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In-depth reviews

Toyota GR Yaris review - Engines, performance and drive

The GR Yaris is able to cover ground with spectacular pace and agility

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.5 out of 5

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Toyota hasn’t been shy in declaring the GR Yaris ‘A World Rally Car for the road’, so it needed to ensure its three-door pocket rocket lives up to such a billing.

Well, things get off to a pretty good start with an all-new 1.6-litre engine, designed to comply with world rally regulations and ready for the rigours of competitive racing. Toyota claims it is the most powerful three-cylinder engine currently in production, and also the smallest and lightest 1.6-litre turbocharged unit… in the world.

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Choose the Circuit Pack and you’ll benefit from weight-saving, 18-inch forged alloy wheels with track-focused Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, while all cars have brakes similar in size to the latest Supra for reassuring stopping power.

The GR Yaris uses a new GR-Four all-wheel-drive system, Toyota’s first such set-up in over 20 years. It features three separate driving modes: Normal, Sport and Track, with each varying the power that’s sent to the front and rear wheels.

Track mode uses a balanced 50:50 split between front and rear axles, with Sport delivering more of a rear-wheel drive feel due to its 30:70 arrangement. But, if you just want to pootle around town, then that’s fine, too, as Normal mode gives you a 60:40 power set-up from front to back.

At 1,280kg, the three-door GR Yaris weighs-in slightly heavier than we were expecting, but that said, it’s only 18kg more than a Ford Fiesta ST and a full 100kg less than a Honda Civic Type R.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The 1.6-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged engine produces 257bhp and 360Nm between 3,000-4,600rpm, with a claimed 0-62mph time of 5.5s and a 143mph maximum speed. In comparison, the Fiesta ST is a second off the Toyota’s sprinting pace, while the Civic Type R also lags behind with a best of 5.8s to 62mph.

But, to focus solely on straight-line speed would be to do the GR Yaris a disservice, as its ability to travel cross-country with unnatural speed and agility would put most supercars to shame - it’s that good.

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