One of Toyota’s most highly anticipated models to go on sale is the GR Yaris hot hatchback. It features a 272 horsepower turbocharged three-cylinder engine, all-wheel-drive, and a proper 6-speed manual transmission paired with a muscular rally-inspired body. In fact, we even got an up-close and personal look of the hatchback earlier this year at the 2020 Osaka Automesse.
Now as with most models, the GR Yaris is available in various trim levels. The one you are seeing here isn’t the same as the one we saw (and drooled over) in person. Yes, it looks exactly the same on the outside, but don’t be fooled. This specific model called the GR Yaris RS is all show... but no go.
It doesn’t have the powerful turbo three-cylinder engine, all-wheel-drive, or even a manual transmission. Instead, it only produces 120 horsepower and 145 Nm torque max from a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter inline-3 “Dynamic Force” engine. It is also available only with a Direct Shift-CVT sending power to the front wheels alone. However, without the all-wheel-drive system, the RS only weighs 1,130 kg; 150kg lighter than the all-wheel-drive counterpart.
Essentially, the GR Yaris RS is a sheep in wolf’s clothing. It looks exactly like its turbocharged counterpart, ready to go rallying, but without all the go-fast bits. In fact, it even comes complete with the carbon fiber roof. Inside, it looks pretty much the same as well. The only obvious change is CVT gearstick in place of a proper 6-speed manual and paddle shifters on the steering wheel for “changing gears”.
Ironically, the RS badge is often used to indicate a sportier variant of most models. Not for the GR Yaris, it seems.
Toyota will only be offering the GR Yaris RS in Japan, so it's highly unlikely we'll see any on Philippine roads.