The Toyota GR Yaris is one of the most highly-anticipated hot hatches of the year and one that car enthusiasts have been excited about. As a matter of fact, the initial batch of Toyota GR Yaris units in Australia has already been sold out. Nearer to home, Thailand has just opened up the order books for the highly-anticipated hot hatch.
Why does this matter? Well, it’s mostly due to the fact that most of the cars that get offered in Thailand often end up here in the Philippines. Since the GR Yaris is manufactured in Japan, the GR Yaris is quite expensive in its market since the Thai government is heavily protecting its locally-manufactured cars. As a result, pricing for the GR Yaris in their market starts at THB 2.69 million or around PHP 4.3 million. If it ever gets sold here, we suspect that the GR Yaris will be priced along the lines of the Subaru WRX STI or Honda Civic Type R, which should be around P2.9 to P3.1 million.
As a recap, the Toyota GR Yaris is a homologation model in order for Toyota to compete in the next season of the FIA World Rally Championship. It is based on the Japanese and European Yaris that utilizes Toyota’s TNGA platform, which in turn is completely unrelated to the Yaris sold in our region. However, the GR Yaris is actually closer to the rally car than the standard Yaris. As a matter of fact, the only thing that the GR Yaris shares with the standard Yaris are the headlights, taillights, wing mirrors, and sharkfin antenna. Everything else is completely bespoke to this hot hatch, including the carbon fiber roof and aluminum hood, trunk, and doors.
While the front half of the car is a modified version of the standard Yaris’ platform, the rear half actually comes from the Corolla. As a result, the rear track of the GR Yaris is much wider and it features an independent double-wishbone suspension rather than a torsion beam suspension.
Under the hood of the GR Yaris is currently the most powerful production three-cylinder engine in the world. It’s an all-new 1.6-liter direct-injected and turbocharged petrol engine that produces 261 hp and 360 Nm of torque. This is actually slightly down compared to the Japanese-market GR Yaris, which produces 272 hp and 370 Nm of torque. It is then mated to a 6-speed manual with an automatic rev-matching function. With this powertrain, the GR Yaris can sprint from zero to 100 kph in as little as 5.6 seconds, all the way to a top speed of 230 kph.
Power is sent through a bespoke GR-Four 4WD system. The ingenious system uses slightly different gear ratios for the front and rear axles and allows for a theoretical range of front/rear torque balance from 100:0 (full front-wheel drive) to 0:100 (full rear-wheel drive). This flexibility gives a performance advantage over on-demand AWD systems that use twin-coupling, or permanent AWD systems with a center differential.