Meet 2020’s weirdest hot hatch: the 118bhp Toyota GR Yaris RS

By topgear, 03 June 2020

Well, you didn’t expect Toyota and Gazoo Racing to go to the big trouble and huge expensive of engineering a brand-new, three-door, wideboi body shell for the GR Yaris, and then only use it for one model, did you?

This is not, we repeat, NOT, the Toyota GR Yaris. The fabulously muscular Yaris in the gallery above does not have four-wheel drive. It doesn’t have the world’s most powerful three-cylinder engine. It doesn’t have 260bhp.

Nope, this is the Toyota GR Yaris RS, which sounds like it should be even sportier. But here, RS stands for Really Slow.

See, what Toyota has done is taken the GR Yaris’s bodyshell, ripped out the 1.6-litre turbo engine, and replaced it with a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre engine. The engine is branded ‘Dynamic Force’, but that’s a bit over the top – it only generates 118bhp and 148Nm.

This is sent to the front wheels only, and there’s no manual gearbox option. Oh no. Instead, there’s a CVT ‘auto’ with ten fake gearchange ‘steps’ if you’d like to play with the paddles. However, without four-wheel drive this version weighs in at 1,130kg – a whopping 150kg less than the GR Yaris.

So, you get a lightweight bodyshell with a carbon fibre roof and wheelarches inspired by rallying, but sub-Honda Jazz performance. This has to be 2020’s oddest hatchback.

No word on a price yet, but unless you live in the car’s homeland, don’t worry too much about that. The Toyota GR Yaris RS is a Japan-only product.

The full-fat AWD version on the other hand, is rumoured to be coming here in Malaysia, albeit in limited numbers. Here’s what it’s like to drive.