Revealed: four-wheel drive Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch confirmed for NZ market
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Toyota is back in the hot hatch game, and its return will be heading to a dealership near you before the end of the year.
Much like with last year's Supra, Toyota has extensively teased out a lot of the new GR Yaris' headline features. It's one of the most powerful three-cylinder cars ever made, with 200kW of power and 370Nm of torque (a caveat on these numbers in a minute) spun from its turbocharged 1.6 litre. These figures are paired to a six-speed manual and Toyota's new GR-FOUR four-wheel drive system; making this the brand's first 4WD sports car since the 1999 Celica GT-Four, with both cars sharing the honour of being rally-bred homologation weapons for the road.
The 4WD system is a complex one, capable of sending up to 100 per cent power to the front or the rear. There's also the potential of supporting that system with two Torsen limited-slip differentials — a performance extra available with the selection of Toyota's optional 'Circuit Pack'.
What perhaps underscores the Yaris' performance intentions best is just how bespoke it is.
This is no mere 'big engine shoe horned into tiny car' equation. Toyota has built the GR Yaris on a unique platform that combines the front end of the nameplate's typical TNGA GA-B underpinnings with the rear end from Toyota's GA-C platform (a la the all-wheel drive CH-R). What's more, carbon fibre and aluminium form a large part of the construction of the body.
Now, Toyota has unveiled the Yaris in full; doing so at this week's Tokyo Auto Salon event in Japan. Though some of the leaked images a lot of what we're seeing isn't a particular surprise.
Pumped out guards give the Yaris a rally-inspired look while simultaneously providing better accommodation for the forged 18in wheels and 225/40R Dunlop SP Sport MAXX050 rubber (the aforementioned Circuit Pack will swap these for a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4s).
Almost all of the giant sea of vent on the front is functional, which makes for a curious contrast to the amount of solid vent found on its Supra GR cousin. It's an attractive little beast, complimented by a cabin lined with Alcantara, leather, and red stitching everywhere.
Apart from being able to see it in full for the first time, the other big news is confirmation that the quick Yaris will be sold locally alongside the Supra and 86 — completing the firm's return to having a sports-orientated line-up.
“This new addition to the Yaris range will live up to Akio Toyoda’s promise to build fun-to-drive cars,” says Toyota New Zealand Chief Operating Officer, Neeraj Lala. “We can’t wait to get it here at the end of this year. With TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s input into the development and testing of this new GR Yaris, it is an exciting addition to our small car line-up.”
There's a few points and caveats to consider. Local pricing has yet to be confirmed, although it's expected to be priced well beyond the similarly sized (but two-wheel driven) likes of the Ford Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTI.
Those engine output numbers mentioned earlier, too, are also in doubt. European variants of the Yaris will make 192kW/360Nm and Japanese variants will make 200kW/360Nm. One would assume that New Zealand would get the Japanese variant, but Toyota NZ acknowledged in its press release that local power figures may differ from the 200kW/360Nm plugged earlier.
Either way, it's exciting times for those who love pint-sized hot hatches.