Currently reading: Rally-bred Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch set for January reveal
New high-performance Yaris variant will draw on Toyota's World Rally Championship experience

Toyota will unveil its GR Yaris hot hatchback next month, promising that the new car will incorporate technology developed from the firm's World Rally Championship experience.

The new model will be shown for the first time at the Tokyo Auto Salon on 10-12 January, and will be the second model in the firm's Gazoo Racing-branded GR sports car line, after the GR Supra. The GR Yaris was due to be unveiled at Rally Australia earlier this month, but the reveal was shelved after devastating wildfires caused the event's cancellation. 

Toyota has yet to release any technical information about the GR Yaris, but says it "incorporates all the technologies, knowledge and experience learned" from the team's title-winning WRC campaign with the Yaris WRC. 

The model is currently undergoing testing sporting a camouflage livery that features the code 'GR-4', an indication that the car could follow the WRC version in featuring four-wheel drive.

A video released by Toyota has shown the GR Yaris undergoing testing and driven by the firm's CEO, Akio Toyoda, who is also the brand's Master Driver operating under the pseudonym 'Morizo'. The prototype car will also feature at the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival in Japan on 15 December.

The machine will effectively succeed the previous generation’s limited-run Yaris GRMN as the range-topping version of the small hatch. While likely to be offered in greater numbers than the GRMN, it is possible that the new car will serve as a ‘homologation special’, forming the basis for the next-generation Yaris WRC.

Feature: tracing the 2019 Rally GB route in a Yaris GRMN

The new preview shows that its styling is familiar from the existing Yaris, but with the addition of far wider rear wheel arches and an aggressive bodykit to fit the car’s likely high-performance brief. In a further nod to the car’s intent, it sports the camouflage livery used by most recent hot Toyota models of recent years, including the recently revived Supra.

At the launch of the revamped Yaris recently, Toyota’s executive vice-president, Matt Harrison, told Autocar that a performance version of the model would likely be launched to strengthen the link between Toyota’s road cars and its Gazoo Racing motorsport arm.

Toyota has applied various levels of branding under the Gazoo Racing theme in order to develop a model structure for its high-performance models. These include the hardcore limited-run GRMN versions that are positioned above models that carry the GR badge, which represents an ‘authentic sports model’. The firm also offers a GR Sport trim level that offers a more aggressive look while retaining an unchanged mechanical package.


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The original Toyota Yaris was a landmark car, since then it has lost ground to more talented rivals. Can it regain its crown from the formidable and long in the tooth Ford Fiesta?

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Toyota secured the 2018 World Rally Championship manufacturers’ title with the Yaris WRC, with Ott Tänak claiming this year’s drivers title.


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Hot Toyota Yaris on the cards to strengthen motorsport links

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Feature: Tracing the 2019 Rally GB route in a Yaris GRMN

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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Saul 12 December 2019


Very intruiged, hope a lot more wil become apparent to the australian market, very soon.

Cenuijmu 5 December 2019

Would be nice for Japan to have another WRC based 4x4 road car

Smaller than the old Evo and Sti as well,  could be a real pocket rocket.   Nissan Sunny GTiR  reborn !

xxxx 5 December 2019


It'll be infuriating, annoying and disappointing all at the same time if it's just a limited run of 500 £55k cars worldwide. On the other hand it it's a genuine £30k (some hope) 2.0t 4WD then Toyota might just be on the way to improving their image amongst the enthusiast.