CarsGuide Podcast: Tools in the Shed ep. 152
Episode 152 - The GR HiLux is coming for the Ranger Raptor
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Toyota Australia has released pricing for the three-door GR Yaris hot hatch, which the company describes as “a $50,000 car”, although it will cost significantly less when it arrives in showrooms in November.
Officially, the GR Yaris is priced from $49,500 plus on-road costs, but the first 1000 examples sold will wear a sticker of $39,950 driveaway, with Toyota Australia heavily subsidising the hot hatch so it can make its present felt immediately and therefore build local awareness of the company’s emerging Gazoo Racing performance sub-brand.
Speaking to journalists today, Toyota Australia vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said: “GR Yaris is not a regular hot hatch. Its performance credentials elevate it to the class above.
“In reality, GR Yaris is a $50,000 car.”
Mr Hanley added that Toyota Australia decided to “invest in the customer” by making GR Yaris “more appealing and genuinely attainable” with its driveaway offer, which is expected to be available for the first 12 to 18 months given the hot hatch’s sales expectations and an expected lack of supply issues.
“I’ll put it bluntly. We want to ignite the market,” he said. “It’s a significant investment in our GR brand, in our GR Yaris and in our customers.
“An on-road price nudging below $40,000 will make GR Yaris the most affordable pure performance car on the Australian market.”
Mr Hanley did reiterate the driveaway offer will end, though, with pricing of the GR Yaris to be reviewed in due course.
“I suspect and expect the pricing will be more than likely higher beyond that point,” he said.
For reference, the GR Yaris is motivated by a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol three-cylinder engine that punches out 200kW of power and 370Nm of torque.
Weighing in at 1280kg without a driver onboard, the GR Yaris sprints from a standstill to 100km/h in just 5.2 seconds, while its top speed is electronically limited to 230km/h.
On paper, the GR Yaris lines up against the 197kW/350Nm Subaru WRX closer than any other competitor, with the small sedan priced from $40,490 (+ORCs) and also available with the option of a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
In terms of light-hatch rivals, the GR Yaris sits well above the manual-only Ford Fiesta ST that develops 147kW/290Nm and checks in from $32,290 (+ORCs), while the same is true of the automatic-only Volkswagen Polo GTI that produces 147kW/320Nm and is priced from $32,890 (+ORCs).
And despite initially being off Toyota Australia’s radar, the GR Yaris will be available with the Performance Pack locally, although it will be fitted to a special-edition variant, dubbed Rallye, about 250 units of which will be up for grabs from the first half of next year.
Targeted at track enthusiasts, the yet-to-be-priced Rallye will feature circuit-tuned suspension, front and rear Torsen limited-slip differentials, 18-inch BBS alloy wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres and red brake callipers. Depending on its success, further production may be secured.
And in case you were wondering, according to Mr Hanley, the GR Yaris only has one “real similarity” with the Yaris light car: its name, with the hot hatch Toyota’s first in-house sports car in more than 20 years, forming part of its homologation efforts to join the World Rally Championship (WRC).
The GR Yaris actually combines the front end of the GA-B platform (Yaris) with the rear of the GA-C (Corolla), which enables multi-link rear suspension to be fitted and offers the wider track needed for AWD.
Standard equipment in the GR Yaris includes keyless entry and start, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, an eight-speaker JBL sound system, climate control, sports seats, suede upholstery with leather accents, and aluminium pedals.
The GR Yaris also has performance brakes consisting of 356mm front and 297mm rear ventilated discs mated to four- and two-piston callipers respectively.
Toyota’s Safety Sense suite of advanced driver-assist systems is also fitted, although the specific features in the GR Yaris are yet to be detailed.
Three paintwork options are available: white, red or black. These cover the aluminium bonnet, doors and tailgate of the GR Yaris, but not its carbon-fibre roof.
While not confirmed yet, Toyota Australia’s five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty is expected to apply to the GR Yaris, with track coverage also likely given the precedent set by the GR Supra last year.
Pre-orders for the GR Yaris will begin at noon on Wednesday, September 23 (AEST), with buyers able to place a $1000 deposit in showrooms or online. The first 50 will also get 20c per litre off fuel from Caltex for a year.