Toyota has introduced the fourth generation of the technology it has been pioneering: that of the self-charging hybrid. In this case, a 1.5-litre three-cylinder is mated to an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery under the rear seats. The three-cylinder is an Atkinson-cycle engine, which is all about efficiency. With a combined output of 116hp, it proves to be sufficiently powerful.
It goes from 0 to 100km/h in 9.7 seconds. The powertrain performs superbly and the electric motor can now reach 130km/h without the assistance of the petrol engine. Although it has no sporting ambitions, it accelerates swiftly. At full throttle, the three-cylinder grumbles heavily and there is still something of a coffee grinder effect (the engine revving up and staying in the higher rpm zone as the car accelerates very gradually), but that noise disappears immediately once the speed stabilises. Official consumption figures are 20 percent lower than those of its predecessor. During our test the Yaris used up 4.5L/100km, an excellent result.