After being launched in 2021, the motoring community has well received the Toyota GR Yaris, winning several prestigious awards such as Car of the Year and Performance Car of the Year trophies in different markets globally.
This has thus resulted in Toyota South Africa deciding to bring a second allocation of GR Yaris to the local market. However, the manufacturer states that they will only be bring limited numbers to the country. A decision was made by the manufacturer to only bring one derivative of the GR Yaris – the range-topping Rally variant. This is following market feedback and the popularity of the range-topper. This model will be priced at R761,200.
Specification in the Toyota GR Yaris Rally is impressive, with keyless entry with push start, LED headlamps with daytime-running lights and auto functionality, LED fog lamps, heated as well as electrically operated exterior mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rear view mirror, dual-zone climate control, Multi-Information Display, 12 Volt power outlet and lastly a tilt and telescopic adjustable steering column all fitted as standard. Also included is a 6-speaker touchscreen infotainment system which includes Apple Carplay and Android Auto along with Bluetooth connectivity and USB ports. New in the 2022 model is the addition of a reverse camera as well as park distance control.
Enthusiasts will be happy to know that the Rally model is fitted with a Torsen limited-slip differential on both front and rear axles, performance-tuned suspension, revised power-steering assistance, and 18-inch BBS forged alloy wheels which are wrapped around Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tires. Complimenting the mechanical upgrades are a combination of leather/ Alcantara sports seats up front with enhanced bolters for support, leather seats at the rear, Heads-Up display, Toyota Safety Sense active safety suite and active noise control which enhances the engine sound by cancelling out opposing frequencies.
Engine and Power
Powering the Toyota GR Yaris Rally is a 1.6-litre 3-cylinder turbocharged motor. The unit produces 198kW and 360Nm, mated to a short and light shift throw 6-speed manual transmission, with a clutch inspired by motorsport for added engagement, which is also derived from motoring technology to maximize performance. This is made possible by multi-oil jet piston cooling, large-diameter exhaust valves as well as a part-machined intake port. The compact powerhouse engine features a single-scroll ball-bearing turbo as well as a large intercooler for maximized performance. Toyota say that emphasis was placed on the response of the engine package whilst also delivering superb cooling performance. Integrated oil-cooler and high-volume cooling systems aid the engine in maintaining operating temperatures during hard-driving.
The GR Yaris makes use of lightweight materials for its body shell such as a new carbon fibre polymer for the roof which may compression mould, which is a first for the manufacturer. The bonnet, doors and tailgate are made of aluminium. Thanks to these lightweight provisions, the GR Yaris features C-segment performance with the weight of a B-segment performance hatch. Its kerb weight of 1,280kg results in a power-to-weight ratio of 0,154 kW/ kg. This allows the GR Yaris to sprint from 100km/h from standstill in just 5.5 seconds, and continuing sprinting to an electronically limited 230km/h.
GR-Four AWD System
Pairing up with the powertrain is a new AWD system which Toyota has designed to optimize the drive power sent to each individual wheel as well as maintaining simplicity and lightweight. The clever system makes use of slightly different gear ratios for both front and rear axles, theoretically allowing for a range of front/ rear torque balance from 100:0 (full FWD) to 0:100 (full RWD). As a result, this flexibility allows for a powerful performance advantage over AWD on demand systems which make use of twin-coupling or even permanent AWD setups which include a centre differential. Part of the flexibility stems from the ability of the driver being able to adjust 4WD performance to suit their preferences or specific enthusiastic driving scenarios via a 4WD toggle switch. ‘Normal’ mode allows for a 60:40 front/ rear torque distribution, ‘Sport’ mode allows for a rear-biased 30:70 torque split and ‘Track’ mode allows for a 50:50 split for fast and competitive driving scenarios on the track.
Suspension and Braking
The suspension set-up is comprised of a double wishbone set-up at the rear and the proven MacPherson strut system at the front. Every element of the suspension is optimized for performance. Stopping power is made possible thanks to large 356mm grooved brake discs with four-pot calipers which Toyota has engineered to cope with high-speed track and special-stage driving with high heat levels kept in mind too.
Safety in the GR Yaris Rally has not been compromised with a full suite of active and passive safety features such as ABS, EBD, BA, VSC, HAC, PCS, AHB, Lane Trace Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control. A tire pressure monitor system is also included and this acts as a safety and performance feature.
The GR Yaris features a coupe-like silhouette which is created by the three-door body and sloping roof line. The frameless door not only improve aerodynamic performance and reduced weight, but also add to the coupe-like appearance. Up front, the signature and distinctive GR “functional matrix” design expresses the car’s authentic GR status along with the design of the grille and spoiler. Cooling air for the GR Yaris is fed through a large, rectangular-shaped lower grille which includes a honeycomb mesh inset. The cooled air is fed to the radiator, intercooler, and engine compartment. Flanking the grille are large vertical inlets for the brake duct and intercooler, with the far edges of the bumper including circular LED fog lights.
The unique lower spoiler features a downforce-generating shape and a raised section at the centre which controls air flow underneath the GR Yaris. At the rear, downforce and aerodynamic performance are enhanced by the tapering of the roof and rear pillars along with the inclusion of the deep spoiler which is mounted high-up. The GR Yaris features a distinctive wide track and flared rear wings to emphasize the performance hatch’s low and wide silhouette. GR badging is found on the lower grille, front fenders, and tailgate. Customers may choose from the following exterior colors: Glacier White, Platinum White Pearl, Emotional Red and Lunar Black.
The interior, which features a driver-oriented design, features analogue instrumentation which is easy to read along with a 4.2-inch TFT Color multi-information display in the centre. The MID can display various pieces of information such as an AWD indicator which displays the torque distribution, the mode selected on the GR-Four system and a turbo pressure monitor. To assist the driver, make quick shifts, the gear shift lever is raised by 50mm on the centre console and set close to the steering wheel. A sporty GR 3-spoke steering wheel with red stitching is present along with steering switches which are placed conveniently, all maximize driving pleasure.
The interior of the GR Yaris Rally is finished in black with Smoked Silver trimmings around the door handles, centre console, steering wheel, and side air vents. The performance hatch also includes a special commemorative plaque which is fitted to the centre console of each GR Yaris model – highlighting the pedigree of the model.