This is the ideal automobile. You may not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like. The new Yaris ECOVan is pretty much just the regular Yaris Hybrid but with the rear seats removed and replaced with a flat load floor and a cage separating the driver compartment from whatever they’re carrying. For urban dwellers, white van people, and ‘last mile’ deliveries, I can’t think of a much better vehicle than this to get around town while still carrying pretty much everything you’d ever need to carry.
There are three variants of Yaris available in Europe right now. You can get the hatchback-on-stilts Yaris Cross CUV, the positively mental GR Yaris, or the regular hybrid hatchback (avec or sans rear seating). That’s quite the variety of purpose from the same chassis and same basic shape. Is the Yaris the most versatile automobile on the market right now? I think it might be.
Toyota says the ECOVan will haul up to 948 pounds of cargo, which isn’t nothing. Without seats to muck up the back of the car, the Yaris will fit around 25.5 cubic feet of cargo. For comparison, that’s more space than most three-row SUVs offer with the seats up. Sure, it’s nowhere near the 105 cubic feet that the comparatively cavernous Ford Transit Connect offers. Of course the more expensive Transit Connect is much bigger but is capped with a maximum payload of just 1510 pounds! The Yaris is also a much smaller and more nimble city maneuverable vehicle with a gloriously efficient and reliable hybrid powertrain.
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If you don’t need to carry a cargo van’s worth of stuff, and you want better operating costs, you’d be hard pressed to find a better small delivery vehicle than the Yaris ECOVan right now. Of course, there’s no way in hell you’d ever get something like this here in the U.S. market. Right now the ECOVan is limited to Spain, but will expand across Europe in due course.
The ECOVan is only available in the standard hybrid drivetrain fitted to the regular Yaris, which is a 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor with a combined output of 116 horsepower and 104 lb-ft of torque. On the WTLP cycle, the Yaris returns an impressive fuel economy rating of 54.7 miles per gallon. Imagine hauling all that stuff and still getting fuel economy in the 50s! Amazing.