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. I have a 2020 Corolla Hybrid and it very rarely lets you put it in EV mode. The battery on these should support much more EV driving under 40mph.

    It’s a shame that Toyota upcoming EV models are poor, they seem to be seriously lacking behind. I am changing my car end of the year, I would love to see a full Corolla EV model like other manufacturers have offered EV alternatives to popular models.

  2. I have a Toyota Yaris 2021 Hybrid, the battery was flat two weeks ago, AA restarted and all was good. Happened again this week. AA restarted it and I took to dealer to locate problem. They recharged battery fully and said it was my fault for underusing my car. Never have I been told or seen advice about this issue. I have now been advised that battery not under warranty due to under usage of the car and I need to purchase a solar trickle charger to solve the battery problem. How is this ok? If there is an issue surely Toyota should be sorting the solar charger which should have been fitted as standard when car was manufactured? The other solution advised by dealer was a daily drive for 30 minutes to keep the battery topped up. How is this my fault, surely this should have been told to me by dealer when purchasing the car?

    1. Hi Lynn, thanks for your comment.

      We understand your frustration regarding this situation and apologise for the inconvenience this has caused.

      The 12 volt battery in our hybrids are smaller than most as they are only needed to run small systems in the car. Infrequent usage and short journeys can mean that the 12 volt battery doesn’t fully charge. Therefore, making more frequent, longer journeys is advised to maintain the vehicle’s battery health.

      Additionally, for Hybrids, it is recommended to place the vehicle into ‘ready’ mode for around 60 minutes each week. This will help to ensure the health of both the Hybrid and the 12v battery. In order to do this, all you need to do is press the ‘start’ button with your foot on the brake and the ‘ready’ light will show on the dashboard. You can then remove your foot but make sure to keep the vehicle in ‘P’ mode with the parking brake engaged. Remember to keep an eye on your vehicle at all times and do not leave it unattended.

      We would recommend contacting our Customer Relations Team if you would like to discuss this further. You can find them here: https://www.toyota.co.uk/help-centre#/iframe/https%3A%2F%2Fforms.toyota.co.uk%2Fcontact-us.


      1. Firstly, is it not illegal to leave car running with no driver? Why was I not given all this advice before I purchased the car? Why was I told to buy a solar charger?
        It seems to me Toyota have a huge problem with these batteries which you are not addressing.
        If a solar charger sorts the issue why were they not fitted at manufacture stage?
        So now if I take my car to the airport and leave it for two weeks while away, there is a chance it won’t start on my return. This needs to addressed. The AA man who came out to me says there are multiple call outs per day over these batteries and it is getting worse.

  3. I’m aghast at reading the advice given to Lyn Mears. It is indefensible and unacceptable not to be given this information prior to purchase.
    No one told me and consequently I’ve not been doing this nor am I likely to. I’ve been a Toyota consumer for several decades but will think twice before buying another one.

  4. I also have a Toyota hybrid and have the same issue with the 12v battery As this is supposed to be a city car does this not therefore suggest low mileage use ? So why fit the car with such a useless item ? So disappointed with Toyota

    1. Hi Meta, thanks for your comment.

      We understand your dissapointment and apologise for the inconvenience this has caused.

      Infrequent usage and short journeys can mean that the 12 volt battery doesn’t fully charge. Therefore, more frequent, longer journeys should help this issue.

      Additionally, using a trickle charger can help to maintain the charge in the battery and although this is an optional route, it is easily achieved by connecting the charger straight to the 12V battery and can offer some peace of mind, particularly when a vehicle is left standing for long periods of time.

      If you would like to discuss your situation further, please contact our Customer Relations Team. You can find them here: https://www.toyota.co.uk/help-centre#/iframe/https%3A%2F%2Fforms.toyota.co.uk%2Fcontact-us.


  5. Well reading these comments has helped me to decide not to buy a Toyota Yaris Hybrid as the car would often be standing unused for a week and I don’t think it is acceptable to have use a solar charger etc

  6. I have just purchased a C-HR (11 months old). I am horrified to read that I need to run the car (sitting in the drive) for 60 minutes per week. I wasn’t advised about any issues when going through the sale for a Toyota Main Dealership. I am now very concerned I am going to be left stranded. I changed cars to upgrade, become a little more environmental friendly and reliability. I’m not at all sure the reliability is a factor. If that is the case, I will not be keeping the car long and the new car would not be a Toyota.

