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.
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.
In this review
- 1Toyota GR Yaris reviewDeveloped as a ‘World Rally Car for the road’, the Toyota GR Yaris is no ordinary supermini
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingThe GR Yaris is able to cover ground with spectacular pace and agility
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsIt’s not cheap to buy, but the GR Yaris offers decent economy for a performance model and holds onto its value well
- 4Interior, design and technologyAlthough the cabin is a little plain, Toyota’s commitment to designing a proper driver’s car is clearly evident in the GR Yaris
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceDespite being a point-to-point weapon, the GR Yaris still offers useful practical features
- 6Reliability and safetyThe thorough engineering approach taken with the GR Yaris and Toyota’s excellent reputation for reliability should give peace of mind