Toyota GR Yaris: A racing car for the road

The WRC inspired, homologation special, Toyota GR Yaris goes on sale in South Africa

Reuben Van Niekerk
Toyota GR Yaris
GR Yaris

The Toyota GR Yaris is a pure performance car, developed hand in hand with Toyota’s experience in the World Rally Championship.

This special edition model brings motorsport technology and design directly to the road car world and remains true to the Toyota Gazoo Racing ethos of making better cars that are intrinsically rewarding and fun to drive


Vehicles that compete in the World Rally Championship need to be based on models that the public can buy from a dealership. The Yaris GR therefore serves as the official homologation model for development of the next Yaris WRC car, and features all the attributes required for owners looking for a rewarding driving experience.


Every aspect of the car is focussed on performance including an all-new platform, engine, suspension, lightweight construction, aerodynamic styling and a new GR permanent all-wheel drive system.

With high power output and low weight, it has all the credentials for competition success.


Inspired by motorsport

The GR Yaris is Toyota’s first genuine all-wheel drive sports car and its first homologation model for the World Rally Championship since the end of production of the Celica GT-Four in 1999.


As a homologation model, the GR Yaris will support the development of a new competition vehicle for the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team’s WRC campaign.


The WRC specific engineers at Tommi Makinen Racing focused on perfecting the aerodynamics, weight distribution and weight, qualities that are essential to performance and driveability.


A 91mm lower roofline offers improved aerodynamics, while the positioning of the 1.6-litre engine further back, towards the centre of the car and the battery in the boot, ensure more centralised mass, contributing towards a more improved balance.


The three-door body shell is constructed from lightweight materials including carbon fibre polymer and aluminium, for the bonnet, doors and tailgate. The new platform allows for a wider rear track and new double-wishbone rear suspension system.


Looking the part

The frontal grill design and aerodynamic features express the authentic GR status. Air is forced over the radiator, intercooler and engine compartment through a large lower grille with honeycombe mesh and is flanked by large vertical inlets to cool the brakes. A prominent lower spoiler features a down force-generating shape.


At the rear, the tapering of the roof and rear pillars and the addition of the high-mounted spoiler enhance down force while the wide track and flaring of the rear wings emphasise the car’s wide silhouette.


Driver focussed interior

The interior reflects a driver-oriented design. A twin-hooded binnacle frames the analogue instrumentation which features a central 4.2-inch TFT colour multi-information display that offers information such as an all-wheel drive indicator, mode selected for the GR-Four system and boost pressure.


The gear lever is highly positioned, 50mm higher than normal and close to the steering wheel, enabling the driver to make quicker shifts. A GR-branded, three-spoke steering wheel complete with red stitching completes the racy controls.


Finishes are either premium textured fabric upholstery or a synthetic leather/Alcantara combination, depending on the model, paired with Alcantara door inserts and red stitching throughout.


Under the bonnet

Providing power to this potent package is a three-cylinder turbocharged unit that again benefits from motorsport technology to exude maximum performance. Multi-oil jet piston cooling, large diameter exhaust valves and a part machined intake allow the 1 618cc engine to boast an incredible 198kW at 6500rpm and 360Nm from 3000rpm.


The engine is matched to a six-speed manual transmission that features a short and light shift throw, while a motorsport-style clutch provides smooth yet solid engagement.


A kerb weight of 1 280kg results in a power-to-weight ratio of 0,154 kW per kg and enables the Yaris GR to complete the 0-100km/h sprint in just 5.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 230km/h.


The GR-Four all-wheel drive system is designed to optimise drive power to each wheel. The ingenious system uses slightly different gear ratios for the front and rear axles and allows for a front/rear torque balance from full front-wheel drive to full rear-wheel drive. The driver can adjust four-wheel drive performance to suit their preference or the driving situation using a 4WD mode dial switch. All models ride on 18-inch alloy wheels fitted with sticky 225-40-R18 tyres.

Behind those wheels is a performance braking system featuring large, 356mm, grooved front discs with four-pot callipers.


Two grades to choose from

The GR Yaris will be available in two grades in South Africa. The GR Yaris features all the core performance items and is aimed at regular user with a street car bias.


The GR Yaris Rally takes this one step forward with the addition of the Circuit pack, which includes a Torsen limited-slip differential on both axles, performance tuned suspension, revised power steering tuning and forged BBS wheels. Inside the Rally model boasts combination leather/Alcantara sport seats with enhanced bolstering, a Heads-Up Display, Toyota Safety Sense and Active Noise Control.


Specification levels

All models boast keyless entry, LED headlamps, dual-zone climate control, and a six-speaker touchscreen audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto amongst other regular equipment. Safety features include ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, VSC and Hill Assist.



All GR Yaris models are sold with a nine-services/90 000km service plan and three-year/100 000km warranty.


Toyota GR Yaris

R606 600

Toyota GR Yaris Rally

R715 600


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