The hot hatch from heaven isn’t the greatest creation ever made, surprisingly.

Said to be the best thing to come out of 2020 (which isn’t too hard, I guess), the GR Yaris took the motoring world by storm with critics and reviewers praising it like it’s the cure to all the world’s woes. It’s very easy to like something that everyone else likes (looking at you, Pulp Fiction) but it’s time for a reality check. The GR Yaris is haplessly overrated.

A Yaris for the price of £30,000

Toyota GR Yaris 2020

Said to be an everyday hero and an ‘affordable’ sports car, yet the pricetag seems to suggest otherwise. Yes, it’s kitted out with rally-spec engineering and flys like the wind but at the end of the day, spending any more than £20,000 on a Yaris seems a bit over the top.

Paying over thirty big ones for a three-cylinder single-turbo hot hatch the size of the average 17-year-old’s car is not something to be happy about. We should be annoyed they didn’t put this kind of engineering into the GR Supra, not happy that we got it in a cheap hatchback.

With options, most are looking around at least £33,000 which you could get yourself a nice slightly used M240i or even a Mustang for.

Options are limited

Toyota GR Yaris 2020

When buying a GR Yaris, customers have to make a tough call. They can either get the package that comes with 18 inch BBS alloys, special Micheline tyres and upgraded suspension OR they can have upgraded speakers, blind-spot monitors, heads up display, parking sensors and other comfort-enriching features.

Essentially, if you want the proper GR Yaris experience and decide to go with the Circuit Pack, you will have to forgo parking sensors, nice speakers, illuminated entry system and the better Touch 2 with Go navigation system. Not a big deal for most as we all know that no one buys a GR Yaris expecting luxury comfort but still, choice would be nice.

How is this not overrated?

Toyota GR Yaris 2020

It would seem a new hot hatch has been talked about more than the Ferrari Roma or Maserati MC20. Has the GR Yaris been propped upon a pedestal so high that a cult religion has been started in its honour? Probably. Does it live up to the hype? Not quite.

Lastly, a lot of the celebration of this car is its rally heritage and the fact that it’s a ‘homologation’ car has been shouted from the rooftops over and over again. Unfortunately, it’s not even a real homologation car. It’s not a real rally car and will never have a racing history like the icons before it (Renault 5 Turbo, Peugeot 205 Turbo etc.) as Toyota has no intentions to use it in WRC.

It sounds like great fun for reviewers that get to drive it for free but when it comes to spending £30,000 on a car, most people will look elsewhere before buying this. If they were going to buy a seriously quick hot hatch, they’d look to the Civic Type R.

Let us know your thoughts on the GR Yaris in the comments below!

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One Response

  1. Bryan Connolly

    Well, not sure this article has aged well given that second hand models are going for 15% over list and you can go on a waiting list for 2023 build slots, but no longer actually order one. Although the WRC changed regs wrecking the original homologation intent, it’s been raced as the AP4 in the Australian and other APAC rally series and has come first and second in every event it’s entered. The tuning and mod houses have flocked to support it from Litchfield to Miltek and if you want to fettle something, the options are there. If you don’t strip eveything out and turn it into a track weapon, you have a ten year warranty – ten years on a car with does 0-60 in 4.5s, but returns in the 40s mpg on a sedate cruise and doesn’t have to pay ULEZ charges. If you have a big family, it’s clearly not going to daily, but our two kids love it, and when I’m doing an allotment or IKEA run, the fact the rear seats go absolutely flat and leave no ledge means you can load all sorts into the back. The CP has Apple Play and Android Auto, and your phone satnav is always going to be better than a built in anyway, plus has a reversing camera as standard, variable adaptive cruise control and (cancelable) dual mode lane assist, so isn’t short on the bells and whistles either. It also has easy to find and use controls without taking your eyes off the road (unlike the mk8 Golf.) From a personal perspective, it’s the best small car I’ve ever driven for bashing round wet, bumpy, twisty B roads. If you’re going to do A road and motorway cruises most of the time, with the odd track day and never get mud on the sills or risk vapourising a pheasant, the Golf R, Civic Type R and Merc A45 are over there for you… If however you’re going to drive on country back roads and want a chuckle, you need to put your hand deeper in your pocket now, as the Circuit pack in a basic colour goes for around £38k second hand now… if you can find one.


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