Toyota Australia backflips on sub-$30,000 Yaris Hybrid for 2024 after denying plans, axing petrol versions

The sub-$30,000 Yaris returns, as a new entry-level hybrid appears just weeks after Toyota Australia said it would not offer one – and axed the cheaper petrol-only variants.

Toyota Australia has introduced a new entry-level Yaris Hybrid variant after telling media just two weeks ago – when it announced regular petrol versions would be axed – that it had “no plans” for a sub-$30,000 hybrid grade.

The deletion of petrol-powered variants would have seen the price of the cheapest Yaris leap from $24,800 plus on-road costs for the base Ascent Sport petrol, to $30,190 for the most affordable hybrid – based on the middle-of-the-range SX.

However it has introduced a new hybrid version of the Ascent Sport priced from $28,500 plus on-road costs – while handing the SX with a $1770 price rise to $31,960, and the ZR a $1270 increase at $34,530, as part of a styling and technology update.

It contradicts the “no plans” response given by Toyota Australia sales and marketing boss Sean Hanley two weeks ago – after the regular petrol versions were axed – when asked specifically by Drive if “there is room for a more affordable Yaris Hybrid in the line-up”.

Mr Hanley told Drive at the time $30,000 is the lowest price at which Toyota can sell a modern hybrid passenger car with the expected safety equipment – and that buyers with only $20,000 or $25,000 to spend should look at the brand’s Certified Pre-Owned vehicles.

At the time of writing, the cheapest Toyota Certified Pre-Owned vehicle listed for sale on the brand’s website is a 2016 Yaris Ascent automatic at $17,990 drive-away.

For reference, the 2016 Yaris Ascent automatic was priced at $16,820 before on-road costs when new, though $17,490 drive-away offers were frequent at the time.

Regardless, the 2024 Yaris Ascent Sport is now the most affordable brand-new Toyota passenger car, while the petrol-powered 4×2 HiLux single-cab chassis manual ute remains the brand’s cheapest new vehicle of any type, at $26,475 before on-road costs.

New for the 2024 Yaris range are updates to the Toyota Safety Sense suite, which now includes motorcycle and oncoming vehicle detection for its autonomous emergency braking system, improved intersection collision avoidance, and emergency steering assist – the latter two only available during the day.

Toyota says it has also improved the adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist features, which now work with a wider field of view.

Inside, the 2024 Yaris is fitted with the company’s latest infotainment system, stepping up the touchscreen size from 7.0 inches to 8.0, and introducing new software capable of wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and in-built satellite navigation.

The SX and ZR grades also feature an upgraded, “embedded” version of the satellite navigation system.

Each variant also gains two USB-C charging ports, as well as a USB-C port that can stream media to the infotainment system. Buyers opting for an SX or ZR are also now treated to a larger, more customisable 7.0-inch driver display.

There is also a new front grille pattern – in resin on the Ascent Sport and SX, or dark chrome on the ZR – plus ‘HEV’ badges replacing the ‘Hybrid’ logos, new seat patterns across the range, including for the ZR’s sports seats, and a revised exterior colour palette with eight options.

All versions of the current Yaris are powered by a petrol-electric hybrid system that pairs a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a combined output of 85kW.

With drive sent to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the 2024 Yaris range is claimed to return fuel economy of 3.3 litres per 100km.

2024 Toyota Yaris price in Australia

  • Yaris Ascent Sport – $28,500 (new)
  • Yaris SX – $31,960 (up $1770)
  • Yaris ZR – $34,530 (up $1270)

Note: All prices above exclude on-road costs.

2024 Toyota Yaris Ascent Sport Hybrid standard features:

  • Halogen headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Resin front grille
  • 15-inch steel wheels
  • Temporary steel wheel
  • Auto-folding side mirrors
  • Cloth fabric upholstery
  • Plastic-wrapped steering wheel
  • Analogue instrument cluster
  • 4.2-inch driver display
  • Toyota Safety Sense
    • Autonomous emergency braking
    • Adaptive cruise control
    • Lane-keep assist and lane-departure warning
    • Traffic sign recognition
    • Automatic high beams
  • Reversing camera
  • Eight airbags
  • Keyless entry
  • Push-button start
  • 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen
    • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
    • Digital radio
    • Satellite navigation
  • Six-speaker sound system

2024 Toyota Yaris SX Hybrid standard features (over Ascent Sport):

  • LED headlights and tail-lights
  • 15-inch alloy wheels
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Leather-accented steering wheel
  • 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Embedded satellite navigation

2024 Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid standard features (over SX):

  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Rear spoiler
  • Dark chrome front grille
  • Black-painted mirror caps
  • Three two-tone colour options
  • Sports seats
  • Illuminated front centre console box
  • Piano-black interior accents
  • Red dashboard and door card inserts
  • Blind-spot monitoring with safe exit assist
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Head-up display

Tung Nguyen

Tung Nguyen has been in the automotive journalism industry for over a decade, cutting his teeth at various publications before finding himself at Drive in 2024. With experience in news, feature, review, and advice writing, as well as video presentation skills, Tung is a do-it-all content creator. Tung’s love of cars first started as a child watching Transformers on Saturday mornings, as well as countless hours on PlayStation’s Gran Turismo, meaning his dream car is a Nissan GT-R, with a Liberty Walk widebody kit, of course.

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