Toyota GR Yaris Punches Well Above Its Weight, First Reviews Find

Toyota GR Yaris 3 photos
Photo: Motor1/YouTube
Toyota GR YarisToyota GR Yaris
Toyota has extensive experience on the world rally scene and it’s finally channeling that experience into a road car. This is truly great news, even if said road car is based around the humble Yaris city car.
And yet there’s nothing humble about the Toyota GR Yaris, the first in-house performance car from the Japanese manufacturer in ages (it’s also the poster vehicle for the GR performance sub-brand). It has a bespoke three-door body, an aluminum hood and, believe it or not, its roof is made out of a special carbon weave.

Its engine is equally not humble, unless you only look at its cylinder count. It’s a 1.6-liter three-pot turbo that makes 250 horsepower and 350 Nm, all of which is sent to all four wheels permanently.

The power distribution between the two axles can be varied, depending on which driving mode is selected: in its standard mode, the split is 60/40, while in sport bias is moved towards the rear with a 30/70 split. Put the car in its track mode, though, and the power is evenly distributed to the two axles - this is said to bring out the car’s pointy character.

No adaptive dampers will be offered, but there will be a performance pack available that adds trick differentials and improved tires. Toyota has not announced which markets will get this pack, but it won’t be available, for instance, in Australia.

What’s becoming quite clear bout the GR Yaris is that it has more power and is considerably more complex than your typical subcompact city car-based hot hatch. It is the only car of its kind with all-wheel drive and it also has quite a bit more power than other similar size hot hatches.

It will most likely cost as much as hot hatches in the size class above, the ones with which it will undeniably compete in terms of performance too. Toyota hasn’t announced how quick the car can complete the benchmark sprint to 100 km/h, but it has to be somewhere in the mid-5-second region.

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