November 24, 2021 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

2021 Toyota GR Yaris

The Pocket Rocket that we all pined for

The absolutely brilliant Toyota GR Yaris exceeded all my expectations. I completely understand why every single allotted unit for our market, approximately less than 200 units, in every color (Super White II, Emotional Red, and Precious Black), was completely sold out before the first unit was released to a customer.

I’ve owned the older WRC homologated specials in the past: a Lancia Delta HF Integrale “Evoluzione I”, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV RS, V RS, and VI RS, and the Toyota GR Yaris is better than all of them! Besides being obviously newer with the most current high technologies, safety, and engineering, the GR Yaris combines genuine dynamic ability with real-world everyday reliability, comfort, and fuel efficiency. The old cars will always remain desirable for their charismatic abilities and iconic personalities but the GR Yaris sits above them with maturity and refinement. The Toyota GR Yaris actually has a longer wheelbase than all of those seasoned rally cars and has more usable interior room in the cabin compared to the Lancia. The Philippine-spec GR Yaris may produce a little less power than in other markets to properly handle our fuel quality (257 bhp vs 268 bhp and 266 lb-ft vs 273 lb-ft of torque) but Toyota Philippines made up for it by adding other optional equipment like the front and rear LSDs, the better GR high-performance suspension setup, lighter but more rigid alloy wheels and stickier tires (forged BBS vs cast ENKEI and Michelin Pilots vs Dunlop SP Sport Maxx) as standard.

The 50 mm elevated gear shift lever reminded me of the awesome pistol-grip 5-speed manual transmission found in the T-bar 1st generation Toyota MR2 Supercharged pocket rocket that I used to drive as a sophomore in college in San Francisco, but the shortened shift stroke is not as extreme.

The genuine World Rally Championship homologation special 2021 Toyota GR Yaris is the C! Team’s unanimous choice as the C! Drive of the Year for the 17th Annual C! Awards. In such a cataclysmic period of time affecting the globe, Toyota’s fantastic limited GR Yaris super-hot hatch helped create much needed joy in our market.

It is said that in order to qualify with the WRC’s homologation rules, Toyota would need to produce at least 25,000 units of the GR Yaris in a continuous 12-month period to supply the world. Toyota Philippines is currently working on getting another limited batch for Philippine buyers who were not able to buy the sensual pocket rocket in the first round. The legendary 4-time WRC champion Tommi Mäkinen worked with the Gazoo Racing team in developing the GR Yaris. Toyota Big Boss Akio Toyoda and Tommi Mäkinen collaborated during pre-production testing on multi-stage surfaces. Additional structural glue and an extra 200 welding points have been added to the GR Yaris to reach the necessary body rigidity. The GR Yaris’ unique build uses generous amounts of aluminum that includes body panels, doors, hood, and trunk. The roofline has also been lowered by 95mm to enhance aerodynamics. You can fold the rear seats to increase rear storage.

The result of the development is a truly epic and balanced 2+2 supermini that can be driven comfortably every single day with all-time four-wheel drive, the Toyota Safety Sense suite of active and passive measures that include adaptive cruise control, front and rear Torsen® Limited Slip Differentials, Ultrasuede® Sports Seats, GR-FOUR AWD modes to vary torque distribution through Normal (60:40), Sport (30:70) and Track (50:50), aluminum sport pedals with optimal setup for heel-and-toe action, full LED lighting, fully-independent trick suspension, 6.9-inch infotainment system with 6-speakers, appropriately massive 14-inch (356 mm) two-piece vented and slotted front brake discs with red four-pot calipers and 11.6-inch (294 millimeter) ventilated and slotted rear brake discs with red two-pot calipers, 18x8J BBS forged alloys wrapped with tenacious Michelin Pilot Sport 4 XL 225/40R18 92Y gumballs, exciting blistered bodywork, functional open front brake ducts, a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic roof panel, WRC badge, all powered by a purpose Gazoo Racing-built, inline-3 cylinder 1.6-liter engine mated to a slick 6-speed V16-series intelligent manual transmission (“iMT”) for automated blipping and effortless shifting.

The Toyota GR Yaris is the most rewarding and affordable high-performance enthusiast’s car in our market. The standard aural cacophony may be subdued but the resulting pace is real. For our Philippine driving conditions, there is no more complete tool to travel safely and swiftly.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-3
Displacement 1618 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 12V
Fuel Injector Port & Direct Injection Intercooled Single-Scroll Ball-Bearing Turbo, VVT-I
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 257 bhp @ 6500 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 266 lb-ft @ 3000-4600 rpm
Transmission 6-Speed iMT

Performance

Top Speed 230 km/h (143 mph) Governed
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 5.2 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 8.3 L/100km Overall

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 2,650,000.00 (Sold Out for now)
What's Great Uniqueness, explosive and explorable dynamic performance, excellent build-quality, hugely entertaining deep abilities, and ultra-limited.
What's Not So No rear parking camera nor sonar, no wireless charger, no HUD, optional JBL® 8 speaker system not available in our market, and ultra-limited.
C! Editors Rating 10/10
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