There are many valuable, unique cars that sadly aren’t available in the United States. Who wouldn’t want an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio with a manual gearbox or a flashy Renault sports car? Another fast car you won’t be able to find in the States is the Toyota GR Yaris.
The GR Yaris is a sportier version of the regular Yaris, designed specifically to compete in the World Rally Championship. According to MotorTrend, it’s just as fun behind the wheel as a sports car at a very affordable price. Why aren’t more people talking about this feisty hot hatch?
Not available in the U.S.
Currently, the Toyota GR Yaris is only sold in Europe, Japan, and India. Australians should be able to get their hands on one sometime in March. Admittedly, a performance-minded hot hatch at the GR Yaris’s price would likely be a hard sell in the United States.
It doesn’t have the horsepower to compete with the Honda Civic Type R or a Mini Cooper JCW GR. Additionally, the Toyota GR Yaris isn’t well-known in the States, meaning it might not sell a lot of units. Toyota likely isn’t going to take a chance importing a car that could be an expensive flop.
Why people want a Toyota GR Yaris
MotorTrend got a chance to drive the Toyota GR Yaris in December and the staff wasn’t disappointed. Its official 0-62 mph time is 5.5 seconds, but MotorTrend says that it feels much faster. This is likely due to its more aerodynamic structure, lighter aluminum body components, and its powerful engine.
The GR Yaris has a 1.6-liter turbo-three that makes 268 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed manual transmission and a powerful GR-Four AWD platform. It has three specialized drive modes, including a Track setting that splits torque evenly between the front and rear wheels. In Sport mode, 70 percent of the torque can be sent to the rear wheels.
MotorTrend reported that the Toyota GR Yaris never seems to run out of power, even when approaching the 7,000 rpm redline. The steering is light and accurate, making it easy to tackle hairpin turns with confidence. Staff also reported that the brakes are also very responsive.
The front suspension is a reinforced MacPherson strut, complete with bigger disc brakes than those on a Supra. Even better, the GR Yaris has a few performance packs that offer a track-focused suspension, limited-slip differentials, and lighter wheels.
The Toyota GR Yaris will almost certainly be a hit with collectors due to its rarity. MotorTrend says that only 25,000 units are currently planned for production worldwide.
It’s definitely a far cry from the Toyota Yaris we have in the States. Ours is actually not even a true European Yaris: it’s actually a rebadged version of the discontinued Mazda2 sedan. This Yaris has a 106-hp three-cylinder engine and it’s only available with FWD.
Despite its weak motor, the Toyota Yaris is still a great small car. It gets some of the best gas mileage ratings in its class, up to 40 mpg on the highway. It also has solid handling and a surprisingly upscale interior.
Is there any hope for a GR Yaris release stateside?
While Toyota hasn’t confirmed a U.S. GR Yaris release, a different Toyota hot hatch is on the way. Many sources predict it will be a turbocharged Corolla hatchback for the 2021 model year.
Fans of the true Toyota GR Yaris are stuck waiting on the 25-year import rule. This states that after 25 years, any foreign car can be legally imported to the United States.