    1. Hi Paul, thanks for reaching out.

      We are sorry to hear you are experiencing this.

      The 12 volt battery in our hybrids are smaller than most as they are only needed to run small systems in the car. We recommend making more frequent, longer journeys to avoid battery issues. Alternatively, you may want to purchase a trickle charger or solar powered intelligent charger. If you would like any more specific advice regarding your vehicle, we would recommend re-contacting your nearest dealer. Furthermore, our customer relations team would be more than happy to help and can be found through the following link: https://fal.cn/3zLqW


      1. I purchased my first hybrid, and first Toyota (2021 C-HR Dynamic) in April 2023. During viewing the vehicle the battery suddenly showed itself to be dead, and the sales guy rapid-charged the battery to allow a test drive. A new battery was fitted prior to my taking delivery.
        I was not told that the problem discussed could repeat itself. We are in our 80’s, so the car can stand for several days at a time, and many trips can be of a short duration. Fortunately, the car is very cheap on fuel, and I will be deliberately making occasional longer journeys to hopefully avoid any flat battery problems.
        The car is due to go into the Toyota dealership for its annual service in September and, at this time, I will ask advice regarding trickle/solar charging and take action accordingly.
        It is my first Toyota after 20-plus years of driving Volkswagens. I like the car very much and it is a pleasure to drive, so I will not allow my pleasure to be spoiled just by the need to set up a trickle charge procedure.
        Kindest regards, Albert.

      2. Hi Albert, thanks for your comment.

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

        We agree discussing your options in terms of a trickle or solar charger could be beneficial for you at your upcoming service.

        We wish you many more happy miles!


  7. Same happened to me. Packed my hybrid Yaris ready for a trip to Southampton from the midlands and had to call out AA as battery was flat.
    When car was serviced 2 months later, I was told I wasn’t driving it enough yet I had driven 100 miles the previous day. Toyota recommended I bought a solar trickle charger which I did but as I don’t have a drive I have to plug into the scart type socket inside but regardless of miles driven, the battery NEVER shows as full.
    Ironically, I purchased this car to replace a BMW diesel which was proving problematic when I retired due to insufficient driving and now discover I still need to drive this one more frequently!

    1. I have had two CHR Dynamic models and after a year they both suffered from a failed battery. On each occasion after RAC home rescue the battery was charged by the RAC engineer and the cars taken to Toyota to say that the battery was OK and that the car must be driven every day otherwise the car will fail to start! What nonsense for any manufacturer to fit such a small battery to a car like this.

      On the second CHR when this failed at home and the RAC came the engineer said the battery was so bad it would not hold a charge so I had to buy a new RAC battery then and there. Fortunately he had one on his Land Rover but he said they always carry these as Toyota Hybrids continue to fail.

      Even though the car was less than 12 months old The Toyota Dealer in Chelmsford would not cover the cost of replacement. I was told that had I arranged for the car to be transported to the dealership then they would have fitted a new battery but as I had one fitted at home they would not pay for this. Think of the time and cost for the RAC to transport the car! Even with the electronic reports showing the terrible condition of the battery Steven Eagell and Toyota refused to pay for the battery. Toyota customer service is terrible. It is strange that over the second two years of ownership the RAC battery never failed.

      As I loved the driving experience of the CHR I must be a gluten for punishment as I have just taken delivery of a Toyota Corolla Touring Sport Excel model as we required a larger luggage capacity. It is not as nice to drive as the CHR and the ride not as pleasant but it is OK. I just hope that the battery is not an issue, but we shall see. The mpg is much worse though averaging 50 mpg compared to the excellent 62 mpg which both the CHR models achieved.

      One thing is certain though. I will never take a Toyota to an airport and find the family arriving home late at night to discover the highly likely prospect of a failed battery! I will take the excellent faultless Renault of 3 years or a taxi!

  8. Hi, I have a toyota yaris 2017 hybrid active 1.5 , I rushed to start the car and the second day my battery gone flat , I gave power to the battery to gave a boost for the petrol engine but the only thing is not doing automatically like before on parking mode the petrol engine will start after couple of minutes but now I have to press the acceleration pedal to start , I will have to change the battery or is something else ? Thanks

    1. Hi Daniel, thanks for your question.

      We would recommend contacting your nearest Toyota Centre to discuss the issues you’re experiencing.

      Your nearest centre can be located here: https://fal.cn/3AesH


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