Hold your hatches: Toyota's Yaris GRMN halts NZ hatch resurgence
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The Toyota Yaris GRMN signals the long-awaited return to the hot hatch performance segment for the Japanese make, but it appears the company isn't planning on shattering any sales records with its tricked-up three-door city racer.
Toyota has capped production of the Yaris GRMN to 400 units for the European market, 100 of which will go to the UK and retail for £26,295 (NZ$46,900).
The Yaris GRMN is the first road-going Gazoo Racing model to go on sale in Europe and, as yet, there has been no confirmation or signalled intention that the model will go further afield.
Gazoo Racing and GRMN may sound new and unfamiliar to local motoring fans, but each organisation has a decorated history.
Gazoo Racing is the factory-backed racing division of Toyota with outfits that compete in the World Endurance Championship, 24 Hour Nurburgring race and Word Rally Championship.
GRMN (Gazoo Racing Meister of Nurburgring) refers to the German-based Toyota engineers who develop performance road cars around the famous Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit that, until this year, have been available only in Japan.
The first GRMN-enhanced road car was a small IQ city car released in 2009. That was followed by another IQ run in 2012, Vitz turbo in 2013, Mark X four-door sedan in 2015 and GT86 in 2016. The 2013 Yaris was the most numerous at 200 units, all other models were limited to 100 units.
The new Yaris GRMN made its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. Engineers at the show confirmed the hot hatch would be powered by a 1.8-litre four-cylinder producing approximately 155kW, have a six-speed manual and deliver "best-in-class times for the sprint" from 0-100km/h and acceleration from 80 to 120km/h in fourth gear.
Those figures would theoretically place the Yaris GRMN's performance close to that of the Volkswagen Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST.
This country's hot hatch market has gone through a resurgence this year with the introduction of the new Honda Civic Type R (30 of which are already sold) joining the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus RS.
There is more to come with Spanish brand SEAT set to launch in New Zealand by the end of the year, bringing with it the Leon Cupra five-door performance hatch, and Hyundai joining the party with the i30 N.
Unfortunately for local Toyota fans, it's not clear whether the Yaris GRMN has RSVPed for this shindig.