Surely, receiving praise from Jeremy Clarkson is praise of the highest order for a manufacturer who has made a gamble as large as Toyota. Its new GR Yaris must have cost a bob or two to build, in which they’ve only built 25,000, and it’s not exactly a segment of the market that’s booming.
What Is The Toyota GR Yaris?
The GR Yaris is Toyota’s hot hatch version of its standard Yaris. It features a turbocharged 3-cylinder engine producing 257hp and 266lb-ft of torque making it the most powerful 3-cyl yet, and an AWD system that is reminiscent of that of a rally car. The idea behind the car seems to stem from Toyota’s rally heritage, and it seems to be exactly what the car scene needed.
Jeremy Clarkson’s Reaction To The Hot Hatch
The Grand Tour presenter recently had the GR Yaris delivered to him to review, and while his initial thoughts of the standard Yaris were very negative, the GR had the ex-Top Gear presenter swooning. You can read his review here.
“really didn’t want to drive the new Toyota Yaris,” he began, explaining that it would push him to commit suicide.
“The Yaris is a car you buy because you think the Honda Jazz is a bit too racy. It’s for recently widowed old ladies who need something to get them and their friend Peggy to the bridge club. That’s it. It has no other purpose.”
He was however grateful that he didn’t cancel the Yaris presser when he realised it wasn’t just a normal Yaris, it was the GR version which is very different and much improved.
“To understand this car — and you need to because you are going to want one — you must delve into the rule book that governs international rallying,” he says.
He gives us a brief rundown of how rallying forced manufacturers to build brilliantly exciting cars such as the “Audi Quattro, that nutty Peugeot 205 T16 and the ridiculous rear-engined Metro,” before saying that current rallying has become boring. But when he moves on to the review of the car, it’s obvious that he’s fallen for the car.
“First things first. The engine. It’s a three-cylinder 1.6-litre turbo, which doesn’t sound particularly rallyish. But here’s the thing. It does. The noise may be artificial, but as you bumble along there’s a deep, offbeat thrum, as if you’re sharing the car with a snoring dog. It’s tremendous.”
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Jeremy Clarkson, The Driving God
He continued to sing the GR’s praises throughout the review, calling the car a “riot”, before he declares the following:
“It’s uncannily easy to control and because of that you feel like a driving god. Like you could win a rally. Like you are doing.
“This is one of the most enjoyable and thrilling cars I’ve ever driven. It’s like a puppy dog version of the Nissan GT-R and I adored it.”
Clarkson admits that while the interior is a bit like the original Yaris and that there’s a bit of a blind spot thanks to the sat-nav screen sitting high up on the dash, he can’t think of any more drawbacks. He instead believes that those who have the money to buy Porsche 911s, Ferraris, and McLarens, should buy the Yaris instead.
“You may think, if currently you drive a Porsche 911 or something of that ilk, that the Yaris GR, a small three-cylinder Japanese hatchback, would be quite a comedown, but it really isn’t. It’s that good, but you’ll need to get your order in quickly. Toyota is making 25,000 of them and that’s not going to be enough. Not by a long way.”