Taking another whirl in the GR Yaris

by Petrol Mum
Toyota GR Yaris on bridge

Sometimes I drive vehicles because they are new to the market or because I have an interest in them and sometimes, I drive a vehicle again just because I really liked it the first time. For the Toyota GR Yaris, it is the latter and my second time around in the GR Yaris was just enjoyable as the first.

You can read my reviews of the GR Yaris from 2020 here or the GR Yaris Rallye here and fundamentally nothing has changed since then. And the fact that nothing has changed is primarily a good thing, because the GR Yaris is such a fun little car to drive.

The 1.6 litre, 3-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine is the most powerful production engine in the world for its size and it sounds very muscular on start-up. But disappointingly there are no pops and bangs from the exhausts under hard acceleration and deceleration, while you are swiftly moving through the slick 6-speed manual gearbox.

The 3-cyclinder engine produces a 200kW power and 370Nm of torque and the GR Yaris will do 0 to 100km/h in 5.2 seconds and is electronically limited to a top speed of 230km/h. The official combined fuel economy is 7.6L/100km and for my week in the GR Yaris I used 10.5L/100km, slightly less than the 11.6L/100km I used when driving the GR Yaris previously.

The front-rear drive ratio on the GR-FOUR all-wheel drive system used on the GR Yaris can be adjusted using the rotary dial on the centre console. Your choices are Normal, Sport and Track modes; with a 60:40 split in Normal, 30:70 in Sport, and 50:50 in Track. It should not be surprising to know that the ride in the GR Yaris is firm, thanks to the latest double wishbone suspension on the rear wheels combined with a MacPherson Strut system on the front.

I really love the muscular look of the GR Yaris from every angle. The robustness of the front bumper and the wide backend with dual exhausts, it’s all just so chunky and suits the character of the GR Yaris perfectly. The wheels are specially cast lightweight 18″ black alloy wheels inspired by a traditional Japanese matched with low profile Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tyres.

The sporty front seats come with GR stitching on the headrests and have Ultrasuede that grips you in position. They are heated and have manual adjustment only. Although the driver seat has height adjustment, I still felt that I sat up too high in the GR Yaris and this is even worse in the passenger seat, which has no height adjustment at all. This is the one particularly feature that I had hoped Toyota would have done something about.

I think the lack of some modern technology on the GR Yaris adds to its appeal. Like the analogue speedo and taco that flank the 4.2″ Information Display on the driver’s dash and manual handbrake. The GR Yaris only has just a 7″ colour touchscreen display and a basic 8-speaker JBL audio system. Voice control can be used on some of the infotainment features and is activated by pressing the button on the steering wheel with the masculine-looking silhouette on it. On this occasion the voice control worked fine for me when I used it to set a destination on the sat nav and to change the radio station, but it did not work when I tried to use it to make a phone call.

But something the GR Yaris does need is a proper storage cubby for your phone because the current design is not functional. The GR Yaris uses wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and there is one USB-A port and one 12V outlet located in front of the gearstick. The ledge for your phone is located under the central screen and it is made from hard plastic, so your phone can simply slide off when you go around a corner too fast, something the GR Yaris is prone to do.

There are two ISOFIX/two rear tether child seat restraint points in the rear seats, but to be honest I wouldn’t try and fit car seats because of the height of the roof and the fact that it would difficult to lean in and do the belts up on the car seats. There are also no rear air vents, drink bottle holders or USB ports, so smaller children would probably not enjoy the experience anyway. The rear seats are also too small for adults, but my tween-sized children did fit in there OK.

The tailgate has a power assisted, manual open and close operation and there is very little space in the boot and no spare tyre. If you need extra storage space the rear seats do have a 60:40 split folding mechanism.

Toyota GR Yaris rear view camera

The GR Yaris does not have an ANCAP safety rating, but is fitted with Toyota Safety Sense including Intersection Turn Assistance, Lane Departure Alert, Lane Trace Assist, Pre-Collision Safety system with pedestrian and daylight cyclist detection, Road Sign Assist, and Active Cruise Control. The GR Yaris also has a standard reversing camera with fixed guidelines and rear sensors only, auto lights, auto high beam, and auto wipers.

All new Toyota vehicles are backed by a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty and if a defect covered by the Toyota Warranty Advantage causes your vehicle to be undriveable, towing to the nearest Toyota Dealer and a loan car is covered. If your vehicle is properly serviced and maintained per its Warranty and Service Book, Toyota will extend your engine and driveline warranty for an additional two years. Currently every new GR Yaris comes with capped price servicing of $300 per service up to 3 years or 60,000 kms, whichever comes first.

Toyota GR Yaris side

Oh what a Feeling it is to drive the Toyota GR Yaris! Toyota have firmly re-established themselves back in the performance car hierarchy and the driving world is a better place for this. The starting and as tested price for this GR Yaris in Glacier White $49,500 excluding on-road costs. Due to the unprecedented global demand, some Toyota models are currently experiencing extended wait times. Visit your preferred Toyota dealer for the most up-to-date advice.

It’s such a fun car to driveThe ride is firm
The engineThe front seats are up too high
The blend of old and new technology in the cabinIt needs a better storage cubby for your phone

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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