Just when you though the GR Yaris was the ultimate Toyota hot hatch, along comes the Rallye to up the go-fast ante again. An already-hot hot hatch fitted with even more performance equipment? Sounds like a good deal to us.
We know the GR Yaris, of course. We've reviewed it both overseas and locally, and we've roundly loved it every time we've jumped behind the wheel.
But this Rallye ups the ante even further, adding critical race-bred equipment like 18-inch BSB lightweight forged alloy wheels, shod with Michelin 4S tyres, retuned, stiffer suspension, and most important, front and rear Torsen limited-slip differentials.
This is the ultimate "track-ready" Yaris, says Toyota. So that's exactly where we took it.
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 8/10
Prepare to have your idea of how much you'd pay for a three-door Toyota city car completely rearranged, because the GR Yaris Rallye is not cheap.
How much, you ask? Initially offered at $56,200 drive-away as part of a launch push, the Rallye has now settled at its regular MSRP of $54,500 plus on-roads.
That's a sizeable step up from the $49,500 (before on-road costs) of the regular GR Yaris, but it's a price increase justified by the extra performance kit.
The Rallye is priced at $54,500 plus on-roads.
And a good thing, too, because it shares much of its other equipment with its GR sibling.
There's a leather-wrapped steering wheel and manual shifter and aluminium pedals, for example. There's a 4.2-inch screen in the driver's binnacle, and there's a second 7.0-inch touchscreen in the centre of the cabin that gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which pairs with an eight-speaker JBL stereo. You also get dual-zone climate control, and keyless entry.
Most important, though, you get more go-fast stuff, like those lightweight alloys, he two Torsen limited-slip differentials (one on each axle) and the retuned suspension.
The Rallye adds 18-inch BSB lightweight forged alloy wheels.
Is there anything interesting about its design? 8/10
It looks almost exactly like the regular GR Yaris, with a couple of minuscule changes that the eagle-eyed will spot.
For one, there's two new vent openings in the front grille to aid brake cooling, and there's a numbered plaque in the cabin so you know which Rallye you've got (though Toyota concedes this is more of a vanity project than any indication of the numbers actually being limited).
The Rallye looks almost exactly like the regular GR Yaris.
Most noticeable, though, is the bespoke paint colour - a shimmery pearlescent white called Frosted White, which makes the bright-red brake calipers pop.
While the backseat is fairly sparse, with no fold-down centre armrest or cupholders, you do some connectivity options in the vehicle, with a USB-A port and 12-V power outlet.
The front of the cabin feels spacious.
The rear seats are fairly tight. My 175cm frame can fit into either easily enough, but you probably wouldn't want to spend too much time back there.
Conversely, though, the front of the cabin feels spacious enough, and the seats are appropriately figure-hugging for when you're tearing through corners.
Speaking of which, the steering wheel, gear shifter and pedals are all nicely positioned so that you feel a part of the vehicle, and while the manual gearbox offers rev-matching on the up and downshifts, true heel-and-toe driving is a very real option, too.
What are the key stats for the engine and transmission? 9/10
No change to the powertrain here, but that's no bad thing - I bloody love this engine.
The turbocharged 1.6-litre, three-cylinder engine develops a whopping 200kW and 370Nm (in a vehicle that weighs just 1280kg, no less), which is fed through a six-speed manual gearbox with up-and-down rev matching, and then funnelled to all four wheel via the GR-FOUR all-wheel drive system.
Under the GR Yaris’ bonnet is a single-turbo, 1.6-litre three-cylinder engine.
How much power goes where is up to you, with Rallye equipped with Normal, Track and Sport drive modes that split the power between the front and rear axles to 60/40, 30/70 and 50/50 respectively.
Toyota says all of that is enough to see the Rallye clip 100km/h in 5.2 seconds.
The bad news? The Rallye demands premium fuel to fill its 50-litre tank.
What's it like to drive? 9/10
Short answer? This Rallye takes everything we love about the GR Yaris and makes it better.
If that sounds like we're waxing lyrical, it's because we are. While our testing was limited to a handful of laps of a race-like circuit, they were enough to feel the most important additions to the Rallye - those twin limited-slip diffs - doing their thing.
The GR Yaris is quick through corners.
Designed to direct the torque to the wheel with the most grip, the system does its best work in cornering, where grunt it sent to the tyre with the most load for extra grip when exiting a bend.
This is a truly exciting hot hatch, full of froth and fizz, and one that you feel intimately connected to when behind wheel. Every moment of acceleration, loss of traction, or wiggle in the rear, is felt in the drivers seat, and it's the kind of vehicle you simply get better at the more time you spend in it.
This Rallye takes everything we love about the GR Yaris and makes it better.
The brakes are ace, too (356mm front, 297mm rear), and will it's not lightning-fast in a straight line, it's plenty quick through corners.
How much harsher is the stiffer suspension on a normal road? Is it easy to live with as an everyday driver? Is it too track-focused for suburban life?
The GR Yaris is a truly exciting hot hatch.
Honestly, we don't know. We are yet to drive it on regular Australian roads. But we will, and soon, and we'll update you as soon as that happens.
But in terms of sheer driver fun? The GR Yaris has it in spades.
Warranty & Safety Rating
5 years / unlimited km
ANCAP Safety Rating
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating? 8/10
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication. Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.