVT-i Hybrid CVT White Bi-tone
|Est. PCP finance||£297.81 per month (£3,119 deposit, 10,000 miles per year)|
|Options on test car||Toyota Touch 2 with Go navigation – £650|
|Price as tested||£20,795|
|Warranty||Five years/100,000 miles|
12 months/10,000 miles