Toyota’s New Yaris Hot Hatch Is A Serious Machine

Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division has entered the road-car division with a hotted up Yarisinspired by its World Rally Championship (WRC) car. The Yaris GRMN—which stands for, deep breath, Gazoo Racing Meisters of the Nurburgring—is the first of many road cars from Toyota’s racing team, and it’s up against some stiff competition. Thankfully for Toyota, it holds it own.

We’re not getting any of the 400 examples of the Yaris GRMN Toyota plans on building in the US, but enthusiasts in the UK are. Steve Sutcliffe from UK outlet Auto Express just had a go in a Yaris GRMN in Spain, and he comes away genuinely impressed.

Its supercharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder—the same unit used in the Lotus Elise—gives it right-now throttle response, and the chassis is as lively as any great hot-hatch. On a track, lift-off oversteer is plentiful, and that’s exactly what you want from this sort of car.

It seems like the Yaris GRMN is a sign of good things to come from Gazoo racing, which has a bunch of GR-series cars in the pipeline and is responsible for the upcoming Supra. Hopefully we’ll see more of Gazoo’s efforts come stateside.