As production of the Toyota GR Yaris performance hatch kicks off in Japan, Toyota SA says the model is still on the cards for an SA introduction.
The GR Toyota Yaris looks to be one of the most entertaining performance hatches. First revealed at the beginning of 2020, the GR Yaris packs a punch with a 3-cylinder, 1.6-litre turbocharged engine that offers up 192 kW and 360 Nm but there is also a high-power version that offers 200 kW and 370 Nm. Unlike most hot hatchbacks which use a front-wheel drive setup, the GR Yaris is all-wheel drive.
Toyota's Gazoo Racing division reckons this Yaris is good for a 0-100 kpg in 5.5 seconds, which is likely down to its 1 280 kg weight and trick all wheel drive. This new GR Yaris features an all-wheel-drive system that can split power between the front and rear axle depending on the situation via modes such as Normal (60:40), Sport (30:70) and Track (50:50). An optional Circuit Pack, which comprises a Torsen limited-slip differential on both the front and rear axle, performance-tuned suspension and 18-inch forged alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4s 225/40R18 tyres is also offered for the GR Yaris. Based on this, we think it's going to be one compact circuit carving machine.
Now production has officially kicked off at Toyota's Motomachi factory and the first production vehicle recently rolled off the line. Toyota Gazoo Racing has an entire section of the Motomachi factory and it will be exclusively building GR sports cars. Unlike conventional car factories which use conveyors to move vehicles along the line, this factory features a series of individual assembly cells, connected by automatic guided vehicles.
However, everyone's plans in 2020 went down the drain due to the COVID-19 pandemic and now as the world has turned a corner, we thought we'd reach out to Toyota South Africa regarding the GR Yaris availability. A spokesperson confirmed that "it is still on the cards for SA for 2021" but expressed some concern over timing and exchange rates, the latter not being favourable. So, there you have it, GR Yaris is still very much on Toyota SA's radar, but its arrival will depend on the South African Rand's performance against foreign currency.