There’s no denying that the Toyota Yaris isn’t exactly the most popular car in the world. As a subcompact hatchback, its sole purpose was to provide economical transportation with the lovely side effect of easy parking. Toyota changed everything in 2017 when it introduced the supercharged GRMN Yaris back in 2017, but now that a new generation Yaris is alive and kicking, Toyota’s resident subcompact hatchback has been returned to its original status. Well, that was true, until Toyota introduced the GR Yaris – a 257-horsepower pocket rocket that will head up the range until the new GRMN Yaris makes its debut in the next couple of years.
So, what does the GR Yaris bring to the table and is it worth buying? Well, what if I told you that it is the most powerful three-cylinder road car on the planet? Have I enticed you yet? I hope so, because you’re about to find out everything you need to know about it.
2020 Toyota GR Yaris Performance
The Toyota GR Yaris is, quite literally, everything you’re fun from a fun little car. The 1.6-liter, turbocharged, three-cylinder delivers a cool 257 horsepower and 266 pound-feet (260 Nm) of torque. All that power is funneled through a six-speed manual transmission to all four wheels. Both axles feature a Torsen limited-slip differential, too, so you know this thing was designed to handle with the best of them.
You would think that adding in the all-wheel-drive system would push the Yaris to the heavier end of the subcompact scale, but it really doesn’t. Thanks to some clever engineering, the GR Yaris tips the scales at just 2,822 pounds (1,280 Kg), so it should be no surprise that it can sprint to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.5 seconds and tops out at an electronically limited 143 mph (230 km/h).
|Weight/Power ratio (kg/hp)||4.9|
|Max. speed (km/h)||230 (electronically limited)|
|Acc. 0 – 100 km/h (seconds)||5.5|
This performance comes thanks to everything Toyota has learned from WRC over the years. The three-door hatchback has a body from from carbon fiber polymer and aluminum, hence the low weight. The double-wishbone rear suspension contributes to better handling while standard MacPherson struts in the front are a given. The rear track is also wider compared to the standard Yaris too.
There are three different drive modes that can be activated via the 4WD switch. Normal splits the engines torque to a ratio of 60:40 front and rear. If you select sport, 30 percent of torque goes to the front while 70-percent is funnel to the rear wheels. Switching into track mode divides torque evenly between the front and rear wheels for the absolute best handling on the track. However, it should be noted that these are just default settings, as the GR Yaris will also adjust and split torque as necessary with 100-percent of toqrue going to either the front or rear wheels depending on driving conditions or your input.
2020 Toyota GR Yaris Powertrain and Performance Specs
|Type||3-cylinder in line|
|Valve mechanism||DOHC 12-valve with Dual VVT-i|
|Fuel system||Direct & indirect Injection,|
D-4ST high fuel pressure (20 Mpa)
|Supercharging||Single scroll turbo with ball bearings|
|Bore x stroke (mm)||87.5 x 89.7|
|Compression ratio (:1)||10.5 : 1|
|Max. power (DIN hp/ kW @ rpm)||261/192 @ 6,500|
|Max. torque (Nm @ rpm)||360 @ 3,000 to 4,600|
|Emissions level||Euro 6d|
|4WD system type||GR Four Electronically-controlled|
multi-plate type clutch
|– Front/rear torque distribution||variable, 3 modes from 60/40 to 30/70|
|– Limited Slip Differentials||option Torsen front and rear|
|Gear ratios (:1)|
|Differential gear ratio (:1)||3.941 (1st to 4th) – 3.350 (5th-6th-Reverse)|
2020 Toyota GR Yaris Interior Design
The GR Yaris features the same general cabin as the rest of the Yaris range, but Toyota has taken the quality of materials to the next level. Highlights include the leather-wrapped steering wheel, soft-touch material on the door panels, an upgraded shift knob, chrome pedals, leather-wrapped hand brake, and the perforated sports seats for the driver and front passenger. The rear seats have also been upgraded for anyone small enough to get back there, but they don’t offer nearly as much support as the fronts.
On the technology front, a wide digital display sits ahead of the shifter and is used to control the heating and ventilation. The HVAC system works in both manual and automatic mode, and while there is a digital display, Toyota has kept things normal with a strip of physical buttons on the bottom and physical temperature adjustment knobs (dual-zone). The infotainment system is basically the same as you find with the optional infotainment system on lesser version of the Yaris, but this one has been updated with GR graphics and other GR-specific menus. The instrument cluster is semi-digital but has been upgraded to look more modern compared to the standard Yaris.
2020 Toyota GR Yaris Exterior Design
While the standard Yaris looks its part – as in it’s an economical hatchback – the GR Yaris has a lot of motorsport-inspired trim. The front fascia is more aggressive and has a huge grille with massive intakes. Toyota hasn’t discloser whether or not the flics on the corners of the fascia are aerodynamically functional and contribute with downforce, but it seems like they would. The same probably goes for the more aggressive side skirts. The rear end is dominated by the black trim between the headlights and the mildly aggressive rear hatch overhang.
The most interesting aspect of the GR Yaris’ exterior design, however is that the GR Yaris actually features a slightly different silhouette compared to the standard Yaris. Toyota has lowered the roofline by 91 mm or 3.6 inches to give the car that coupe-like silhouette. This absolutely kills rear headroom and it does affect cargo capacity, but from an aesthetic standpoint, it’s totally worth it. The frameless doors are accented by the 18-inch alloy wheels that somehow don’t look too large – a surprising bonus given the subcompact nature of the Yaris.
2020 Toyota GR Yaris Exterior Dimensions
|Running ground clearance||4.88|
|Cd (Drag coefficient)||0.35|
2020 Toyota GR Yaris Pricing
The 2020 Toyota GR Yaris is being built at Toyota’s new Motomachi factory where all the brands GR cars are built. The JDM market gets an extra bonus, too, as the JDM-spec model boasts 268 horsepower. In Japan, the GR Yaris First Edition will be priced at the equivelant of $36,100 while the High-Performance First Edition that comes with BBS forged aluminum wheels and better equipment starts at around $41,600. Pricing for Europe and the U.S. have yet to be announced.