Spied: 2012 Toyota Yaris

Toyota will introduce its smallest hybrid to date with a variant of the next-generation Yaris, which has recently been spied testing in Europe.

The Japanese manufacturer intends to ‘roll down’ hybrid technology from the Prius to bread-and-butter models, and it recently started this with the Auris.

The next Yaris is designed as a mild refresh, as it makes extensive use of the current car’s bodywork.

But as Toyota is working on a hybrid addition to the range, it will be bringing the technology to the Fiesta and Polo sector for the first time.

It’s unlikely that the Yaris will be able to accommodate the 1.8-litre petrol engine from the Prius and Auris powertrains. But Toyota does have 1.33 and 1.0-litre motors at its disposal.

The Yaris and Auris hybrids will give Toyota a two-pronged defence against new opposition in the market from Honda, which is set to launch a petrol-electric version of the next Jazz.

The forthcoming Yaris is likely to mark a split in small-car policy between Europe and the US. Toyota North America is said to have been lobbying for the car to move up in size, but this has been resisted.

Instead, the US arm will unveil its own concept at January’s Detroit motor show, pointing towards a slightly larger B-segment model. It’s also unlikely to be a hybrid car.

The new Yaris could appear in Japanese showrooms as the Vitz by early next year, but confusingly, a small concept pointing to the European version of the car is due at next spring’s Geneva motor show. Sales of the Yaris will then begin here late next summer; the hybrid should appear in 2012.

Toyota is also lining up a Yaris-based rival for the Vauxhall Meriva at the Paris show in October. The mini-MPV is said to contain some styling cues that will feature on the next Yaris.

Thanks to: Autocar


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