- The car that saved 2020.

The Toyota GR Yaris: The car that saved 2020...

It's been a couple of weeks since Toyota released the all-new GR Yaris and it's proven successful at pleasing the world's motoring journalists.

12w ago

2020 has been a strange and tough year for everybody; with COVID and shocking amounts of boredom, however, the Japanese have restored the will to live with the launch of the all-new Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris. A few weeks have passed by since the launch and journalists have had time to calm down slightly about the excitement this car provides, so allow me to explain why I think it's an instant classic and the car that saved 2020 from an apocalyptic disaster.

It has a story to tell...

Most rally cars begin with a standard car that gets tuned and modified to meet the FIA regulations for the World Rally Championship. Toyota on the other hand, have done it differently. They built a rally car with the help of Tommi Mäkinen and turned that into a road car. That means the GR Yaris is a rally car for the road, and that is enough to impress any petrolhead. Sadly, because of the dreaded virus, the WRC Yaris probably won't ever race. Toyota will most likely continue to use their 2019 car and design a new car for the 2022 season. So what we have is a rally car that will never race - that is sad, but quite rewarding in some aspects for the people that drive them.

People LOVE it!

In my two years in journalism, I haven't seen a car excite car journos as much as this car. Right from the concept unveiling a while ago, everybody has gone thoroughly bonkers over it. That's partly because it's a homologation special and because it's a car built for the car enthusiast in mind. Cheers Toyota for thinking of us!

I know that I love it. From a person that craves small cars with huge character, the GR Yaris is where it's at. It's a loveable and interesting car.

Japanese engineering, a byword for reliability and perfection...

The Japanese are notorious for quality machines, and the GR Yaris is no exception. Somehow, Toyota has managed to get 257bhp and 360Nm of torque from a 1.6-litre 3 cylinder engine aided with a turbo. It's utterly absurd. Not to mention it can do 0-60mph in just 5.3 seconds (quicker than the 320bhp Honda Civic Type-R) and it can max out at 143mph. The drivetrain is also very clever, with three driving modes to choose from - Normal mode, where the GR Yaris sends 60% of the engine's power to the front wheels and 40% to the rear. Sport mode shifts this ratio to 30:70, while Track mode locks the two axles together in a 50:50 split for improved grip and handling around the twisty corners. They have also been clever with the handbrake, which cancels out the drive at the rear for exuberant handbrake turns. Since when has Toyota's target audience gone from a 90-year-old lady to a young mad-man?

It takes 10 times longer to build a GR Yaris than it does to make a standard Yaris. It also has 4175 spot welds on the shell, making it bespoke compared to the tamer version. A lot of the car is made out of aluminium, and the roof made out of carbon, meaning the GR weighs just 1280kg.

It looks cool...

Toyota and Tommi Mäkinen have done a splendid job with the styling. The GR Yaris has wide wheel arches at the rear, a boxy grille at the front, and 3 doors instead of 5 featured on the standard Yaris. It's a fair bit lower than standard and is upgraded with stiffer suspension and performance brakes. All these tweaks not only make it look cool but help with how the car drives. Again, aren't the Japanese clever?

The standard Yaris - with its hybrid system and sensible styling.

The standard Yaris - with its hybrid system and sensible styling.

It's just so perfect!

Everything about the GR Yaris adds up to make a true drivers car. You'd be silly not to like it, it's a bundle of fun. One thing I haven't yet mentioned is the price, the GR Yaris starts at £29,995. Many people have argued that £30k is too much for a Yaris, but I don't see it as a Yaris, I see it as an icon. Would I recommend one? I certainly would, you can't go wrong. Practicality and sensibility are out of the question when we're discussing a rally-bred car. These days, that's something to really cherish. That's why I believe that the GR Yaris is an instant classic, we haven't seen anything like it for quite a long time. I'll go as far as to say it's my favourite car on sale, I like it that much...

The insides of the Yaris GR. Mmm...

The insides of the Yaris GR. Mmm...

My family used to have a Yaris, it was only a 1.0l but it never let us down. Even with 64bhp, it was fun. So a Yaris with 257bhp is a riot, and a riot everybody wants to be part of.

If somebody from Toyota or an owner is reading this, then please do get in touch. I'd be thrilled to experience the power in person for a YouTube video or a part 2 to this article.

Thank you for reading. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below...

Toyota GR Yaris

The Yaris GRrrrrrr...

The Yaris GRrrrrrr...


Daniel Achterhuis is a 15-year-old automotive journalist at DriveTribe, presenter of 'The Piston Podcast' and YouTube creator. Daniel has written for various newspapers, magazines, and was the youngest-accredited press at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. He aspires to become a full-time automotive journalist in his later years. Follow him on social media and check out his work here:

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Comments (3)

  • Yooo they brought back the celica

      2 months ago
    • It's like the new Focus RS; one of my favorite cars ever made!

        2 months ago
    • It’s great, isn’t it. Definitely a car people will remember.

        2 months ago