The Japanese automaker is the most popular brand in Australia and its latest hatchback will completely change what you think.
This is not your grandmother Yaris’ pétanque club.
It’s more powerful than a Subaru WRX, all-wheel drive and wrapped in an aggressive three-door body.
But does it work for a family of four?
Jules: It’s written Yaris but I don’t believe it. This one lives in the gym on a diet of spinach and steroids.
Iain: What a small weapon. The GR – Gazoo Racing – Yaris exists because the regulations of the World Rally Championship require that road versions of WRC racers be produced.
Jules: So are we performance-loving drivers benefiting from it?
Iain: Oh yes. Homologation specials they are called, and history shows that most become collectibles.
Jules: I love it. It’s like a little toy. Such an angry front end, an unbelievably big rear and tiny dimensions.
Iain: On the outside, it shares only its front and rear lights and mirrors with a normal Yaris. It has a carbon fiber roof and the trunk, hood and doors are made of lightweight aluminum.
Jules: Racing stuff is expensive. How much for this baby?
Iain: Almost $ 50,000 before road trips if you can get one.
Jules: Ouch. Who are its rivals?
Iain: In terms of size, a Ford Fiesta ST or a Hyundai i20N – both are much cheaper, but front-wheel drive and much less powerful. The larger Hyundai i30N or Renault Megane RS are priced the same, but not all-wheel drive.
Jules: I thought it would be stripped inside, but it’s totally reasonable.
Iain: Except for the racy touches. I love the small steering wheel, the short-stroke leather manual gearshift knob, the handbrake suitable for gravel hairpins and the well-reinforced leather and suede sport seats.
Jules: You are not suffering here. There is dual-zone air conditioning, JBL audio, heated seats and a seven-inch screen with Apple CarPlay / Android Auto, a navigation system and a rear camera.
Iain: The door covers are too hard plastic, as is a central bin for your phone. It must be rubber – my phone flies around the corners.
Jules: The driving position is excellent. My feet fall perfectly on the aluminum pedals.
Iain: Not for me. The seat does not fall low enough. I want a racing car cockpit, not an SUV cockpit. On track days, I had a hard time fitting in with a protective helmet.
Jules: You should try the back. This sloping roof and its small windows make it really claustrophobic.
Iain: My head was stuck on the roof. Small rear seats are better than nothing. This makes transporting children a possibility.
Jules: Oh, this is so much fun. This engine is so fruity and this car wants to race at every opportunity.
Iain: I didn’t know I could love a Toyota so much. It is only a three-cylinder engine, but there is an impossible 200 kW and 370 Nm. How?
Jules: I do not care. Of the three driving modes, Track is the most obnoxious. Such a bad rorty sound from those giant rear exhausts.
Iain: But can he be a daily driver? I would say roughly. In Normal mode, it’s not too noisy, the driving is tough but not breathtaking and the cabin comfort is sufficient.
Jules: Not for me. I just want to rally him all the time. I don’t think I could contain myself in traffic every day.
Iain: It can burn out on the highway: at 110 km / h, the engine runs at around 3000 rpm.
Jrules : Uh, where’s the boot?
Iain: It’s a shoebox. It’s not your racing car. In more relevant news, you can fold down the rear seats and install a set of spare wheels and tires for the track.
Jrules : A winding pass please, or a gravel rally stage.
Iain: Or a narrow, winding race track. You cannot own a GR Yaris and not test it this way.
Jules: On our favorite test road, it blew me away. It’s mind-blowing how he picks up speed so brutally and then heads so fast.
Iain: There’s so much grip, steering feedback, and all-wheel drive safety. On the right road, it feels like a real racing car. Change the driving mode and the torque shifts its bias between the front and rear wheels, changing the driving experience. I love it.
Jules: And 100 km / h in just over five seconds? It’s supercar stuff from a few decades ago.
Iain: Gladly this is a manual gearbox only. Totally involving. With so many sales, it shows that there is still an appetite for these driver cars.
Jules: There are only two rear seats and they are cramped. Our two children more or less equipped.
Iain: At least the safety kit is decent, and the advertised 7.6 L / 100km performance won’t go over budget. We managed 8.2 L / 100 km without sparing the horses.
Jules: It really should be a second car. An expensive toy.
Iain: I don’t see their values dropping much. They are in great demand. Services are every six months at $ 260 a pop, which will add up soon.
Jules: Such fun, awesome and exciting cars are so rare today. I didn’t expect Toyota to make something like the GR Yaris.
Iain: It is so refreshing to drive a car that arouses good emotions. It’s an instant classic and unlike any hot hatch I’ve driven.
TOYOTA GR YARIS VITALS
Price: $ 49,500 more on the roads
Guarantee / service: 5 years / unl’td km (average); $ 1,560 for 3 years
Motor: 1.6 liter 3-cylinder turbo petrol, 200 kW / 370 Nm
Security: Six airbags, automatic emergency braking, active cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assistance
The thirst: 7.6 L / 100 km
Spare: Repair kit
Boot: 141 liters