Skip advert
Advertisement

Automatic Toyota GR Yaris in development

Toyota entered a GR Yaris with an automatic gearbox in its Gazoo Racing Rally Challenge

Toyota is trialling an eight-speed automatic gearbox for its wild, motorsport-inspired GR Yaris hot hatchback, which made its first public appearance at the firm’s Gazoo Rally Racing Challenge in Japan. 

Currently a prototype only, the automatic Yaris was driven in the Toyota-organised competition by the firm’s Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, Shigeru Hayakawa. Speaking to Japanese publication Car Watch, Hayakawa said: "I'm told that it's okay to break it. I’ve already broken it once!”.

Few details about the car have been confirmed, but the front grille has been altered with a view to possibly providing extra airflow to a transmission oil cooler. It’s also understood that the gearbox is a torque converter unit rather than a twin-clutch type, with sources suggesting it has been tuned for fast and smooth shifts that don’t compromise efficiency.

Advertisement - Article continues below

This car also featured rallying tweaks, such as lightweight wheels, gravel tyres along and flaps. Under the bonnet it’s likely to retain the production car’s 257bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine.

Inside, the car remains standard apart from an automatic transmission selector lifted from the Toyota parts bin, plus some paddle shifters for the steering wheel.

If Toyota does offer the GR Yaris with both manual and automatic transmissions, it could pave the way for the upcoming GR Corolla to potentially be available with both. Or the Yaris could be acting as a testbed for the Corolla’s new gearbox.

Auto Express questioned Toyota UK on the likelihood of an automatic GR Yaris reaching the market over here, but the brand declined to comment. 

Now check out the best hot hatchbacks on sale now…

Skip advert
Advertisement
Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Inflation strikes again! Updated Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch is £12,000 more than before
Toyota GR Yaris (grey) - front static
News

Inflation strikes again! Updated Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch is £12,000 more than before

The GR Yaris ‘Gen 2’ comes with 276bhp three-cylinder motor, plus two rally driver-tuned special editions
27 Mar 2024
New Toyota GR Yaris WRC special editions bring drive modes set by star rally drivers
Toyota GR Yaris Rovanpera Edition - front
News

New Toyota GR Yaris WRC special editions bring drive modes set by star rally drivers

Toyota is celebrating its WRC success with a pair of very special editions of the GR Yaris configured by Sebastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera
25 Jan 2024
Top 10 best hot hatchbacks to buy 2024
Best hot hatchbacks - header image
Best cars & vans

Top 10 best hot hatchbacks to buy 2024

The best hot hatches offer giant-killing performance and a gripping drive, all wrapped in a user-friendly package
25 Jan 2024
Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch to follow up facelift with special edition variant
Toyota GR Yaris 2024 - full front
News

Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch to follow up facelift with special edition variant

A new teaser video shows tribute cars for Toyota’s WRC drivers
24 Jan 2024

Most Popular

New 2024 Nissan Qashqai prices and specs announced as family SUV war heats up
Nissan Qashqai reveal - full front
News

New 2024 Nissan Qashqai prices and specs announced as family SUV war heats up

The start price for the Nissan Qashqai has increased by £3,000 due to the loss of the old entry-level Visia trim
24 May 2024
Car Deal of the Day: new VW Tiguan in well-equipped Match trim for under £300 a month
Volkswagen Tiguan - front cornering
News

Car Deal of the Day: new VW Tiguan in well-equipped Match trim for under £300 a month

Volkswagen’s practical and refined mid-size SUV is our Deal of the Day for 24 May
24 May 2024
Suzuki Swift vs MG3 2024 twin test: bargain small car battle
MG3 and Suzuki Swift - front cornering
Car group tests

Suzuki Swift vs MG3 2024 twin test: bargain small car battle

The Ford Fiesta’s demise has left a yawning chasm in the supermini class. Can the new MG3 and Suzuki Swift fill it?
25 May 2024