Will Toyota's enthusiasm come to America?
The Ford Fiesta ST is dead, at least in North America. It’s a shame, really. Not only was the first generation one of the best all-around hot hatches you could buy, its successor, go-karting its way right now through the streets of Europe, is even more impressive. But, there could be hope, thanks to Toyota. We’ve previously reported that the Japanese automaker is keen to do a performance-focused Yaris hot hatch though nothing has been made official just yet.
Fortunately, our spy photographers caught this Yaris hot hatch test mule blasting its way around the Nurburgring a few days ago. There were two Yaris hatchbacks present that day, actually. The first one is the red, white, and black test mule. That’s the performance version. The black and white-camouflaged second way is the hybrid.
How do we know this? Because the latter has a yellow round sticker on the rear window while the former features a camo wrap used by Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s performance wing. We don’t know what will power each of them at this time. Potential debut dates are also a mystery. However, based on a certain previous Yaris track star, the Yaris GRMN, we know what Toyota is capable of doing.
This little pocket rocket was limited to only 400 examples, with power coming from a supercharged version of Toyota’s 1.8-liter inline with a total of 209 hp. Lotus did the tuning on that one. A six-speed manual and a Torsen limited-slip differential sent power to the front wheels. Now, it’s highly unlikely Toyota is repeating that crazy formula. In fact, the Yaris GRMN was for Europe only.
For 2020, America is getting an all-new Mazda2-based Yaris hatchback and sedan. The question is, will Gazoo Racing get their hands on America’s new Yaris hatchback? The Yaris GRMN and these spy shots are clear-cut proof those guys know a thing or two about developing hot hatches. Let’s hope so. If anything, this could become the subcompact hot hatch Ford decided Americans can’t have any longer.