FIRST DRIVE: Toyota GR Yaris, the £300pm rally car

FIRST DRIVE: Toyota GR Yaris, the £300pm rally car

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Well… sort of a rally car. Known as a homologation special, this Toyota GR Yaris has been built with the distinct purpose of providing the perfect base for a WRC car. Lower roof line. Wider track. The shared parts between this and your nan’s Yaris are few and far between. The 3-cylinder turbo motor sends its 257bhp to all four wheels and that’s just the start of what makes this hot hatch so unlike its rivals. So, let’s find out more with magazine editor Jack Rix… Series 29: Geneva Online Motor Show: First Look: Want to watch a bit of on the internet? Welcome to the most comprehensive collection of official clips you’ll find on YouTube. Whether you’re searching for a caravan challenge, Ken Block in the Hoonicorn, cars versus fighter jets, Stig power laps or the latest Chris Harris Drives, you can find all the iconic films here.Want to share your views with the team?

every now and again a car comes along that has all the ingredients to be a proper top gear hero and the yaris gr is one of those cars i mean if i designed a hot hatch from scratch it would probably look like that and have the specs to match unfortunately looks and numbers on a piece of paper don’t tell us much about what our cars like to drive which is why we’re here today at the top gear test track to give it a damn good thrashing beneath this hulking bodywork is the world’s lightest 1.6 liter engine a turbocharged three cylinder producing 257 horsepower and sending its power to all four wheels so it will do not 62 in well under 5.5 seconds and hit 143 miles an hour flat out there is only one steering weight one suspension setting one throttle map but there are three modes for the all-wheel drive system in normal mode it’s 60 40 torque split front rear in sport mode 70 goes to the back twist the knob around to track and it’s an even 50 50 split for maximum neutrality and pace basically it’s a lot like a rally car because it is a rally car sort of this is the yaris by gazoo racing toyota’s official motorsport arm and it’s a homologation special for its next-gen wrc car which is why this pumped up two-door body is entirely bespoke and it’s why toyota has gone all out to make this car as light fast and as fun to drive as possible the body is aluminium the roof is carbon fiber and 95 millimeters lower than the five door janus completely killing any headroom in the back and view out the back window but when that’s done so the wrc team can purchase wing in just the right place who cares about practicality go for the circuit pack and you get stickier tires limited slip differentials on both axles and forged bbs wheels to cut even more weight your only choice is a six-speed manual gearbox and despite all that light weighting going on the kerb weight is 1280 kilograms by the way you still get aircon sat nav and cup holders for your granny’s tee in case she buys this yaris by mistake and check this out they’ve even replaced the parcel shelf with a pair of tights sometimes you just pray that a car is going to drive the way that it looks this car looks like some mini rally rocket that just wants to take off and attack things and yeah that’s exactly how it behaves it’s up for a fight let’s talk about this engine firstly just listen to that oh that is a proper gruff grown-up engine note for a car that doesn’t really have much engine and then there’s the way it pulls between four and six thousand rpm when it’s really on boost it’s quick quicker than i thought it’d be actually probably as quick as a civic type r there are i’ll admit some steps and lurches at lower rpm but i don’t mind that i think you can file that sort of stuff under character right let’s talk about the modes uh we’re going to bypass normal mode and go straight into track we’re just done with this dial down here that gives us the 50 50 power distribution between the front and rear axles and when you turn into a corner there is a little bit of understeer initially but get the car balanced get it nice and neutral and the way that the diffs just haul it out of the corner on the other side is absolutely hilarious we’ve got on this car fat little tires a wide track but quite a short wheelbase which means it can pull off the neat trick of feeling agile yet planted at the same time okay so into sport mode now which means we’ve got 70 of the power going to the rear axle and when you turn into the corners you can just feel the car adjusting its angle slightly but note there is no artificial drift mode in this car like you get in the a45s or the focus rs and i think it’s all the better for it the ride it is quite firm it is going to be jiggly around town but it’s not absolutely rock solid this car there’s a little bit of roll when you turn in initially so it feels playful like a fiesta st but it’s got that more rugged rally car character you’ve also got a manual handbrake down here which not only locks the rear tyres but shuts off power to the rear axle so if you can’t get the back end out in sport you can always just give that a yank keep your foot in and do that all day steering and brakes neither is dripping in feedback but there’s a pleasing lack of slack to both of them what i mean by that is no turning the wheel and waiting for things to happen or any dead travel in the brake pedal things just happen immediately when you want them to and that builds your confidence in the car the gear shift down here six-speed manual it’s fantastic as well short throw short stubby lever feels properly precise and tight the clutch admittedly is a little bit bitey i’ve stilled it a couple of times today but it’s only done what two and a half three thousand miles that’ll loosen up i wanted this car to be good so desperately and i’m afraid it isn’t good it’s brilliant in order to homologate it for rallying toyota has to commit to building 25 000 of these 25 000 well it’s done it and you can feel that commitment running through the car it’s small it’s tough it’s rapid but it’s also got a playful side and they’re flogging them for under 30 grand plus another three and a half for the must-have circuit pack but get this you can own one of these cars for under 300 quid a month which is just a ridiculous bargain when you consider it’s now officially a top gear hot hatch hero

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