Just before 2019 ended, Toyota gave us a glimpse of their all-new hot hatch kicking up some dirt and sand at an undisclosed location. It was then quickly followed by a leak which apparently showed the hot hatch being tested somewhere in Australia.
Fast forward to January 2020, and Toyota has officially taken the covers off the all-new GR Yaris at this year's Tokyo Auto Salon. Described by the automaker as a 'homologation model born to win the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), the GR Yaris was co-developed with Tommi Makinen Racing (TMR) and features WRC-inspired technologies.
Starting off with its cool exterior, the GR Yaris gets a rally-inspired look courtesy of a sporty front bumper featuring a large air intake. It also has muscular wheel arches, huge alloy wheels that hide big brake discs, a roof-mounted spoiler, and a carbon fiber roof. Finally, the GR Yaris also comes with a rear diffuser, a distinct pair of LED taillights, and a dual exhaust system.
Besides having a stylish exterior, Toyota was also busy making the hot hatch be more lightweight and rigid. For the former, Toyota made use of aluminum for the hood, tailgate, and door panels. The roof, on the other hand, is made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic to further save on weight while making the roof more durable. As for the hatchback's rigidity, the GR Yaris employs a unique platform based on the TNGA approach. Combined with data from WRC and technical know-how from Gazoo Racing and TMR, Toyota claims that the hatchback wil deliver a 'high level of dynamic performance'.
Under the hood of the GR Yaris is not a four-cylinder engine. Instead, it has a 1.6-liter inline-three. Don't let its size fool you as the G16E-GTS three-cylinder benefits from turbocharging and direct injection. With it, the engine produces a whopping 272 PS and a healthy 370 Nm of torque. Not only that, Toyota claims that it has lightweight moving parts that allow the engine to rev faster. The engine is then paired to a six-speed intelligent manual transmission (iMT) which makes for smoother gear changes.
With its roots in rallying, the GR Yaris benefits from what Toyota calls a 'sports 4WD' system. Called the GR Four, it uses an electronically-controlled multi-plate clutch that can transfer power to all four wheels with minimal loss. It even has two Torsen limited-slip differentials mounted on the front and rear axles for better traction. Drivers can also switch between three different modes of GR Four: Normal, Sport, and Track.
A simple, yet ergonomic cabin awaits the driver inside the GR Yaris. Acres of black cover the interior of the hot hatch and is accompanied by leather seats with contrast stitching, a digital automatic climate control system, a touchscreen infotainment system, and a GR-specific leather-wrapped steering wheel. Aluminum pedals, as well as splashes of metal accents further give the hot hatch a cool and sleek finish.
Want to get your own GR Yaris hot hatch? Toyota is now accepting pre-orders for the hatchback via two special edition models. The first one is the RZ First Edition which is selling for JPY 3.96 million (about 1.83 million). Meanwhile, the RZ High Performance First Edition will retail for JPY 4.56 million (about Php 2.11 million). and will come with custom upgrades, and BBS forged aluminum alloy wheels.
With the GR Supra already available in the Philippines, we're hoping that Toyota will be able to bring the GR Yaris to the Philippine market as well.