Toyota GR Yaris review

Category: Hot hatch

Section: Introduction

Available fuel types:petrol
Available colours:
Toyota GR Yaris 2020 front right cornering
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RRP from£29,995
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Introduction

What Car? says...

Say hello to the Toyota GR Yaris, and the return of the homologation special. Now if you’re wondering what the term homologation special means, don’t worry, we’re here to help. You see, in the sport of rallying, the rules dictate that your rally car has to be based on an existing road car and a certain number of these need to be built to ‘homologate’ (or in other words, approve) said car for competition.

If that sounds like an expensive way to go racing, well, it is. But in the 90s, when manufacturers were flush with cash, viewing numbers for the World Rally Championship (WRC) were through the roof and the market for performance cars was thriving, building a production car designed specifically for the WRC was a no brainer; the immediate popularity of cars such as the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo and Subaru Impreza WRX STI demonstrated to manufacturers that winning on a Sunday guaranteed you’d sell on Monday. 

Fast forward to today, though, and homologation specials are essentially a thing of the past. With the WRC only attracting a tiny percentage of viewers compared to its heyday, and the implementation of tighter homologation regulations (instead of building a few hundred homologated cars, you now need to build tens of thousands to go racing) effectively all WRC rally cars are now based on standard run of the mill family hatchbacks – less exciting, sure, but far more cost effective. 

So why are we telling you all this? Well, it’s because it’s only against this backdrop that you can fully understand how special the GR Yaris really is. Because Toyota has done what every other manufacturer has been afraid to do, and created a rally car from the ground up, sensibilities be damned. So forget that it shares a name with the five-door Toyota Yaris hatchback, the GR is very much its own entity. 

Want proof? Well, for starters, it shares just four exterior body parts with the standard Yaris, features a carbonfibre roof, is only available as a three-door, and features an all-new platform underneath that muscular body – the rear section being a mix of bits from the larger Toyota Corolla hatchback and CH-R SUV. Oh, and did we mention it features the world’s most powerful three-cylinder engine? 

It develops a whopping 261bhp and 266lb ft of torque, which is sent to the road via a six-speed manual gearbox and a clever all-wheel drive system. The net result is a car that can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 5.5 seconds and will go on to a limited top speed of 143mph. That puts this Fiesta ST sized car in the same performance leagues as larger and more powerful hot hatches such as the Honda Civic Type R and Renault Megane RS

But how does this rally pedigree translate to the road? Read on and we’ll tell you. And if your appetite for a hot hatch has already been wetted, you should also check out our New Car Buying service to find how much you could save on your next pocket rocket. 

At a glance

Number of trims1 see more
Available fuel typespetrol
MPG range across all versions34.3 - 34.3
Avaliable doors options3

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