Gather Round Hot-Hatch Fans, Toyota Will Unveil a 210-HP Yaris Soon
The WRC-inspired Yaris will break cover at the Geneva Motor Showby Ciprian Florea, on
Except for a few nameplates that had the looks and sometimes the performance that recommended them for the sports car market, Toyota is mainly known as a maker of dull-looking and not-so-powerful, yet affordable and reliable vehicles. This has changed a bit recently though, as the Japanese company began using sportier designs and installing better materials in some products. More recently, Toyota took the small, city-friendly Yaris and turned it into a full-fledged rally car, feeding the imagination of those dreaming about a road-legal, performance-oriented hatchback. This dream is about to become real as Toyota just announced a sporty Yaris for the street.
The Japanese firm didn’t have much to say about the upcoming, yet unnamed hatchback, but did confirm that it will be unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show in March. The higher-spec Yaris will break cover alongside the new Yaris WRC, which makes its competition debut at the Monte Carlo Rally in January. The higher performance Yaris also signals a big update for the entire range, which will gain "new front and rear styling and a modernized interior." Toyota also promises "a raft of technical modifications to improve overall comfort and handling."
But, arguably, the biggest news is that the new range-topping Yaris will be based on a three-door version and will be powered by an engine "producing more than 210" horsepower. For reference, the most powerful Yaris available right now gets 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet from a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine.
There’s no word as to what engine will motivate the new hot-hatch, but Toyota could use a toned down version of the 1.6-liter four-banger found in the WRC car. The race-spec engine cranks out 300 horsepower and 309 pound-feet, but expect that to drop to less than 230 horses and 240 pound-feet. Of course, the engine in the road car will be devoid of most race-prepped components. I also expect Toyota to add a bespoke, quick-shifting transmission and a significantly beefed-up chassis for sportier dynamics.
Stay tuned for the details, we’ll be back as soon as we have them!
Continue reading for the full story.
Why It Matters
A high-performance version of the Toyota Yaris is great news for the hot-hatch market! For starters, this niche isn’t as diverse as it should be. Granted, the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Ford Fiesta ST are solid options, but it ends there if you don’t want to spend a lot of dough for the Mercedes-AMG A45. What’s more, the Yaris is likely to become the most affordable choice out there and bring more customers to this market. If Toyota plays its cards right, the beefed-up Yaris could be a big success. Sure, some 210-220 horsepower will make the Yaris a bit less powerful than the competition, but the deficit isn’t huge compared to the Golf GTI and Focus ST. Power isn’t all that matters anyway, with curb weight, chassis setup, transmission, and more to pay a key role here. It’s obviously too early to draw a conclusion, but this upcoming Yaris sounds like an exciting proposition for the hot-hatch market. And based on the renderings Toyota released, it looks good too!
Read our full review on the Toyota Yaris here.