Toyota has promised the company won’t make ‘boring’ cars anymore, and the GR Yaris is proof.
The normal Yaris is merely an affordable A-to-B runabout, something reliable and easy.
But the Toyota GR Yaris is a rally-bred beast in a pint-sized shell.
Developed by Toyota’s Gazoo Racing team – that’s what GR stands for – 25,000 examples needed to be built to enter it into the FIA World Rally Championship.
While it’s a Yaris by name, it isn’t by nature.
Supercar Blondie’s Sergi Galiano took it for a spin in Dubai to check out its coolest features.
“It’s three times the price, almost three times the horsepower, and a lot more sexy,” Sergi says.
Only the headlights, taillights, and wing mirrors are shared with the ‘regular’ model.
Instead, this features a unique three-door body that’s 2cm wider and 5cm longer than the standard model.
It also has a more aerodynamic roofline, with the roof finished in a faux-carbon wrap.
It even rides on forged BBS alloy wheels, has real brake-cooling ducts in the front bumper, and a chunky rear diffuser.
Make no mistake – this is a real-deal hot hatch if ever there was one.
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There are still some luxuries inside, such as its perforated Alcantara bucket seats and leather trim with red contrast stitching.
Just don’t try fitting adults in the back of the tiny hatch, though – Sergi had a hard time fitting, especially with his spiky hair.
However, this car is clearly geared towards the driver anyway.
A clear example of that is its advanced drive modes that totally alter its all-wheel-drive system.
You can choose between 60:40, 30:70, and 50:50 front-rear power splits.
And while it may only have a three-cylinder engine, it’s the most powerful three-pot in the world (other than the bonkers Koenigsegg Gemera and its upcoming big brother, the GR Corolla)
The Toyota GR Yaris (and GR Corolla) will only come with a six-speed manual gearbox as well.
“I love that despite being a new car, you have a stick-shift,” Sergi said.
“It feels so nice to have a stick-shift, it gives you that physical feeling.
“Maybe the younger generations don’t care about that kind of stuff, but for me it’s super frustrating that all cars are pretty much going automatic.”
For upwards of about $36,500 this has to be one of the most interesting hot hatches out there right now.
Sorry though, Americans – you won’t be getting it. Although the larger GR Corolla will be heading stateside in 2023.
2022 Toyota GR Yaris specifications
- Engine: 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder
- Power: 200kW (268hp)
- Torque: 370Nm (273lb-ft)
- Transmission: 6-speed manual, all-wheel drive
- 0-100km/h (0-62mph): 5.2 seconds
- Top speed: 229km/h (142mph)