According to a report originating from a Japanese newspaper, Toyota is planning to add another smaller, cheaper hybrid to its global lineup. The new model would be based on the Yaris sub-compact and be priced well below the current cheapest hybrid: the Honda Insight. This would be consistent with Toyota's oft-repeated plans to launch hybrid variants of almost every vehicle it sells over the next decade. The price in Japan could reportedly be as low as $15,650, and according to the Yomiuri Shimbun, the Yaris hybrid could achieve a fuel efficiency rating as high as 94 mpg!
Unfortunately, this is based on the same Japanese 10-15 urban test cycle that rated the new Prius at 89 mpg. While it's not unusual for dedicated hyper-milers to rack up those kinds of numbers, they are utterly unrealistic in real world driving conditions. Most likely we'll end up with EPA ratings in the low 50s and real world performance in the high 40s for most drivers. Although the Yaris is smaller than the Insight, Honda will have something to worry about if this new hybrid makes those kinds of mileage numbers and hits that price point.
[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]