Toyota Yaris GRMN | Spotted

With the new GR Yaris due its UK debut at Goodwood next week, spare a thought for its predecessor…

By Nic Cackett / Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Toyota UK has announced that it will showcase the new GR Yaris at Goodwood Speedweek, sending Elfyn Evans round a makeshift rally stage. No one will be there to see it, of course (Speedweek is closed to spectators) but the car will doubtless be a highlight of the broadcast-only event, not least because it is among the 'dynamic' production model debuts. Plus the Super Special stages – divided into Northern and Southern loops and taking in track, infield, perimeter road and the access tunnel – sound intriguing.

The timing of the event is propitious. Toyota kicked off GR Yaris manufacturing just last month on a dedicated line. Or dedicated 'area' more accurately because the car will be mostly cell built, a process which reflects its bespoke nature and rigorous build quality, Toyota says. Its dedication of time and resources to a hot hatch priced from £29,995 is impressive to say the least, and possibly unique to the world's largest carmaker in an industry reeling from the aftershocks of a global pandemic.

But clearly it is not new to the process of making a decidedly humble supermini more super. The GR Yaris follows in the wheel ruts of the GRMN, a car even more niche in its outlook. The JDM had been treated to a 200-example Vitz GRMN Turbo in 2013, but Toyota went even further with the 2017 variant. Famously the car was powered by the supercharged 1.8-litre 2ZR-FE unit which Lotus tuned for use in the Elise. It delivered 212hp at 6,800rpm via a standard limited-slip differential. Neither could feature could be considered conventional for the segment.

Nor was it the work of a moment. Toyota had to repackage the induction system to get everything to fit in the Yaris's diminutive engine bay. Then it went to town on the chassis. Naturally there were uprated components – specifically Sachs dampers and much shorter springs to reduce the Yaris's awkward ride height – but the engineers also went to the trouble of fitting a brace between the front towers and installing a beefier anti-roll bar. All for a car that would only produce 600 retail examples (with 400 for Europe).

One hundred made their way to the UK, a level of exclusivity which makes them a rare sight on the road – and in the classifieds. The last time we spotted one – in January of last year – it was up for £21k with 4k on the clock. Nearly two years later this one, apparently in showroom condition and boasting 11k, is available for £21,995, which suggests that the introduction of a new Gazoo Racing Yaris isn't going to do its prices a significant amount of harm.

Truthfully we're expecting much more from the new model than we did from the old. The GRMN was a novelty outlier, and fun though it was (the car was near unburstable on track) it didn't outshine the Ford Fiesta ST. With the GR Yaris, Toyota has gone considerably further; using a bespoke all-wheel-drive system to tangibly link the model with its WRC namesake. Hence the delivery of one to Speedweek, and the deployment of Evans. Not that we needed any help getting to edge of our seats…


Engine: 1,798cc, supercharged 4-cyl
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],800rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],000rpm
MPG: 37.6 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 170g/km
Year registered: 2018
Recorded mileage: 11,000
Price new: £26,295
Yours for: £21,995

See the original advert here

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