The new Toyota Yaris hybrid arrives as Renault wakes up with the Clio E-Tech, whose technology is innovative. So which of the seasoned Yaris or the new Clio is the best 2020 city hybrid car?
A major specialist in hybridization since the end of the 1990s, Toyota decided in 2012 to use this technology for its Yaris. The third generation of the Japanese city car was then the only hybrid in its segment , if we except the Honda Jazz (second generation), whose electrification was more limited. For the fourth version of Yaris which interests us today, the task will be more difficult, since Honda returns to business with a new, more ambitious Jazz equipped with a completely new hybrid system, while Renault is launching into the battle for city cars. hybrids, with a Clio E-Tech which inaugurates truly innovative technology.
Thus, after letting its two new rivals face each other in a first match , the new Yaris hybrid must now face the Clio E-Tech. And despite its greater experience in hybridization, the task does not seem so simple for the Japanese, Renault having carefully prepared its response. Toyota has not been idle either and the Yaris 4 changes almost everything compared to its predecessor. New platform, new hybrid system, and even a whole new look for this Yaris, which seems to want to break the codes and to forget the very wise image of the old model. The small Japanese then displays a much more dynamic style, with a playful touch, while the Clio is more flattering, even almost statutory in this Initiale Paris version, highlighting its greater length (10 cm more than the Yaris ).
Two quite distinct hybrid systems
For its very first full hybrid model, Renault has not done things by halves and has developed a new system , based on a 1.6 atmospheric 91 hp engine associated with two electric motors and a 1.2 kWh lithium-ion battery. . The big innovation comes from the clutchless gearbox, which has four gears for the heat engine and two for the electric. For its part, the Yaris now uses a new three-cylinder 1.5 engine, also 91 hp and coupled to two electric motors and a lithium-ion battery (nickel metal hydride on the old model). The box remains CVT type, as on all Toyota hybrids.
The cumulative power announced by Renault is greater than that of the Yaris, with 140 hp against 116 hp, compensating for the overweight of the French (1238 kg against 1105 kg). On the other hand, in terms of performance, it is the Japanese which slightly regains the advantage on paper, claiming 9.7 s on the 0 to 100 km / h exercise against 9.9 s for the Clio. Finally, let’s come to what seems most interesting about a hybrid: consumption. This would be more contained on the Yaris, announced for 3.7 l / 100 km against 4.4 l / 100 km on the Clio , but we will see that in reality this difference appears in the end much less significant.
Toyota Yaris and Renault Clio Hybrid price
One thing is certain, with the purchase, the price difference turns out for its part far from being negligible , since the Yaris hybrid is accessible from 20,950 €, while the Clio E-Tech claims at least 22,600 €. In the high finishes of our test models, the gap widens further, while the Yaris Première appears at € 25,450, against € 28,200 for the Clio Initiale Paris. Of course, in both cases, the standard equipment is rather complete, with in particular the keyless opening and starting, full LED lights, 17-inch rims, the reversing camera, heated front seats, the digital dashboard, the blind spot detector, or the premium audio system (Bose at Renault and JBL at Toyota).
However, the Yaris turns out to be even more generousand additionally offers the panoramic roof, the head-up display, as well as the central airbags, which are exclusive to the segment. And if the adaptive cruise control can be chosen on the Clio, it remains an option (600 €) while it is standard on the Yaris, just like dual-zone air conditioning (not available on the Clio). To try to catch up, the French can highlight its very beautiful leather upholstery, while that of the Yaris is half in fabric, advance that its central touch screen is larger (9.3 inches instead of 8 inches) , or that it has the 360 ° camera (not available on the Yaris) as well as standard navigation (option at 700 € on Yaris). But that won’t be enough to offset the Toyota advantage in terms of equipment.
Finally, we can add that the Yaris has a guarantee of 3 years or 100,000 km, against 2 years or unlimited mileage at Renault, not to mention that Toyota’s extensive experience in the hybrid can reassure about reliability. Finally, remember that despite their low CO2 emissions, these two cars are unfortunately not entitled to any bonus.
Driving the Yaris Hybrid
When we took it in hand for the first time in February, the new Yaris hybrid really blew us away, so successful was the revolution. And we can say that our reunion on the occasion of this comparison confirms these good impressions. The start in town is done very smoothly and it is now possible to evolve only in electric over several kilometers, up to speeds which can exceed 50 km / h, that as long as one keeps the light foot. But the most astonishing thing is that when one decides to raise the tone, or quite simply that one leaves urban areas, one feels much less than before this sensation of runaway of the heat engine.
Indeed, although the powertrain is still associated with a CVT type box, the new three-cylinder appears less noisy during its revs, not to mention that its sound is more hoarse than that of the old four-cylinder, but above all it seems less used thanks to the greater electrical power. Thus, compared to its predecessor, the new Yaris significantly less requires the driver to adapt his driving to his specific mode of operation and it then approaches by its approval a thermal car with an automatic gearbox. All while offering incomparable softness in the city. On the performance side, progress is again evident, with sharper acceleration (0 to 100 km / h announced in 9.7 s) and greater ease when overtaking.
n addition, this previously very wise city car now boasts a much more playful character, thanks to a certain liveliness as well as a surprising agility.. The steering, while still a bit too light, is otherwise precise and informative. On small roads, we are surprised to follow the turns with enthusiasm, while the rear axle shows a certain mobility, surprising and welcome. Of course, the favorite terrain of the Yaris remains the city, where its great maneuverability, its very short turning radius and its smaller than average size work miracles. The comfort of the damping is also found to be good in urban areas, but the relative flexibility of the suspensions then generates certain body movements in the winding. Finally, on the consumption side, the Japanese appears particularly frugal and we have consumed an average of 4.4 l / 100 km on our test route, including almost as many cities as there are motorways, but also some portions of national roads. And that, without playing the game of eco-driving.
At the wheel of the Clio E-Tech
Coming out of the Yaris, we tell ourselves that Toyota has definitely mastered its subject and that it will be very difficult for the Clio E-Tech to cope with this benchmark. However, the first kilometers covered in town with the Clio surprise very pleasantly, offering sensations quite similar to those of an electric.Although most of the time, the heat engine runs at constant speed in order to recharge the battery, the car is driven solely by electric power, and this up to speeds exceeding 50 km / h. Only, unlike the Yaris, it is not necessarily necessary to maintain a smooth ride to remain fully electric. We are much less hesitant to use this nervousness at the green light, to make starts almost as sharp as with a zero-emission city car .
The Clio thus seems to have more electric power than the Yaris and this would be due in particular to the fact that it carries a larger capacity battery (1.2 kWh, while this data is not communicated for the Yaris). Even on the motorway at stabilized speed, it is not uncommon for the French to return to 100% electric and does not consume a drop of gasoline over a few kilometers. Beyond the fact that the all-electric range of use appears wider than on the Yaris, the common operation of the combustion and electric motors also seems a little smoother, except for a few unpleasant jolts due to the dog box, especially during deceleration.
Less agile and manoeuvrable in town than the Yaris, the Clio is also less distracting to drive when the road becomes twisty. On the other hand, it appears more at ease than its rival in the great outdoors and almost seems to belong to the upper segment , while the Japanese appears a bit like the perfect city car. Side suspensions, the Clio also seems a little firmer, especially at low speed, but it contains better cash movements than the Yaris at a more sustained pace. In terms of consumption, despite its greater power and weight compared to the Yaris, the Clio E-Tech is almost as sober and we obtained an average of 4.5 l / 100 km on the same route. ‘trial.