Hardly have its Michelin Pilot 4S tyres touched Britain’s Tarmac than the new Toyota GR Yaris has seized Car magazine’s Hot Hatch of the Year title.
Pitted against a field of famous names, GR Yaris made an emphatic first impression. Car declared: “The GR is everything this magazine celebrates. It’s compact, relatively lightweight, gratifyingly mechanical, delightfully accessible and endlessly satisfying…
“The Toyota’s punchy, characterful engine and fabulously exploitable all-wheel drive system just add further weight to the argument that his is one of Japan’s truly great performance cars and the pre-eminent modern hot hatch.”
Car’s accolade comes in a first week of dream media reviews for GR Yaris, which has been engineered by Toyota Gazoo Racing with support from its World Rally Championship partner Tommi Mäkinen Racing and a crack team of WRC drivers. Endowed with the world’s most powerful three-cylinder engine, turbocharged and producing 257bhp for 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds, it also comes with Toyota’s new, bespoke GR-Four all-wheel drive system, giving the driver the freedom to adjust front/rear drive torque to suit the road, track or special stage.
Car tested GR Yaris with the optional circuit pack, which enriches the recipe with front and rear Torsen limited-slip differentials, lightweight forged BBS alloys, the performance Michelin tyres and GR-tuned suspension.
The magazine’s test team found much to enjoy and paid credit to Toyota President Akio Toyoda – “a car guy to his core” – for his personal commitment to GR Yaris. Indeed, in his role as Master Driver, President Toyoda signed off the production-ready car.
As Car reports: “As unlikely and as amazing as the fact that the GR Yaris exists in the first place is just how fast and fabulous it is to drive.
“The combination of torque and low weight helps make the Toyota feel as weightless as the brittle orange leaves cartwheeling by on the breeze.”