It’s taken us longer than anticipated to catch up with Toyota’s pocket rocket, the GR Yaris –
– but it was worth the wait.
With 200kW of power, a manual change, all-wheel drive and tipping the scales at 1280kg,
it puts away the zero to 100 km/h dash in just 5.2 seconds.
BUT as entertaining as it might be, this little bundle of bravado doesn’t come cheap — not
at more than $50,000.
The Rallye edition, priced from $54,500 plus on-roads, introduces lightweight components
and performance parts, specifically designed for drivers who want to experience a higher
level of performance.
Rallye is distinguished by bespoke Frosted White crystal pearl paint and bright red brake
callipers bearing the Toyota Gazoo Racing logo.
Inside, Rallye boasts synthetic leather-accented sports front seats that feature large
bolsters, red stitching and perforated Ultrasuede inserts.
A uniquely numbered GR Yaris Rallye plaque is fixed to the centre console with an
additional Rallye badge on the rear hatch (ours was #12).
Standard kit includes dual-zone climate air, suede and leather trimmed sports seats,
heated front seats, smart entry and start, and an auto-dimming rear mirror.
You also receive complimentary map upgrades for 3 years.
Infotainment is provided by 8-speaker JBL audio and a 7-inch touchscreen display, with
Bluetooth, voice recognition, DAB+ digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along
with one USB and 12V outlet in the front.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The Rallye edition is powered by the same 200kW/370Nm 1.6-litre single-scroll
turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine as the GR.
And Toyota reckons it’s the world’s most powerful, series production, three-pot, able to
propel the car from rest to 100km/h in 5.2 seconds.
Power is fed to all four wheels through the clever GR-FOUR all-wheel drive system via a
six-speed intelligent manual gearbox with rev-matching for up and down shifts.
Rallye features the latest Toyota Safety Sense technologies including a pre-collision safety
system with autonomous emergency braking, intersection assistance, high-speed adaptive
cruise control, lane trace assist and road-sign assist.
Other safety features include emergency steering assist, blind spot monitor, head-up
display, reversing camera and six airbags.
But, while standard Yaris gets a five-star safety rating, the GR is a significantly different
vehicle and this rating does not apply.
Key upgrades include circuit-tuned GR suspension, Torsen limited-slip differentials on the
front and rear axles, an ultra-light high-performance wheel-and-tyre package and improved
front brake ducting to improve cooling.
The front MacPherson strut suspension from the GR Yaris has been upgraded with stiffer
springs and anti-roll bars to realise the new model’s full performance potential.
GR Yaris is the car they used to homologate Toyota’s World Rally Championship
contender. It shares only three exterior parts with the donor car — mirrors, headlights and
tail lights — speaks volumes about the design process.
The platform for this car combines the front end of a standard Yaris with the rear of the
GA-C platform used for Corolla.
With its wider stance, pumped out guards and beefy 225 series rubber, GR Yaris looks
more than just tough — it looks ready to rumble.
GR-FOUR AWD is designed to optimise torque through a high-response coupling and
electronically controlled multi-plate clutch located ahead of the rear differential.
It features three driver-selectable modes — Normal, Track and Sport — that deliver a
different distribution of torque between front and back: 60:40, 30:70 and 50:50
Two Torsen limited-slip diffs control distribution between left and right wheels to deliver
natural and direct control with enhanced stability, cornering performance and grip.
A plastic, carbon-fibre reinforced roof, aluminium bonnet, doors and tailgate, with liberal
use of lightweight, high-tensile steel – underscore the performance potential.
It’s also equipped with lightweight, high-strength 18-inch BBS forged alloys. Michelin Pilot
Sport 4S high-performance 225/40ZR18 tyres are standard, but our test vehicle had been
fitted with Dunlop SP Sport Maxx (the tyre normally fitted to the non-Rallye model).
You won’t find a spare in the back either. A puncture repair kit is supplied instead — to
save weight. It could also have something to do with the fact the battery is located under
the boot floor (to make way for a larger air cleaner under the bonnet).
The driver-focused cabin is fitted with a small-diameter, leather-wrapped steering wheel
with fingertip controls, leather-wrapped short-throw gear shifter and handbrake, plus
Round analogue speedo and tacho dials sit either side of a centre 4.2-inch driver info
display that offers an array of details including turbo pressure and gear-shift indicators.
An adjustable driver’s seat and tilt-and-telescopic steering column contribute to an ideal
Two rear seats feature IsoFix anchor points and are split 60/40 to expand the 141-litre
luggage space to 737 litres when the seats are folded.
With a 50-litre tank, Rallye takes the good stuff, 98 RON unleaded and uses a claimed
7.6L/100km. We clocked up 765km behind the wheel at the rate of 8.1L/100km.
GR Yaris is a treat to drive. Buckle in, fire it up, slip the transmission into gear and away
you GOOOO !
Tommi Makinen and a bunch of rally types including Mr Toyoda himself reportedly had
input into the setup of this car, and boy does it show.
It’s an incredibly well-balanced package, with a stack of torque available across from 3000
to 4600 revs. Grip and acceleration are impressive and leaves me wondering what this car
is like on dirt? After all, that’s what it’s designed for…
Competition grade brakes bite hard and keep on biting time and time again with no signs
The manual change is a keeper, slick, short throw and easy to use with tightly grouped
pedals for heel and toe braking, as well as rev matching for the majority. Steering is
precise, direct and responsive, delivering plenty of feedback about what’s going on down
Two large exhaust outlets deliver a neighbourhood-rousing soundtrack . . . but like the 86
the engine note is artificially enhanced.
We anticipated the GR would have rock hard sports suspension, something akin to a race
car. However, the ride is surprisingly supple and dare we say very liveable.
It’s not all peaches and cream though. GR Yaris is a tight fit, feels plasticky in parts and
there’s no parking sensors of any kind.
The blind spot system in our test vehicle kept triggering for no apparent reason while the
centre info panel kept warning us to avoid ”excessive acceleration”. That negates the
whole point, does it not?
At first, we thought it might have been the outside temperature, but when it happened
again on a cold, frosty Orange, NSW morning – we had to rule that out.
It’s a lot of dough for a small hatch. But the GR Yaris Rallye edition packs a punch, proof
positive that good things do come in small packages – especially if you like your driving
AT A GLANCE
Toyota GR Yaris, $49,500
Toyota GR Yaris Rallye, $54,500
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota GR Yaris Rallye 1.6L Turbo 3-cylinder petrol, 6sp manual,
Capacity: 1.6 litres
Configuration: Three cylinders,
Maximum Power: 200kW @ 6500rpm
Maximum Torque: 370Nm @ 3000-4600rpm
Fuel Type: 98 RON petrol
Fuel Capacity: 50 litres
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.6L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 172g/km
DRIVELINE: Six-speed manual with travel-adjusted clutch, GR-Four permanent all-wheel
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Turning Circle: 10.62m (tyre), 11.28m (body)
Kerb Mass: 1280kg
Front: 356mm two-piece ventilated discs, 4-piston red calliper
Rear: 297mm ventilated discs, 2-piston red calliper
Five years / unlimited kilometres