Toyota Planning Yaris-Based Hybrid

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
toyota planning yaris based hybrid

Honda planned its new Insight hybrid to cost less than Toyota’s ubiquitous Prius in hopes of snagging economy-minded hybrid shoppers. Unfortunately for Honda, the Insight wasn’t quite the bargain they’d hoped for. Despite rumors of an $18,500 base MSRP during planning, the Insight ended up just a few grand away from the Prius at $20,470 base (including delivery charge). And now Toyota is returning the favor, telling Automotive News [sub] that it’s planning a Yaris-based “economy hybrid” to undercut the Insight. “We are going to compete by expanding our hybrid-vehicle lineup to smaller hybrids, in the class of the Vitz and Yaris,” says Prisu chief designer Akihiko Otsuka, using both the Japanese domestic and overseas market names for Toyota’s supermini. The implication is that this baby hybrid will hit all of Toyota’s major markets possibly beginning as early as 2011. But Honda isn’t taking the news sitting down reminding AN that a Fit Hybrid is also being planned which could bring Honda’s hybrid entry cost down even further. All of which is good news for hybrids, which seem ready to finally leave behind their eco-accessory reputation and get stuck into some good, old-fashioned value competition.

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4 of 26 comments
  • Carguy64 Carguy64 on Mar 26, 2009

    Why don't Mitsu just come back with a version of the Mirage 1.6 I 4 engine and make a car getting 35/39 without the BS of Hybrid, seriously I had a Colt/Mirage..sat 4 people, though snug, but got dam'm great gas mileage! Really I appriciate the Hybrid techology, but too expensive when new batteries have to be replaced..hence the so- called savings 50/45...break that down when you have to replace the batteries more like 30/35.

  • M1EK M1EK on Mar 26, 2009
    but too expensive when new batteries have to be replaced. Yay! More FUD!
  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Mar 26, 2009
    There’s just one significant problem with the Yaris in hybrid or standard trim - it’s butt ugly. I'm not sure about that. The hatchback gets called "cute" more often than it does "ugly", and isn't objectively that bad-looking a vehicle. The sedan isn't pretty in base trim, but the sport package helps a bit. It's a huge improvement over the Echo, and probably slightly nicer than the Accent, Rio, Aveo and Versa sedans. Not much competition, I know, but the dork-box sedan market is a North American exclusive, and there's only I thought that the Pontiac Aztek took the all time crown for awful design - but the Yaris is giving it stiff competition. Underneath the ugly, the Aztek was a pretty good vehicle. Underneat the ugly on a Yaris, there’s nothing but a penalty box grade shitbox. Oh, come on! The Aztek was a slower, heavier, thirstier, less capable and---this is important---uglier version of GM's excretable minivan platform. I wouldn't call that a "good vehicle underneath the skin" by any stretch.
  • Nikita Nikita on Mar 26, 2009

    "I was surprised to see the Versa has abysmal reliability scores compared to pretty much every other subcompact on the market." A Mexican-built, French-designed car with abysmal reliability scores?