The best hot hatch ever made.
There are so many hot hatches out there at the moment. We've already driven the brilliant Golf R and the Nürburgring-Killer Megane Trophy R. But there is nothing out there like the all-new Toyota GR Yaris. The GR Yaris is a rally-bread super hatch like no other. This car means business and pure fun.
Let's start with the basics. The GR Yaris relies on a 1.5l 3cylinder turbo producing over 260 horsepower. This power is sent to all four wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission. The power to the wheels can be changed through three driving modes, of which Sport and Track are the most important. Sport mode enables you to send 60% of the power to the rear wheels. But the most focussed driving mode is Track, which allows for a perfect 50/50 split between both axles. This means that Sport is for fun and track is for... track! The GR Yaris is a rally-derived hot hatch with true rallying potential. You can feel this in every aspect of the car. In the center console, there is a little plack to denote that your car is derived from the WRC. The roof is made of carbon for a lowered center of gravity. Almost every panel on the GR Yaris is different compared to the normal Toyota Yaris. Instead of five doors, the GR Yaris opts for a sleeker three-door design. This means that the doors are absolutely massive and heavy. Sadly the cool design makes the rear seats very cramped and the boot capacity even smaller. So realistically, this is a two-seater. The little 3cylinder engine makes quite the noise, this is because most of the Audio is pumped in through the speakers. Toyota's similarities to BMW are apparent.
The rally bread setup is all there for a reason and the compromises (like the rear seats and small boot) all have a reason. This car is made for 100% fun. The driving experience is unlike anything we've ever experienced and it's unlike any other hot hatch out there. One fundamental thing about the driving experience is the AWD system, which allows you to get so much more out of the car. FWD hot hatches experience a lot of torque-steer and struggle to get off the line. But the GR Yaris launches itself off the line like a rally car. It combines all the good aspects of its engine, gearbox, and drivetrain to produce an engaging and thrilling driving experience. Instead of understeer, there is balance and the occasional oversteer in Sport-Mode. You won't go around any corner faster with any other car, because it gives you so much confidence. In a Ferrari, you don't have the balls to take corners like in the GR Yaris. It is the most confidence-inspiring we've driven in a long while. There isn't a realistic comparison to the GR Yaris, because it's that different from any hot hatch. Of course, a new Golf R and A45S would kill it off the line but all those fancy electronics and torque vectoring is no match for the old school nature of the GR Yaris. You have to work to drive it but yet it's so easy to go fast. It kind of reminds us of Group B Rally cars in the way they would behave on a rally circuit. But maybe that's just our imagination.