Toyota GR Yaris Review

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Toyota GR Yaris Review 1

The Toyota GR Yaris is what happens when you spend a lot of time feeding the ordinary diddy electrified Yaris a diet of steak and eggs, then sending it to the gym seven days a week.

It’s already been dubbed the hottest hot hatch currently available. This is a bold claim when you consider we’ve got the likes of the mature all-rounder Ford Fiesta ST and time-honoured Honda Civic Type R at our fingertips.

So, is it all just heat of the moment hype stemming from the exciting announcement that we’ll be treated to another souped-up family hatchback? Or is the GR Yaris a genuine trophy lifter, just like the Toyota Gazoo Racing rally team that it’s inspired from?

Read our full review of the Toyota GR Yaris to find out whether it has enough everyday usability to match its zip on the road and become the ultimate machine for car buyers wanting something fun and sensible.

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What is it?

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To reiterate the label given to it by its parent manufacturer, the Toyota GR Yaris is “no normal hatch”.

As we briefly mentioned earlier, the beefed-up Yaris was born from the World Rally Championship (WRC) where out-and-out speed meets precision driving mechanics in order to tackle technical racing tracks.

The “GR” is an acronym standing for the brand’s team in question, Gazoo Racing. They’re one of the best in the business, having received a hattrick of wins at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

In keeping with its racing DNA, the GR Yaris has a plethora of Toyota‘s debut motorsport driving technology, a brutally quick engine and a plethora of equipment that makes it ideal for racecourse days and your average UK roads.

Just like every great hot hatch to exist, the GR Yaris is a proper head-turner too, but not in a ludicrously obvious ‘hey, look at me’ manner like, say, the Abarth 595 and 695. Instead, you get subtle facelifts that give you enough warning of this car’s capabilities when you pull up alongside it at the lights – for example, a shark-fin antenna, black rear spoiler, more aggressive GR front grille and dual-exhaust tailpipes.

Pricing for the base model starts at £29,995, though higher-spec ‘Convenience Pack’ and range-topping ‘Circuit Pack’ trims are priced at £32,175 and £33,495, respectively.

Without further ado, here’s what you can expect from all versions of the rally-friendly Yaris underneath its angry design.

Engine, 0-62 time

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Let’s get right to it and give you the full chat show on this pocket rocket’s secret under the hood.

As standard, the GR Yaris comes with a 1.6-litre three-cylinder 257bhp turbocharged petrol engine. What’s more is that it produces a maximum torque of 265lb ft which points towards this car’s ability to put out power well across the entire rev range.

On paper this is confirmed by Toyota, which says the car can sprint from 0-62mph in a mere 5.5 seconds. That’s a whole second faster than the similarly-weighted Fiesta ST, while the 100kg heavier Civic Type R is 0.2 seconds slower off the mark.

Driving technology

What makes a successful hot hatch isn’t just a punchy engine and some splashes of sporty styling. Above all else, it needs to bring a smile to your face when you take it on a winding country road or just to the shops on a Sunday.

This is where we think the Toyota GR Yaris will be something genuinely unorthodox when coming up against the competition. As standard, there are a bunch of sophisticated techy driving systems in readied inside the vehicle that make it adaptable to almost any situation.

We’re yet to drive the car to prove whether it delivers on the promises of its maker, but there’s a strong argument when you look at the equipment onboard to say that an engaging experience behind the wheel is all but guaranteed.

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Here are some of the highlight tech-savvy driving systems in the GR Yaris that are set to contribute to its captivating performance:

  • GR Yaris Suspension: a double wishbone rear suspension with vertical and upper control arms that ensure the tires are more firmly on the road, creating better stability.
  • GR-Four 4WD System: according to Toyota, the four-wheel drive setup in the GR Yaris actively controls front and rear torque distribution for optimum performance depending on the surface you’re on and what driving style you want to achieve.
  • Selectable driving modes: you can manually select to have more bias towards front- and rear-wheel drive using a switch inside the car. Modes include ‘Normal’ (40:60 split between rear and front-wheel drive), which is ideal for city driving. Alternatively, ‘Sport’ (70:30 split) creates more agile responses to steering input and rear-wheel bias, while switching to ‘Track’ mode (50:50 split) emphasises the four-wheel drive technology and is perfect for twisting, bendy roads for the best stability.

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Versions and equipment

Performance

Exterior

Comfort

Styling

Interior

Comfort

Styling

Media

Safety

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