In-depth reviews

Toyota GR Yaris review - Engines, performance and drive

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

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.

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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