Yaris Hybrid thrives in a jam
THE British are passionate about queues, according to research from Onepoll.com. I passionately hate them.
And so it is with a sinking feeling that I find myself in yet another claustrophobic traffic jam. But hang on a minute, it's a much more positive experience because I'm driving a Toyota Yaris Hybrid and it thrives in such situations. In fact it is possible to travel up to two miles at 30mph on its electric motor thus conserving expensive petrol.
The times I sit in mile-long tailbacks either frustrated that the engine is using so much fuel while it ticks over or wondering whether the auto stop/start will actually kick in.
The Yaris Hybrid is a joy because, as long as the driver is light with the right foot and the motor is sufficiently charged, it will automatically crawl along in ev (electric vehicle) mode. If it doesn't then there is an ev switch. Either way progress is similar to the sound and pace of a milk float. Woe betide the impatient motorist because apply too much pressure on the accelerator and it'll start guzzling fuel.
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There's a similar temptation when other irritated motorists are forced to form an orderly queue behind as the driver nurses the little hybrid on its way. But when the traffic is slow, the Yaris Hybrid comes into its own.
Normal driving results in the engine charging the motor back up in time to be used in another queue.
I would be happier if this hybrid technology was coupled to a more efficient diesel engine as it consumes too much petrol for my liking, really only allowing around 350 miles of travel on a full tank.
The tank is 36 litres or 7.9 gallons (compared to 42 litres in a standard Yaris, to make room for the hybrid battery) and during my test it has averaged 44mpg. This makes it much more appropriate for pottering around town than motorway munching.
But it does have an excellent cruise control that can be used at speeds of 26mph and above as well as with ev mode. It can be set at 30mph and no matter whether travelling downhill or up it will stick rigidly to this speed, which is particularly helpful when a speed camera is present.
A unique interior is made all the more so by what appears to be a light turquoise woodchip wallpaper effect on the dashboard and door inserts. It is actually a fabric but at a quick glance looks very much like wallpaper.
It is equipped with a good level of features including all round electric windows, air conditioning, sat-nav and a CD player.