Toyota's hybrid range
August should be as easy-going as the ride in Toyota’s growing range of full hybrid models, so this month it’s time to Trybrid and find out exactly what the clean vehicle technology has
to offer. Toyota Centres around the country are offering test drives in all the latest hybrids, and giving customers’ cars a free wash into the bargain.
Toyota believes those who have never tried hybrid before are in for a pleasant surprise, not least in the quiet, smooth and refined performance that’s a characteristic of its Hybrid Synergy Drive, together with low CO2 emissions that make the majority of the range road tax-exempt, with excellent fuel economy. Low CO2 means low benefit-in-kind tax rates for company car drivers, too.
As full hybrids, these vehicles can be driven for certain distances on their electric power alone, which means near-silent running and zero tailpipe emissions and fuel consumption. That’s a major benefit in slow moving urban traffic, where pollution concerns are highest and, typically, fuel can be wasted Switchable drive modes further enable simple, automatic adjustment of the cars’ performance to favour responsiveness or economy, according to the driver’s preference.
As well as low carbon emissions, Toyota’s hybrids produce almost no NOx and particulate matter – pollutants that have a damaging effect on air quality. The drive system incorporates an automatic stop-start function, and it recovers energy under braking and deceleration, feeding it back as electricity to store in the hybrid battery.
In spite of being technically advanced, Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive has proved robust and reliable. That quality is backed up by a warranty that goes beyond Toyota’s established five years/100,000 miles new car cover to provide eight years peace-of-mind protection for the hybrid battery.
Toyota’s Trybrid promotion will continue throughout August, with further details available at toyota.co.uk and from local Toyota Centres.
The line-up’s latest additions are the British-built Auris Hybrid and Auris Hybrid Touring Sports, a compact family hatch and wagon that have their rivals beaten with their combination of tax-busting low emissions and impressive official fuel consumption figures. And there’s no compromise on the room inside, as Toyota’s clever packaging of the hybrid system has avoided any intrusion in the boot space.
That intelligent packaging can also be appreciated in Yaris Hybrid, a super-efficient supermini in which Toyota has successfully downsized its Hybrid Synergy Drive system. All the more attractive are combined cycle fuel consumption of up 81mpg and CO2 emissions from just 79g/km.
Prius is the original Toyota hybrid car and the pathfinder for its technological leadership. Since the original model arrived in the UK in 2000 it has been steadily improved so that today’s third generation model is more efficient than ever.
More than that, Prius has grown from a single hatchback option to a family of three models, extending its appeal to an even wider customer base. Toyota has used light and compact lithium-ion battery technology to develop Prius into the Prius+ compact MPV. With the smaller battery pack slotted neatly between the front seats, it is the first full hybrid on the market to offer seven seats on board. Again, emissions start below the 100g/km road tax benchmark, with average fuel consumption from 68.8mpg (official combined cycle).
For the latest development in Toyota’s petrol-electric hybrid technology, Prius Plug-in provides even greater all-electric driving range, at higher speeds. On a full charge it can cover around 14 miles, which is enough to cover most typical daily commutes. Unlike all-electric vehicles, there is no risk of coming to halt once battery charge is exhausted; instead the hybrid system’s 1.8-litre engine automatically comes into play, removing any “range anxiety” about whether a journey can be completed.
Recharging the lithium-ion battery is simple, safe and quick and can be accomplished using a standard domestic or workplace supply, or a roadside charging point. Toyota customers choosing Prius Plug-in can also take advantage of a free wallbox charging point offer from British Gas, which provides a survey and same-day installation of a dedicated home charging socket, complete with a data capture function. This offer has been made possible by the Government’s Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicle grant funding, an incentive for people to buy electric vehicles that also contributes £5,000 towards the new car list price.