Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Hybrid driving - the verdict

Well, the fuel consumption is clearly much lower than in an ordinary petrol-engined car. I picked up the Yaris Hybrid with 10,664 miles on the clock; 426 miles travelled. Fuel used 6.6 gallons (or 30.3 litres). This gives fuel consumption of 64 miles to the gallon, of 4.4 litres per 100 km. Bearing in mind that is was mostly motorway and main-road driving, more than half of which was carrying four adults and luggage, is a 'ver very good rezultat'. Carrying a lighter load, the pure-petrol Fiat 500 I hired in November returned 45 miles to the gallon (6.3 litres per 100 km).

The optimal fuel consumption eked out from a hybrid car would be around town; below 30 mph (50 km/h) the hybrid becomes an EV or electric vehicle. Over that speed, the petrol engine kicks in, charging the batteries for whenever the car slows back down again in town traffic.

Sitting in jams, the petrol engine is still, pressing the accelerator pedal launches the car forward in silence, like a milk-float. The display panel shows 100 mpg (2.8l /100km) when the car's in EV mode. Pulling up a hill, on a motorway, at 70 mph, with four adults and luggage, I can push the display down to read 25 mpg (11.3l /100km), but regular motorway driving gives around 50 mpg (5.6l /100km). The hybrid's not showing its full potential on motorways.

When not keeping an eye on fuel consumption, there's the SatNav to show the way. This would be OK, but my eyesight's not what it was. Watching the road, my eyes are OK, focusing into the distance. To read, I wear reading glasses (+2.75 diopters), but the SatNav screen's too far for that, so basically, it's hard to read while driving. A bit of a distraction anyway, but one for auto manufacturers to bear in mind given the aging demographics of drivers (and more importantly) car buyers.

Other than the hybrid engine mated to automatic gearbox and the SatNav, there's little difference in driving the new Yaris and our one. The solidity and unquestionable reliability of a Toyota is reassuring. But I could not bring myself to buy something as ugly as this. Today, all Toyotas and Lexuses are marred by their hideous appearance. I just hope the current fad for cars that look creased, crumpled and pre-crashed will soon pass.

Below: nice car, shame about the irredeemable ugliness. Yaris, as in Yer Aris as in Aristotle = bottle = bottle an' glass [Cockney Rhyming Slang]. Looks like one.

Below: this is how I see the crass, contrived, strained front end of the current Toyotas, desperately wanting to appear modern; it is the antithesis of effortless elegance (as displayed by the Fiat 500).

I hope that in a few years time, I'll be able to hire a pure electric car with enough battery range to get from London to Derby in one go. Until then, the hybrid's a better bet than old-school pure fossil-fuel guzzler. In the meanwhile, Toyota's designers should go back to basics, look at some beautiful cars and get inspired by timeless elegance, not here-today-gone-tomorrow fads.

This time three years ago:
Pitshanger Lane in the sun

This time This time six years ago:
Miserable, grey, wet London

This time seven years ago:
Parrots in Ealing

This time eight years ago:
Heathrow to Okęcie

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you might have spell-checked yourself into Americana again.

Milk floats are those wonderful vehicles which could have taken over the world with the advent of internet deliveries, but didn't, despite my entreaties. Vested interests.

And milk-floats, a ghastly mixture of pop (?) and dairy.

It brings to mind a Sperm Surprise - Bailey's and lemonade.

Definitely worth trying; just the once.