Watch the Toyota GR Yaris Take on Its Rally Predecessor

Thanks to a rally racing touch, the Toyota GR Yaris is shaping up to a truly hype-worthy hot hatch. But it’s not the Japanese automaker’s only all-wheel-drive hatchback rally entry. Before the GR Yaris, Toyota had the Celica GT-Four. But how does the new kid on the block compare to the old guard? The YouTube team at Fifth Gear decided to find out.

The Toyota GR Yaris and Celica GT-Four are prepared for a rally stage

The 2021 Toyota GR Yaris and the ST205 Toyota Celica GT-Four have some similarities. Both have a rear hatchback, two doors, all-wheel drive, and a manual transmission. But it’s here where the two cars start to (pardon the pun) drift apart.

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

The 2021 Toyota GR Yaris has a 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine rated at 257 hp and 266 lb-ft linked to a 6-speed manual. And while it resembles a Yaris, it only shares seven parts with the standard car, Hagerty reports. The GR Yaris’s chassis has more welds, and its body has a carbon-fiber roof as well as aluminum doors, hood, and trunk, Top Gear reports.

As a result, it’s stiffer, longer, lower, and wider than the standard car. Not to mention lighter: in its lightest form, the Toyota GR Yaris weighs just 2822 pounds, MotorTrend reports. And even in its heaviest form, it weighs less than 2900 pounds, Road & Track reports.

A black 1994 Toyota Celica GT-Four
1994 Toyota Celica GT-Four | Bring a Trailer

But the ST205-gen Toyota Celica GT-Four isn’t exactly a slouch. Under its hood (which is aluminum, too, Hemmings reports) is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 252 hp and 224 lb-ft, GarageDreams reports. Though that’s only in Japan; elsewhere the engine makes 239 hp. It’s linked to a 5-speed manual.

But, while the Celica GT-Four’s engine is down on power compared to the GR Yaris, it has a few unique features. Namely, it has all the necessary hookups for water-injection and anti-lag systems, CarThrottle and MT report.

Both the Toyota GR Yaris and Celica GT-Four have upgraded suspension and 4-wheel discs. They both have rear Torsen limited-slip differentials, too, Roadshow and PistonHeads report, though the Yaris also has a front one. However, that’s only with the optional Circuit Pack, Car and Driver reports. But unlike the GR Yaris, the Toyota Celica GT-Four lacks adjustable driving modes and AWD settings.

How do the Toyota GR Yaris and Celica GT-Four compare in a head-to-head?

On paper, the 2021 Toyota GR Yaris can out-accelerate its predecessor. Not only is it more powerful, but it’s also lighter. The Toyota Celica GT-Four weighs 3064 pounds, Fifth Gear reports.

As a result, in non-JDM-spec, the ST205 goes 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds. And even in 252-hp form, Toyota only claimed a 0-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds, CarThrottle reports. In comparison, the GR Yaris goes 0-62 mph in 5.5 seconds, R&T reports. However, the Toyota Celica GT-Four has a higher top speed: 152 mph vs 143 mph.

Around a track, though, that top speed means little. And with the Circuit Pack, the Yaris is noticeably faster. In Fifth Gear’s hands, it managed a 1:17.72 around the testing circuit. The Celica GT-Four, meanwhile, got a 1:25.25. And compared to the newer car, the Celica is less sharp, with slower steering, R&T reports.

In short, the Toyota GR Yaris is a worthy successor to the Celica GT-Four. But for the immediate future, the older car actually has the edge—at least for US fans.

For now, at least, the older car will be the faster choice for US buyers

The rear view of a red 1994 Toyota Celica GT-Four
1994 Toyota Celica GT-Four rear | Duncan Imports

Does AWD Let the Toyota GR Yaris Blitz Past the Honda Civic Type R?

The Toyota Celica GT-Four and GR Yaris share one more thing: they’re not US-market cars. But the Celica GT-Four, at least, is old enough to be import-eligible. Prices tend to be in the $15,000-$20,000 range.

Unfortunately, Toyota has confirmed the GR Yaris won’t be sold in the US. However, the Japanese automaker has teased that a Corolla hot hatch with a similar powertrain and AWD will be sold here. But until then, the GT-Four offers a taste of Toyota’s rally racing touch.

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