Hybrid driving – Toyota’s top tips for best fuel economy

Want to get the very best out of your ground-breaking Toyota hybrid? We’ve gathered a number of hybrid driving hints and tips that will help you to get the best from the system, improving fuel consumption and getting you further for less.

Our range of Toyota hybrids currently includes:
Yaris Hybrid
Corolla
Corolla Touring Sports

Prius
Seven-seat Prius+
Prius Plug-in
RAV4 Hybrid
C-HR Hybrid
Camry

Whichever Toyota hybrid you’ve set your heart on, the following tips and pointers should maximise the range and fuel economy of your Toyota.

Hybrid driving: the basics

It’s not just hybrids that benefit from the first seven tips – these will help to improve any car’s fuel efficiency:

  • Clear out the boot! Keeping the boot free of unnecessary weight will give your car and immediate boost in performance and economy.
  • Check your tyre pressures – dig out your owner’s manual, and do a weekly check to ensure that your tyres are correctly inflated in line with Toyota’s recommendation. Or read our handy tyre pressures article here.
  • Think ahead – by planning your journeys, you can avoid traffic jams and minimise the likelihood of getting lost.
  • Shut up! Closing the windows and sun roof at speeds above 45mph will reduce drag, reducing fuel consumption.
  • Remove unused roof racks, boxes and bike racks – they’re a real drag too!
  • Steady as she goes – maintain a steady speed and don’t go over the speed limit.
  • Smoothly does it! Try to avoid sudden braking or acceleration.

Hybrid driving: hybrid-specific tips

Sorry everyone else, but these tips are for hybrids only:

  • Become familiar with the hybrid information display so you can know how much energy is being used.
  • EV does it! Keep the car in EV mode as much as possible by using the accelerator gently, pressing it lightly but consistently.
  • Improve efficiency with ECO mode, which reduces aggressive throttle response.
  • Harvest time – braking gently and early helps the regenerative braking harvest more energy, which means EV mode can operate for longer periods.
  • Keep an eye on the dials and gauges to fully understand the hybrid system and manage the charge levels in the hybrid’s high-voltage battery.
  • If you’re in stop-start traffic, don’t put the car in neutral (‘N’) when stationary, as electricity will not be generated and the hybrid battery will discharge.
  • Consider using cruise control (where fitted) to maintain steady speeds.
  • When using climate control, Re-circulate mode reduces energy usage.
  • Think about the environment! Constant or heavy use of systems like air-con, lights and wipers will increase energy consumption.

Hybrid driving: drive modes

Toyota hybrids have four drive modes: Normal, EV, Eco and Power. When you first start your hybrid, the car defaults to the ‘Normal’ drive mode, which automatically manages the most efficient use of both the engine and the battery.

Drivers can also select one of the car’s on-demand drive modes to achieve better fuel consumption in certain settings.

These drive modes are: EV Mode where the car is powered by the battery only during city driving, running near-silent and with no tailpipe emissions; Eco Mode that reduces A/C output and lessens throttle response to limit harsh acceleration; and Power Mode which boosts acceleration by using the hybrid battery to assist the petrol engine.

The shift lever offers four positions: R (Reverse), N (neutral), B (engine braking) and D (drive). For normal driving, D (drive) is absolutely fine, but should you need it, position B has the effect of engine-braking handy when descending a steep hill, for example. It’s not recommended to leave the car in position B for normal driving, mainly because you’d end up using more fuel than necessary!

Hybrid driving: read the road ahead

Another great hybrid driving tip is to use the car’s battery whenever possible. You can do this in town and urban driving by accelerating to your required speed, easing off the accelerator and then gently easing the accelerator on again. By doing this, you can activate EV mode – indicated by the dashboard light – which means that the engine has switched off and you are using the electric battery.

Try to maintain a constant speed and, as always, it’s important to read the road ahead. By doing this, you can reduce the amount of unnecessary braking and accelerating, using less fuel. Braking slowly and gently also maximises the amount of energy recovered by the regenerative braking system on the car.

Hybrid driving: other factors to consider

Bear in mind that there are many factors that can affect a car’s performance, hybrid included. On cold days, your car will use more fuel as it warms up, but once it’s reached its optimum temperature, the MPG figures will increase.

Also, during the winter, you’re more likely to be using the air-conditioning, lights and wipers, all of which will use some electrical power from the battery. If you regularly travel the same route, don’t be surprised if you get better MPG figures during the summer than in the winter!

If you’d like more hybrid driving tips or want to discuss your driving technique with other hybrid owners, it’s worth visiting the Hypermiler website.

