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Toyota Yaris Liftback – Click above for high-res image gallery

Toyota's got hybrids on the brain. Already the undisputed leader in the gas-electric vehicle market, Asahi (via Reuters) reports the Japanese automaker is planning to launch a new compact hybrid based on the next-gen Yaris platform and due to go on sale in Japan for 1.5 million yen ($15,760) by 2011. That bargain-basement price will be made possible by a low-cost version of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, used in the current Prius and featuring a downsized four-cylinder engine that may make it even more fuel efficient than its larger sibling.

In addition to production plants in its home market of Japan, the report indicates that Toyota may also assemble the compact hybrid in France for the European market. This news comes just weeks after Toyota officially announced its intentions to build a hybrid version of its Auris hatchback in the United Kingdom. We certainly wouldn't be surprised if Toyota imported either of the new hybrids to the States in light of the success it's seen with the Prius.

It's expected that the new Yaris-based hybrid will go head-to-head with Honda's recently announced Fit Hybrid. While Toyota's interest in hybrid technology is anything but new, the fuel-saving models have just recently earned the top sales spots in Japan and are expected to be increasingly important in over the next few years as the latest round of strict emissions and fuel economy requirements are implemented worldwide.

[Source: Reuters]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hah, this is going to decimate the Volt (if it ever comes out) and Detroit will be caught with its pants down AGAIN.
        • 5 Years Ago
        First off, the volt is going to be an electric vehicle that will be tuned to give more of a sporty ride rather than whatever you want to call the type of ride the Prius gives (maybe a college professor would be able to find a word that bad).
        Second, this is going to be a hybrid (as in gas powered, battery assisted, we know you take a while to grasp concepts, like how Ford is gaining market share, i.e. taking it away from Toyota) so it doesn't even compare to the Volt
        Third, it is going to be based off of the Yaris, so.... I don't even know where to go from there, the Yaris just sucks.
        Fourth, I never got a response from you on the Lincoln post, I'd like your sentiments on that. http://www.autoblog.com/2009/07/27/report-lincoln-and-mercurys-new-direction-involves-downsizing/3 (in case you forgot, unless it's just that I embarrassed you too badly)
        • 5 Years Ago
        True, but most objective observers would agree that a $16K iQ-based hybrid getting > 50 MPG will likely sell much better than a Chevy ER-EV costing $40K upfront (although it will benefit from a $7,500 federal income tax credit).

        The Volt is an intriguing car, but it will be financially impractical for the vast majority of consumers.

        And the styling of the iQ is generally getting strong reviews (the biggest criticisms have been about the price and engine). Presumably, the next generation Yaris (and its hybrid derivative) will be a larger version of the iQ.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Okay... I didn't realize that they're changing platforms, but what's so great about the iQ, and the main point is that Brian is an idiot troll and he's comparing an extended range electric car that is designed to be sporty to a regular hybrid subcompact from Toyota.
        • 5 Years Ago
        to merlot066,

        You need to read the post a little bit more closely:

        "Asahi (via Reuters) reports the Japanese automaker is planning to launch a new compact hybrid based on the next-gen Yaris platform . . . ."

        from the Reuters article:

        "Toyota's new hybrid-only compact will use the platform and engine of the Yaris compact, which will be fully remodeled ahead of the new hybrid's launch . . . ."

        The next-generation Yaris will reportedly be based on the iQ platform.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Att : Thunderbuck - you have completely ignored motoring in the real world ... theory and reality all-to-often returns vastly different results and i am sure most of us would agree.

      Larger vehicles require more power for motivation while obviously light cars require less - makes sense ... right !!

      So, while the Yaris will generate less energy through regenerative braking, it also requires less energy to be propelled.

      Furthermore ... considering Toyota is arguably the industry leader in the development of hybrid technology, do you reckon thier engineers might exhibit the 'know-how' - maybe ... perhaps !!

      I would tend to believe Toyota's engineering expertise in this field then an armchair net blogger.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Att : Merlott066 - lets get something straight here fella ... the Volt is nothing not to mention i reserve little doubt it will return less performance then anticipated.

      Fact to the matter is, while GM aka Government Motors does alot of talk and hype ... Toyota on the otherhand just gets on with business, as usual.

      As it stands - Toyota Hybrid Vehicles (and Honda for that matter) have proven to be utterly reliable, dependable and durable in many markets (and conditions) throughout the world with inexcess of 1 million Prius's sold alone yet GM has yet sold a single example (Volt) let alone been proven in the real world.

      Oh yeah, and while i am at it ... doesn't GM currently have a recall inplace for many of thier hybrid vehicles due to leaking batteries which ultimately shuts down the hybrid system leaving the regular petrol engine operable only.

      GM can hype the Volt as much as they want but truth in the real world is ... it has no proven history unlike the many hybrid vehicles from Toyota whom are undeniably the industry leader in this field
      • 5 Years Ago
      There's a "Law of Diminishing Returns" when it comes to hybrids, and this class demonstrates it perfectly.

