2020 Toyota GR Yaris hot hatchback prices announced

The Toyota GR Yaris is four-wheel drive and has a huge 257bhp

  • Rally-bred Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch due on sale later this year
  • Powered by a motorsport-derived three-cylinder engine
  • Prices start at £29,995

The new Toyota GR Yaris will start from £29,995. UK buyers will get a choice of two versions: a standard version and a GR Yaris Circuit Pack version that costs £33,495. Full specs are yet to be released but Toyota is targeting first customer deliveries in November.

We expect many buyers to go for the Circuit Pack, which will add a range of upgrades to make the Yaris better on a racetrack, including a limited-slip differential, more advanced suspension and lightweight alloy wheels.

Best hot hatchbacks to buy now

The GR Yaris is essentially a production version of the company’s World Rally Championship (WRC) car, sharing most of the same parts including the four-wheel-drive system and powerful 1.6-litre petrol engine. It won’t be a like-for-like replacement for the Toyota Yaris GRMN special-edition, and is much faster than the Ford Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTI.

The GR Yaris is unique in the hot supermini class for its four-wheel-drive system, as all current rivals are front-wheel drive. A bespoke 1.6-litre three-cylinder petrol engine will power the GR Yaris, and its 257bhp makes it among the highest-powered production superminis ever. This power figure puts the GR Yaris a massive 60bhp clear of the Fiesta ST and Polo GTI, with both producing 197bhp. Zero-to-62mph takes under 5.5 seconds, and you can hit a limited top speed of 143mph.

We’ve already seen the standard 2020 Toyota Yaris, a sharply styled five-door hatchback. Surprisingly few body panels will be carried over to the GR Yaris, which has been redesigned as a three-door model to make it more rigid allowing Toyota to fit outlandish aerodynamic enhancements.

The body will be made from a concoction of exotic materials; aluminium is used for the bonnet, doors and tailgate, while the roof is made from a carbon-fibre polymer. The roofline, meanwhile, is completely different to the standard car, sitting at 95mm lower to improve aerodynamics.

Under the bonnet, you’ll find that the engine has been mounted further back than in the regular Yaris, to improve weight distribution across the car’s axles. While the normal car has torsion-beam rear suspension (like many cars), the GR Yaris will have a more expensive double-wishbone rear setup.

The Toyota GR Yaris is being produced to forge a link between its road and rally cars, and to help gain an edge in the World Rally Championship (WRC) over Hyundai, one of its main rivals. Therefore, it can be thought of as a homologation special, like Toyota Celica GT-Four, Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution models from two decades ago. Sources close to the car’s development say the GR Yaris has even been tested against these cars during its development.

However, the WRC rules in the early 1990s specified that for a car to compete, a limited number of road going versions had to be built. Since 1997, this requirement has been removed, so it’s surprising that the GR Yaris will make production because Toyota has no obligation to build it. We’re told pressure from the rally team made it become a reality, and that it’s 80% similar to the rally car.

In a way, the GR Yaris seems to be in a similar vein to the limited-run Audi A1 quattro, which was launched in December 2012. Only 333 were made, 19 of which came to the UK. The GR Yaris won’t be so exclusive, though, but given for the popularity of hot hatches here, we’ll be among the first countries to get the four-wheel-drive Yaris.

Read our guides to the fastest hot hatchbacks and best drivers’ cars on sale now.

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