Jeremy Clarkson has long been known as an overseer of everything automotive. After a long career behind the wheel, it’s safe to say he knows what he’s talking about. This, alongside an addictive sense of humour, he was able to build two of the largest car shows available: Top Gear and The Grand Tour. Despite this, he still finds the time to write about cars, too. And now, he’s revealed his latest car of the year.
In 2021, the world emerged from the Covid-19 epidemic, but this hasn’t stopped Jeremy from testing out the best cars the world has to offer so he can write about them. And one car that very quickly made it to the top of the list was the Toyota GR Yaris, his 2021 car of the year.
It’s no surprise that this was his pick, with it being inspired by one of the greatest motorsports in the world, World Rally. It’s powered by a 1.6-litre 3-cylinder turbo engine, and while it’s small, it packs a hefty punch in the form of 257 horsepower. This power is sent through a six-speed manual gearbox and, thanks to it being a rally homologation special, all four wheels.
“I didn’t want to drive the new Yaris because I thought it was a vehicle that you buy because you believe the Honda Jazz is a little too racy,” said Clarkson in his brilliantly written review. Then he noticed what it was that would entice him to test. Because the GR Yaris isn’t your usual Yaris, it has been dubbed a homologation special. A rally car for public roads with the objective being to build 25,000 examples so it can go rallying.
The new GR Yaris will never become a genuine rally vehicle due to a rule change in the World Rally Championship. The championship will switch to hybrid from next year onwards. However, that hasn’t prevented the GR Yaris from amusing Clarkson. He stated, “This is a car that made me laugh out loud. I drove it into my fields one morning and destroyed everything, but I didn’t care since it was so much fun.” After that, Clarkson remarked , “I went on to the roads, which were constructed of sheet ice. And it was just as riotous there as well.”
He ended: “This is one of the most enjoyable and thrilling cars I’ve ever driven.”
Toyota has received a glowing endorsement from one of the world’s most well-known automotive journalists and TV personalities. This is something Toyota will undoubtedly be pleased to hear about. He’s even stated that it’s as fun as a Porsche 911 in a separate piece of writing.
Although the main focus was Clarkson’s praise, there were several more winners this year. The Hyundai Ioniq 5, a vehicle that is perhaps the finest EV on the market, took home the best-designed car of the year award. It looks like it has come straight from a sci-fi movie and takes cues from the Hyundai Pony of 1974. The GR Yaris won the manufacturer of the year award from the panel, while Fiat 500e pocketed city/small car of the year honors.
With Clarkson giving the car a 5/5 rating, there’s no arguing that this special car is up there with the best. In fact, a number of reviews have stated exactly the same thing. So, if you’re looking for a hatch that boasts handfuls of fun while still being averagely practical, take Clarkson’s advice and buy the GR Yaris.