The 2021 Toyota GR Yaris Is a Lancia Delta for the Modern Age Says Doug DeMuro

Rally racing, or in layman’s terms, the art of driving suicidally fast down a dirt-covered tree-ridden road, produces some great cars. Motorsport is the crucible in which truly incredible performance cars are forged, and Toyota knows this. That’s exactly where the 2021 Toyota GR Yaris comes from.

Automotive YouTuber DougDeMuro thinks the Yaris is a Lancia Delta for today’s aspiring rally racers.

The GR Yaris reincarnates the Lancia Delta

A blue and white Martini livery Lancia Delta S4 rally car racing through a muddy puddle on a rally stage.
The legendary Lancia Delta S4 rally car | National Motor Museum via Getty Images

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On paper, the Lancia Delta, part of the deadly Group B era of rally racing, is certainly a predecessor to the 2021 Toyota GR Yaris. Obviously, both were built for rally racing. Both cars have all-wheel drive, something popularised in the sport by the legendary Audi Quattro. Moreover, both feature turbocharged engines.

However, the Delta does have a crucial difference in the powerplant department. The Delta’s motor featured a supercharger in addition to its turbo, helping keep power consistent throughout the rev range. Drivers complained the turbo was too hard to keep spooled in corners, so a supercharger was added. While it’s a cool system, only Volvo has been able to make it stick in production cars. Instead, Toyota uses a turbocharged 3-cylinder mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.

Is the 2021 Toyota GR Yaris coming to the U.S?

A white 2021 Toyota GR Yaris shot from the front 3/4 on an open road
Toyota’s homologated GR Yaris hatchback | Toyota

Finally, there’s one last similarity between the 2021 Toyota GR Yaris and the Lancia Delta. Neither has ever been sold in the U.S market. Lancia left a few years before the Delta due to poor sales. However, there may be hope for the Yaris, which was sold here for 14 years, according to Doug. Demand for the GR Yaris is absolutely rabid here in the States, which could mean Toyota can be incentivized to sell it here.

It’s easy to see why demand is so high. Ties to the Delta aside, the Toyota GR Yaris is a phenomenal driver’s car. The body is almost entirely different from the standard Yaris, with the head and tail lights being just about the only things left. Then there’s the motor, which is currently the most powerful production 3-cylinder in the world at 257 hp. Oh, and of course, what’s a rally car without AWD and a manual transmission?

Road meets rally thanks to Gazoo Racing

The rear 3/4 of a white Toyota GR Yaris in a garage
The GR Yaris is almost entirely different from a base model | Toyota

Toyota’s 3-cylinder may lose the “world’s most powerful” title to Koenigsegg’s Gemera soon, but that’s a hell of a company to lose to, as Doug points out. To that point, the 2021 Toyota GR Yaris is a hell of an enthusiast car. However, it is lacking in practicality. The back seats are basically useless and the rear hatch might hold a thimble if you use a shrink ray.

But the Yaris isn’t designed to be a do-all hatchback like the Golf GTI. Toyota built the Yaris to satisfy the homologation requirements set down by the WRC (World Rally Championship). The Yaris certainly does that at the very least. So far, it’s been a sales success the world over. Hopefully, it can come stateside and do the same.

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