Toyota has been building up to this moment for a few years now after revealing the supercharged Yaris GRMN in 2017. The hot hatch quickly became a segment favourite and hinted towards what Toyota may be planning for the future. Well, the future is now, with Toyota revealing a high performance GR version of the new Yaris model revealed a few months ago.
The hatch is drawing from Toyota’s rally stage experience and carrying on the pure fun-of-driving experience the GT86 did so well with. It has the most powerful 3-cylinder engine on the planet producing 257hp and 266lb-ft of torque, which is pushed through a manual gearbox to, wait for it, all four wheels. Come on Toyota, we knew you had it in you!
The turbocharged 1.6-litre powerplant is brand new, and will push this little machine to 62mph in just 5.5 seconds with it topping out at an electronically limited speed of 143mph. In fact, a lot of this car is new, with plenty of carbon fibre polymer and aluminium to keep weight low and fun high. A new double-wishbone suspension sits at the rear and up front a MacPherson strut setup, and as you can see from the images, it sits much wider than the original Yaris. It also sits lower, with the roofline being lowered by 91mm to make it look more coupe. Frameless doors top off the sports car theme, as do the 18-inch black alloys.
Inside, the driver will be able to control the split of torque between the front and rear wheels via a dial, which switches the car between three modes: Normal, Sport, and Track. Normal mode distributes torque 60:40 front to rear, and sport pushes mostly to the rear with a 30:70 split. Track mode distributes it evenly with a 50:50 split, but each mode can be adjusted by the car momentarily to maintain peak performance depending on driver input.
This GR Yaris is looking to be an incredibly important part of the Toyota portfolio – no longer are we wondering why they didn’t have the budget for the Supra. At a price of $36,200 for the First Edition variant sporting matte black accents across the body, and $41,600 for the High Performance edition with BBS forged aluminium wheels and more equipment, this car isn’t cheap. But compare it to the overpowered hot hatches of the modern day, and Toyota may be on to a winner.
I can see car of the year already, and it’s hardly half way through January. Bravo Toyota. Bravo.