The Toyota GR Yaris at a glance
To go over the top once more …
Who would have thought that? Toyota, the patron of partial electrification, builder of the Prius and proponent of the fuel cell, is turning up the power once again in the segment of small cars believed to be dead. The new Toyota GR Yaris (combined fuel consumption: 8.4 l / 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 184 g / km²) is the right medicine for a winter depression or a midlife crisis. Sell your sports car, your all-wheel drive station wagon or your city car. In the future you only need the GR Yaris!
After the GR Yaris everyone tear themselves
Even before a journalist or customer has ever driven this car, the hype about the Japanese poisonous dwarf was great. Permanent all-wheel drive, 192 kW / 261 PS, 360 Newton meters of torque and a 6-speed manual transmission with an unladen weight of 1,280 kg have not only made the fan base of small compact athletes sit up and take notice. Seasoned Porsche or Ferrari drivers proudly present their newly acquired Gazoo Racing Yaris in the social media channels, drive it across snow-covered Alpine passes or hunt at high speed on the racetrack.
The hype is real
Yes, dear readers, the hype is real! The bottom line is that the Toyota GR Yaris with its 1.6-liter three-cylinder turbo, which doesn’t always sound real, is as good as expected in many respects. It starts with its visual appearance. He stands in front of me wide and mean, all in black, with a weight-optimized roof construction and on 18 inch wheels. Color contrast is only created by the four red brake calipers of the highly recommended high-performance package for 4,490 euros.
The high-performance package is a must!
But much more important is the GR Four all-wheel drive, which has been upgraded in the equipment package. It includes a Torsen limited-slip differential on the front and rear axles and enables torque to be distributed not only between the axles, but also between the individual wheels on each axle.
GR Four all-wheel drive with three setups
The result is pure excitement – in all road conditions! If it is snowing or raining as if from buckets, you can drive the GR Yaris in the very best rally style, whereby the all-wheel drive can be further refined using the dial in the center console. In the “Comfort” position, the GR Yaris distributes its power in a safety-conscious manner in a ratio of 60:40 percent between the front and rear axles. In “Sport” mode, the four-wheel drive is radicalized to 30:70 percent, in order to distribute the power in an even 50:50 ratio in the “Track” setting.
Sometimes across, sometimes with grip
On the other hand, the extreme grip level of the installed tires (Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 050 in summer) is extremely impressive on dry roads. How the firm, but at the same time not uncomfortable steel chassis of the GR Yaris takes curves is more than remarkable and at the same time you have to be remarkably stupid so that the all-wheel drive does not do what you want. In other words: The Japanese are not only damn fast, but also very safe. This is further underscored by the numerous assistance systems that can all be deactivated. Then the somewhat unadorned analog instrument cluster will flash like a Christmas tree, but you can be sure that at this moment you are really on the move analog.
Analog driving pleasure
Analog is a good keyword anyway. There is a real handbrake lever with which you can give the GR Yaris the impulse over the vertical axis at the right moment. There is a precisely working 6-speed manual switch and a non-slip sports steering wheel with, for my taste, too many buttons. The transition to the brief description of the interior is fluid: the multi-colored info display in the instrument cluster is a bit fragmented, the sound system clatters at full volume, the plastic in the interior is not beyond doubt – little things that shouldn’t reduce the driving pleasure of the GR Yaris.
Subjectively, you are always faster
Accelerating from zero to 100 km / h pulls all the wrinkles out of your face and even though 5.5 seconds is not a 911 Turbo level – subjectively it feels even more violent. On the other hand, three things are really annoying: the Toyota GR Yaris runs only 230 km / h ex works (but could be much faster), the huge interior mirror construction hinders the view to the front and overall the all-round view is more than modest for an agile city car. Unfortunately, the dirt-sensitive reversing camera only helps to a limited extent.
Little flexible interior
On the other hand, I don’t complain about the cramped space conditions, after all there are two or three water boxes in the trunk. The rest of the weekly shopping has to find space on the back seat, which is difficult to reach. Which also means that you shouldn’t have any hobbies or children. But you have the Toyota GR Yaris as a leisure activity. It takes you into the world of rallying and shows you its origins with a small WRC badge between the front seats.
GR Yaris with many amenities
In the same direction you can activate the automated double-declutching or deactivate the driving aids mentioned above. Otherwise, the Japanese offers a surprising number of comfortable amenities. Seat heating, steering wheel heating, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connection as well as parking sensors all around are part of the standard trim.
Consumption can vary widely
Finally, a few words about consumption: If you really ask for the three-cylinder, you will reap a whopping V8-level fuel consumption of more than 13 liters per 100 kilometers. In the normal third mix, eight to nine liters of premium petrol should still be enough.
Buy, buy, buy! The Toyota GR Yaris is already the contender for the best sports car of the year in January 2021 (although it made its debut in 2020). Pretty handy, very strong and, thanks to all-wheel drive, a power on any surface. After 15,000 pieces worldwide (!) It will be over and it is unlikely that Toyota will dare to do such a project again. Incidentally, the GR Yaris is largely built by hand in Japan, which may explain the rather high cost price of 33,200 euros. (Text and image: Thomas Vogelhuber)