That is what makes the Toyota GR Yaris so good


Toyota’s GR Yaris caused a sensation when it was launched in 2020 and made hearts beat faster. This humble little car has become a cult icon almost overnight, which many people weren’t expecting at all. Jeremy Clarkson even named it his Car of the Year this year and Top Gear gave the mighty little car a 10 out of 10 rating, and it had similar ratings on many publications like Evo and what a car. But what makes the car so special?

There are many reasons for this, which we will go into in detail here. It’s probably fair to say that it has been the surprise of the decade so far, and all of the negative things people have said about it have been so insignificant that it just wasn’t worth documenting. The car also evokes the glory days of the rally homologation specials as this car was very much set to be such a homologation special before the World Rally Championship changed the rulebook for the series to become a hybrid from 2022. This is all you need to know about why the GR Yaris is so good.


A really great homologation special



Toyota GR Yaris in red
via the CAR magazine

The first point to be explored is the special status of the homologation of the car. What are homologation specials? These are road cars that must be built in order for a manufacturer to build a car for rally competition. Think of the Lancia 037 or the Audi Quattro. All of these had to have a certain number built for the road before they could be unleashed on the world’s rally stages. That is exactly what the GR Yaris should be.

First, 2,500 Toyota units would have to be built over a period of 12 months to qualify for the WRC. The rally cars must use the same basic body. The problem is that the World Rally Championship has changed the rules since then. The WRC will have a hybrid formula and therefore the GR Yaris will not appear in the WRC. Which is sad as it certainly revived the days of the really big homologation specials as every other rally car in the current era of WRC has been nothing short of a car based on a production vehicle.


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This is how the GR Yaris drives



Toyota GR Yaris rear side panel
via Top Gear

The driving style of the GR Yaris is really worth seeing. In their online review, Top Gear describes the car as driving “as you hoped it would be. As you dreamed it would be ”. Essentially, this means it feels just as punchy and lively as you would expect from the car. Top Gear also describes it as the size of a Ford Fiesta ST, but it drives a lot more like something bigger and aggressive, and most importantly, it has a rally car mindset. That was Toyota’s goal.


Under the hood of the small GR Yaris is a 1.6-liter turbo engine. This engine has an output of 257 hp. That might not be as much as some rivals, even if it’s pretty crisp, but remember something. First of all, this car is all-wheel drive. So it’s incredibly handy. Second, it’s a cornering machine and it’s incredibly light. The car weighs only 1,280 kg. It’s incredibly easy. And with a top speed of 142 mph, it’s certainly not a problem, especially with its 5.5 second time from 0-62. This car is damn strong.

The best Toyota product in years



Toyota GR Yaris White front view of the quarter
via Toyota UK Blog

Keep in mind that some of its competitors may have more than 300 horsepower but probably weigh about 150 kg more. Nor is it that Toyota skimmed down on the interior. Step inside and you might get a little freaked out from the fairly high seating position, but that’s fine. That’s a rally car because it improves visibility. The seats are incredibly soft and comfortable, with nice upholstery and all controls are within easy reach, and everything feels crisp and sharp. There are no two things. This could be the best Toyota in years.


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A car everyone should own



Toyota GR Yaris White Front Quarter View on the street
about car throttle

Frankly, this is a car everyone should own. It’s easy. The formula may sound a bit boring at first glance. But then you really look at the specs, look at the car itself, its interior and feel how it drives. The Toyota GR Yaris is one of the most extraordinary cars in recent years. Most of us would probably wish more cars were like this. But do we want that too? Because the Toyota GR Yaris in many ways deserves to stand out as one of the best rally / road specials we’ve ever seen.

Source: Top Gear, CAR Magazine, Toyota UK Blog, Car Throttle



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