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From its GR moniker to its distinct level of sportiness in Toyota's performance lineup, here's what you should know about the Toyota GR Yaris.

30 Dec 2019

This could well be the first Yaris we're all excited about, and that's completely normal given the fact that this Yaris bears the 'GR' moniker - similar to the recently revived Toyota GR Supra.

What this essentially means is that the GR Yaris isn't just mightier than the regular model, it's also more special.

The car is expected to reach our shores in the fourth quarter of 2021, but it'll be officially unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon this coming January.

Here are six things you need to know to better understand what the Toyota GR Yaris is all about.

1. It's mighty, but it's not the king

GR badge to remind you it's not a regular Toyota
Toyota has confirmed its plan to offer three distinct levels of sportiness and in its sports car hierarchy, the GR isn't the cream of the crop, even if it feels like it when we drove the Supra and the Yaris. Instead, the GRMN is the king of kings, and it's positioned above the mid-range GR and the entry level GR Sport.

In the case of the Yaris, the limited GRMN Yaris is the mightiest, followed by the GR Yaris and the Yaris GR Sport. Thus, you won't be wrong to think that the GR Yaris is similar to BMW M Sport models - not a true blue M, but still mighty impressive.

2. Light on weight, heavy on power

The GR Yaris weighs less than 1.3 tonnes
According to Takashi Doi, Assistant Chief Engineer of the GR Yaris, one of the main ingredients of making a hot hatch is power-to-weight ratio. With regards to that, the GR Yaris doesn't fail.

Thanks to the extensive use of aluminium, a new carbon fibre reinforced plastic roof and a small 1.6-litre three-cylinder engine (which in turn weighs lesser) that puts out 250bhp and 350Nm of twisting force, the GR Yaris pumps out some 0.19bhp per kg which is some 18% more than the MINI JCW.

3. There are two variants

The LSD makes the GR Yaris an agile car to pilot
Buyers can choose between two models - Feature Pack and Performance Pack - with the former being the base model our market will most likely get.

The Feature Pack comes with Dunlop tyres and open front and rear differentials, while the Performance Pack comes with stickier high-performance Michelin tyres and mechanical limited-slip differentials at the front and rear. What this basically means is that the Performance Pack model will get you out of corners at high speeds with more stability and accuracy by braking the inner wheels to prevent understeer.

4. It's made for modification

More modifications can be done to the car
According to Shinichiro Ishikawa, Project General Manager of the GR Yaris, Toyota's new hot hatch was honed according to the feedback of multiple professional test car drivers.

As a result, engineers left room for improvement when it came to the tuning of the GR Yaris, which means owners can have a choice of modifying the car to make it even better and faster than it already is. However, Ishikawa-San also mentioned that the car is left the way it is now because they felt it's already at a sweet spot in terms of performance and everyday comfort.

5. It'll only come with three pedals and three-doors

It's a manual transmissioned car and we love it
The GR Yaris comes with a six-speed manual transmission… only. There are currently neither any plans to offer an automatic version of the hot hatch nor will there be a five-door variant, even if these make for a better business case.

With an automatic transmission, Ishikawa-San says that it'll compromise the weight of the GR Yaris and it'll be less responsive than the manual gearbox. As for a five-door variant, Doi-San says that it'll also cause the car to be heavier and, well, it just wouldn't give the car justice because it would be different from the WRC car.

6. It's going to be a proper production car

You can expect to see the car here at the end of 2021
Speaking of WRC, unlike the fire-breathing GRMN Yaris which is sold exclusively in Europe and limited to just 400 units, the mid-performance GR model will see at least 25,000 units a year.

This is due to homologation regulations for the car and to comply with those regulations, this production figure is needed.

Whatever it is, we aren't complaining.

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