Attention, motoring internet: A new niche has been created. Not another tiresome coupe-SUV monstrosity, either. Toyota’s created something entirely new. It might be genius. It might make no sense. It’s a hybrid supermini designed to handle—but not go—like a proper, genuine hot hatch.
This is the Toyota Yaris GR Sport. Japanese car aficionados will know that the GR isn’t a menacing growl, but stands for Gazoo Racing. The motorsport arm, which is beavering away putting the finishing touches to the new Supra, gave us a true Yaris hot hatch earlier this year: the 209hp Yaris GRMN. Kitted out with a Lotus Elise’s zingy supercharged engine and featuring a thoroughly overhauled chassis, it was the most fun front-wheel-drive Toyota in living memory.
So good, in fact, that despite costing an eye-watering £26,000 (P1.84 million), all 100 offered in the UK were snapped up. Toyota’s now decided to sprinkle what made that flagship Yaris GRMN a hoot onto its philosophically opposite sister. So, the 1.5-liter Yaris hybrid, good for a mere 99hp, has been off rummaging in the Gazoo Racing toy box.
It’s emerged, riding 11mm lower on Sachs Performance suspension and wearing gloss-black 17-inch wheels fitted with Bridgestone Potenza RE50 rubber identical to the GRMN’s tires. There’s an angrier bodykit and optional red detailing which arguably looks more tasteful than the GRMN’s clumsy decals. Toyota says it didn’t want the Yaris GR Sport to get weighed down by lots of equipment, so it’s ‘restricted the model’s feature options’ to stay lean. Apparently the weight has gone up by 5kg versus a normal Yaris Hybrid.