As a final note, please remember that these hybrid driving tips are published as general guidance on how to get the best fuel economy from your Toyota hybrid. Toyota encourages and supports safe driving at all times – please adhere to the rules of the road.

345 comments

  1. This is really awesome tips and i try it on my daily drives it is really save fuel. I have Prius its really good and smooth car. I future i think toyota will also introduce electric cars.

  2. I am considering the hybrid option of the Auris, but I would need at least a 24hour test drive to see whether I could live with it, especially the auto gearbox. I would be lucky to get a 5 minute test drive with my local dealer. Could Toyota encourage dealers to offer longer test drives, or at least have occasional promotions offering these?

    1. Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us. We’re really pleased to hear you’re interested in an Auris, however we would recommend contacting Toyota in your region for further help with this.

      Thanks.

      1. Hi. I have a question about EV mode in Corolla 2020 with 1.8 engine. I bought my car 1 week ago. Is it normal that i can see that ev mode is turned on when my speed is around 80 km/h?
        I have red somewhere that it works only till 50 km/h on my engine but only 2.0 have an opportunity to use it on a higher speed.
        Thanks.

      2. Hi Frank,
        Thanks for getting in touch and sharing your feedback. We’re so glad to hear that you’re loving your Corolla!
        Have you got any big trips planned?
        Thanks.

    2. My test drive in the new Toyota Yaris, fabulous, helped by the comments of the Toyota salesman, no need to rush, take an hour or more if you need to, most importantly, “drive it like you stole it” great comments and helped with my eventual purchase.

      1. Hi there,
        Thanks both for your comment and for choosing Toyota! We hope you’re loving your new Yaris!
        We’re thrilled that your Toyota centre was able to cater to your needs on your test drive and provided such a positive experience for you.
        Thanks.

    3. Hi, i have an auris 1.8 hybrid on a 65 plate, its the worse car i ever owned, the 12v battery continiously going flat the AA have been out 3 times, it’s been at the main dealers for6a full check up to6 No avail why does No one know what the trouble is, the warranty is worthless
      It’s New years Day and won’t start again. My advice is dont buy
      Steve

      1. I am sorry to hear of your problem. I bought an Auris 1.8 on 4th January and it is truly wonderful. I only have to buy petrol once a month. Albeit I am not doing much mileage due to the lockdown, but I am looking forward to using it more. It is 67 reg but it has done only 3000 miles. It is really a new car.

  3. Hybrids are the both of both worlds: using electric battery power means that the throttle power is nearly instantaneous, giving you a sudden delivery when accelerating. But the gas engine keeps more strength as it builds up torque- this allows the car to keep it’s powerful acceleration as it moves. Working together, this allows for a balance of perfect gas and power efficiency.

    1. New CH-R driver, what are the scenarios when the engine becomes high revving and noisey. Looking for ideas to mitigate this. I don’t class myself as a racing driver, is it just solely a heavy right foot on the accelerator?

  4. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for getting in touch. Our hybrid models are capable in traveling well over 50 mph in EV mode, however for more details on your car we would recommend contacting Toyota in your region for further help.

    Thanks.

  5. Got a new RAV4 hybrid and only getting 24.86 MPG averaged over 2 tanks of petrol, driving in the green economy mode, scared to drive it in the blue normal mode and definitely not the red sport mode. According to the the official fuel consumption figures from Toyota the car should be around 47MPG. Complained to Toyota customer services who are less than useless. I Should have had more sense than buy 2.5 liter petrol car shaped like a brick of course its going to have high fuel consumption. I also have an old Mk 11 diesel RAV4 – getting 40 MPG – so which is polluting the planet more. Toyotas slogan should be “we will give you less so it costs you more” It is also a vial car. There are a mountain of issues other than the fuel economy, like the reliability, bad blind spots when end on diagonal parked, hideous heater controls that look like phallic symbols , the huge screen and controls are not in connection with the driver, its worse than texting whilst driving. In my opinion Toyota have lost the thread for what they used to stand for. The most miserable car I have owned in 40 years.

    1. Hi Mark,
      Thanks for getting in touch. We’re sorry to hear that you are unhappy with your vehicle. We’re surprised to hear about reliability issues, and would recommend asking your Toyota dealer to take a look.
      We can see that you have been in touch with our Customer Relations team, and that a Service Manager has offered to give you hybrid driving coaching in order to maximise the range of your RAV4.
      The WLTP test, whilst more reliable than its predecessor (the NEDC), cannot take into account every single driving style and situation.
      We would recommend continuing to correspond with our Customer Relations team should you wish to discuss this further, as they will be best placed to assist you further.
      Thanks.

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