Hybrid driving tips for best fuel economy

Toyota C-HR driving tips

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.

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

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.

hybrid driving hints and tips

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

Hybrid driving: read the road ahead

Another great hybrid driving tip is to use the car’s battery whenever possible.

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.

hybrid driving

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.

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!

Toyota highlander

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.

Read more: Toyota hybrid – how does it work?


  1. If you have to drive needless long journeys then these problems negate the whole purpose of a hybrid – to save fuel. I am taking delivery of a Corolla tomorrow and after reading these comments I am already sorry that I have bought it. If I get similar problems the car will be sod very quickly

  2. I am waiting to take delivery on a brand new Toyota yaris cross, Icon, hybrid, has anyone got anything good to say or should I be worried about the battery. Surely if the battery is flat the car will still run on petrol and will self charge its self.

  3. I have just purchased a Toyota Yaris and find the large step created in the loading area with the back seats down a real problem. When initially viewing the car prior to purchase I was unfazed by this, as reviews stated a levelling shelf is available. I have tried to purchase the optional shelf that would allow the area to be levelled but my dealer tells me it is unavailable in the UK. Is there any reason why you will not supply these to UK dealers?

    1. Hi David, thanks for getting in touch.

      Congratulations on your recent Toyota purchase!

      Unfortunately, supply issues out of our control may affect the availability of many parts. We understand this can be frustrating and appreciate your patience.

      We would recommend contacting your local Toyota Centre for updates on availability. They will do their best to get this to you as soon as possible.


    2. I have a CHR and have found as a low mileage driver that after 2.5 years my battery went flat.
      I had to call my rescue service who jump started me 2 days in a row!
      I then had to take the car to Toyota who charged it overnight and said the battery was fine. 100%.
      However I’m looking to change it to the 2024 CHR which has a more powerful battery.
      The other option is to get a trickle charger (if you have a garage) or get a solar powered one.

  4. Hi just took delivery of my 2023 C_HR and although I have not driven it very far I am impressed with it it’s a great car to drive and already getting great fuel consumption

    1. Hi Willie, thanks for your comment.

      Congratulations on your recent Toyota purchase!

      We are pleased to hear you are enjoying your Toyota C-HR.

      We wish you many more happy miles!


  5. I have recently bought a Yaris Cross GR Sport & I’m well pleased with the overall performance, I’m currently achieving 65.9 MPG over 1100 miles which is better than I expected, mostly driving around Norfolk (no motorways), I need to know does the ” B ” position on the gearshift actually recharge the Hybrid battery if used when descending hills? or is it better to gently apply the brakes, which is recharging the battery.

    1. Hi Trevor,
      We are pleased to hear that you are enjoying your Yaris Cross.
      B Mode on the transmission lever decreases speed quicker as well as increasing regeneration levels.
      We recommend using this mode when in heavy traffic or going downhill.
      Please let us know if you have any further questions.

  6. Hi
    I recently purchased a Toyota Corolla hybrid.

    It is a lovely drive and the safety collision sensors are good. However they are so sensitive. They beep away where there is ample room to get through even though i have reduced to minimum sensitivity. Parking can also be awkward as if there is a bush in front of the space the automatic brake kicks in stopping the car from being fully in the parking space. Today i had to navigate a really tight space between two cars, the sensors were going haywire making me even more nervous!

    Is there anything i can do apart from temporarily turning off the sensors ?

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