The Toyota GR Yaris Is Great and That Is Really Annoying

The Yaris is very nearly the most boring car ever. Well, maybe not as boring as the Kia Rio, but that’s different. It is plastic-y, ill-equipped, and looks like a doorstop. That is all we have to go on here in America, and that is frustrating. Take a short trip across the big water, and our European friends are ripping around the dirt roads over there sideways in the brand new GR Yaris. Over here, Toyota can’t muster the strength to make a Supra that isn’t just a recycled BMW

What’s the difference between the Toyota Yaris and the GR Yaris?

Almost everything. As most of us now know, the Yaris line has ended in America. Seeing as how we weren’t going to get the GR Yaris, it doesn’t really matter. The normal Yaris was a reliable economy car that got the job done. Nothing was exciting, sporty, or pretty about it in any way. It came with a 106-hp inline-four that could have easily been replaced with a hamster running in a wheel. It was front-wheel drive and came with either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. 

a blue Toyota Yaris driving though a rainy city
2019 Toyota Yaris | Toyota

The GR Yaris, featured in the Mr. JWW video on Motor1, is a completely different story. Unlike the regular Yaris, this little hot hatch is almost completely new and different from its counterpart. The folks at MotortSport TV decided to start a modding/tuning project with this car for that exact reason. As the host mentions in the video, the only parts that the two cars share is the headlights, taillights, mirrors, and stubby antennae. The rest of the GR Yaris was made specifically for the WRC rally as a homologation special. 

What makes the GR Yaris so annoying? 

A red 2021 Toyota GR Yaris slides on a track
2021 Toyota GR Yaris | Toyota

The annoying part is not just that we can’t get one in America, but the fact that this whole time we were driving old Toyota Trucks, the Toyota branded BMWs, and so on, Toyota was abroad sending cars like this into the world. THE GR Yaris is a completely new car that required tons of money, research, and development over the years. Meanwhile, Toyota is sending us its table scraps from 15 years ago. 

The GR Yaris is infinitely better and cooler than the Toyota Supra

Look, the Supra was/is an exciting car on its own. Without context and comparison, the Supra looks great, is a proper sports car, and has a popular history, but if you show the whole story, things get a little more frustrating. 

Many car nerds were super pumped when the Supra came out until they realized that it was essentially just a BMW Z4 with a new shell and badge. It felt lazy and uninspired. The GR Yaris, on the other hand, was built from the ground up to be a ferocious dirt-track killer. Unlike the Supra, the Yaris actually comes with a proper sports car transmission that lets you pick the gear you want when you want. What a novel idea!


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The GR Yaris also has a killer little motor. It’s a turbocharged 1.6-liter three-cylinder motor that makes around 267 hp according to Toyota. The plans to mod this little Toyota seem playful and light due to the strong platform. The host, Mr. JWW mentions exhaust which for such a small-engined car, might be tricky to get a decent sound, but due to the turbo, squeezing over 300 hp shouldn’t require much more than a pop on its rear end. 

Out of the box, the suspension and brakes are pretty great, which shouldn’t be a surprise for the Rally car, but JWW mentions there may be room to play with them a little. Hearing him talk through the modding potentials is so fun because he is dealing with a car he already loves and doesn’t really need anything. The mods are simply the process of making an already great car even greater. 

Toyota if you’re listening…

We here in America are annoyed. When will you give us a chance to drive something other than trucks and SUVs from 15 years ago or a sports car that we already had just in a different package? We know you can do it; you are just not doing it for us.