ÖIn the last idyllic weeks leading up to the lockdown (and it’s on its way, don’t worry) I’ve driven a lot of what might generally be called SUVs, and I’m a little bit bored with them. beautiful as they can be. We can all have too much of a good thing, including chocolate cake. The ubiquitous SUV is more of a dominant, rapidly multiplying, cleverly evolving variant of the coronavirus that sometimes has coupé or even convertible-like features and brings existing strains (analogous to normal hatches, states and sedans) to extinction.
There are plenty out there, so I have to say that my “diet” was a bit the same, although there are many variations on the subject – electric, hybrid, diesel, gasoline, sportier, budget and luxury. In no particular order, these new products included Honda HR-V, Ford Mustang Mach-e, Dacia Duster, MG HS, Genesis GV80, Volvo XC40 Recharge, and Bentley Bentayga. After crouching high on top of this pile of big, heavy, and – relatively – clumsy stuff, I wanted something like an antidote, an amuse bouche, to invigorate the dulled palate. Hence the Toyota GR Yaris.
Note the nomenclature. This is not a Toyota Yaris GR, which would just mean another trim level of a standard Yaris or a slightly upgraded performance version. No. The GR Yaris has remarkably little in common with the standard Yaris, as powerful as it is. In fact, the GR Yaris is much closer to the Toyota world rally championship model in which Toyota drives. For example, it has a different, lower roof, which is all the better for aerodynamics, and is made of lightweight forged carbon. The aluminum bonnet, door panels, tailgate and housing for the manual transmission provide additional lightness.
With its functional body kit – not only functional for posing – it is wider, longer and wider than the standard Yaris and the rear half consists of a Toyota Corolla to cope with the power and a grippy standard all-wheel drive. It weighs 1.3 tons, which is slim by modern standards.
With the optional “Circuit Pack”, your GR Yaris is even more of a pure racetrack weapon, with extra limited slip differentials, stylish Claiborne brakes and 18-inch BBS light alloy wheels, Michelin sports tires and a somewhat “tuned” chassis. “Tuned” here means unbearably uncomfortable for anyone who is unlucky enough to be a passenger in this hard-driving mini-monster. The GR Yaris is a driver’s car as they say and honestly I don’t know why they bothered to put the other seating there. It is my authority that Toyota’s little toy is unbearable even with moderate pressure.
If your passenger’s ride doesn’t get sick, the G-Forces will – it has supercar performance up to 143 mph – and they just have to put up with the 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine happily all the way It is beaten up to 6,000 rpm and beyond. With loads like the powertrain, it’s no surprise the GR Yaris requires servicing every 6,000 miles. The trunk is useless and the bucket seats mean that the only way to feel comfortable as a driver is to pretend you’re on the track. You can also tell that it is real by the fact that it has a real manual handbrake, which is quickly replaced by small electrical switches.
There are other machines out there that can rival the GR Yaris for sheer fun, like the Civic Type-R, ST Fords, and various M-series BMWs and Mercedes-AMGs, but nothing is as sloppy as that little Toyota, and that adds a lot to the enjoyment.
I’ve been told there are great leasing deals out there, but this is still a £ 30,000 Yaris: other than isn’t it’s actually a bespoke rally car special that is different from the other Yaris models was separated. As a Toyota, it shouldn’t break or break and be a rare sight. In fact, it’s an instant classic and if cared for (which isn’t the point, but still) it will likely always be worth what you paid for it. It is the antidote to the SUV boom, a vaccine against automotive boredom. It’s one of the few cars out there that is positively life-affirming. As long as you are in the driver’s seat.