      The whole idea of regenerative braking is that you're taking kinetic energy that would normally be burned off as heat in the brakes and actually recapturing some of it for re-use. The more kinetic energy you have to recapture, the better it works. In other words, hybrid tech is best suited to LARGE vehicles. Escalades, transit buses, locomotives, these are the places where hybrid tech works the best.

      In a small vehicle like a Fit or a Yaris, there's not quite as much benefit. Worse, these systems impose a significantly higher weight penalty in proportion. Higher cost, higher complexity... the list goes on.

      This seems like a blind alley. I love hybrid tech, but in this application diesel would be considerably more effective.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh, also locomotives aren't a great application for hybrids, at least not so far. There is too much recaptured energy, you can't find a battery big enough to store enough of it to make the big impact you want. There have been hybrid switching locomotives for years now, but those are by definition usually moving only a few cars at a time and reverse direction a lot. GE is pushing their new long haul (I don't know the real name) hybrid locomotive right now, but it's not a known quantity yet how much it will save. It appears mostly they are concentrating on the reduced trace emissions, even those emissions improvements are more from clean Diesel technology than from being a hybrid and burning less fuel.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "In other words, hybrid tech is best suited to LARGE vehicles."

        This is absolutely true, but the market has its own set of laws--and one of those seems to be, when buyers pay a price premium for hybrid tech, they don't want to continue to get flipped off by hippies. Or, perhaps more accurately, they need to see absolute, not relative, improvements in mileage. Getting 18-20 MPG isn't going to give anyone warm fuzzies, and the fact that it's a 25% improvement on the conventional version doesn't matter if you aren't a mileage-figures nerd, which most non-enthusiasts aren't.

        Given those market preferences, this car seems like a great idea--take a technology that more people desire than can afford, and make it more affordable.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hybrid and Diesel don't really compete. If you drive city a lot, hybrid does a ton better.

        I think also you overstate the problems with light hybrids. You do capture as a whole less energy with regen, but as a percentage, it doesn't change much. As an added bonus, the smaller amount of energy means you need a smaller battery, which brings the cost down. So you still should get almost the same improvement in city fuel economy percentage-wise as a larger car, which never hurts.

        I do agree the up front price is a problem, as I mentioned in my post below. If they can make a hybrid priced like an economy car it'll do great. If the initial cost is higher like it is right now, it won't do so well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You aren't making much sense. You say the cars are too light to benefit from regenerative breaking but at the same time they are too heavy? Since the SUV hybrids you mentioned were big piles of crap that barely extracted an extra MPG for their rater massive price premium, I don't think your theory holds true.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't know what you're talking about with the diesel. The Yaris Diesel is still alive and kicking in Europe and returns a stagering 55.4mpg city and 76.3mpg highway...the hybrid better returns something better
        • 5 Years Ago
        The 2-mode GM SUV hybrids increase fuel economy from 16 combined to 21 combined. That's almost a 1/3 increase in economy! Each one of these vehicles saves more fuel compared to their non-hybrid version than a Camry hybrid does compared to a Camry. They're not losers.

        To the people saying that hybrids save the most fuel on heavy cars, that's true. Diesels also save the most when used on heavy cars. And so go efficient gas cars. ALL reasonable systems of saving fuel accomplish the most when used on vehicles that use the most fuel to start with!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sounds like a great idea. If it's really still a two-mode and it's affordable, this could be huge in the marketplace. Hybrids make a great economy car except for the entry costs, so if they can fix that, they'll really make a big splash.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Att : Geerg - Toyota DID NOT abandon diesel development when they forefieted thier arrangement with Isuzu.

      Incase you haven't noticed (obviously not) but Toyota engineers very good diesel engines and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future especially considering the vast majority of thier 4x4's and commercials sold in many markets throughout the world are powered by a diesel engine.

      Furthermore, Toyota's many diesel powered 4WD's have proven beyond any-doubt to be amoung the most robust, reliable, dependable and durable examples on the market.

      Travel to the most remote, rugged, hot, humid and dusty conditions in Australia which co-incidentally is amoung the most challenging environments on earth and Toyota 4WD's which are overwhelmingly powered by a diesel engine rule the roost ... PERIOD !!

      And in addition, visit the website of Toyota Europe and you will learn that many of thier regular passenger vehicles are infact diesel driven.

      Truth to the matter is ... Toyota is heavily developing hybrid technology yet they continue to develope many extremely capable and proven diesel engines.

      Try telling a typical Australian farmer, countryboy, tradesman, miner or industry worker that they don't ... !!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great move where as Toyota is making hybrids consumers want, unlike the Volt which has flop written all over it.
      JDM Life
      • 5 Years Ago

      Isnt thing thing already highly efficient??? Adding a hybrid system to it will make it unbelievably good on mpg and efficient.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm confused - doesn't the Yaris already get pretty impressive gas mileage? Wouldn't the cost of the hybrid be a significant portion of the vehicle cost?
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