A pocket rocket with 275 hp? Who wants one?
The Toyota GR Yaris was recently revealed at the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon. With a total of 268 horsepower (257 hp for the Euro version) and 272 lb-ft of torque from its turbocharged 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine, this hot hatch weighs only 2,822 pounds. The Japanese automaker claims a 0-62 mph of less than 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 143 mph. All-wheel drive is standard. And yes, it has a six-speed manual.
It sounds like tons of fun to drive, right? Of course, though there's one major catch: there are no plans to bring it to North America. Well, at least not yet and someone needs our help to change Toyota's mind. A new petition has gone up at Change.org calling for Toyota to bring the GR Yaris (GR stands for Gazoo Racing) to North America.
The GR Yaris is a homologation special, meaning it only exists because World Rally Championship rules require automakers to build a limited number of road-legal versions of their race cars. Toyota has not given a precise build number in this case. The petition also points out that GR's other branded sports car, the Toyota Supra, is not exactly affordable for everyone with its $49,990 base price. Granted the GR Yaris is not cheap, but in Japan it'll sell for the equivalent of $36,100 for the First Edition model.
Another factor the petition mentions is the fact that in many parts of North America it snows for nearly five months of the year. Having another AWD vehicle option would provide year-round driving pleasure.
There is, however, a potential issue in bringing the GR Yaris to our neck of the woods: it's not built on the Mazda-based platform that the regular Toyota Yaris Hatchback utilizes. Instead, it rides on a shortened version of the TNGA platform. TNGA is a global modular platform that currently underpins the latest Toyota Corolla and Lexus UX. Because of this, there probably wouldn't be any market homologation issues though the high costs involved could outweigh the benefits.
It all boils down to whether a business case can be made. This petition is here to convince Toyota there is one.