If you’re banging your head against the wall, don’t worry—you’re not alone. That was exactly our reaction when we found out that the Toyota GR Yaris—the rally-inspired, 257-hp hot hatch—would be sold in Mexico. Our neighbors to the south were so excited for this launch that the 300 units slated for them sold out in less than 24 hours. This side of the border, however, we’re sobbing.
The arrival of the GR Yaris was a big announcement by Toyota Mexico, as initially there were no plans for the car to arrive to North America at all. We Yanks have been begging for the GR Yaris to reach our shores, but so far, the answer has been no. Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales for Toyota Motor North America, told us last year that, “The U.S. and North America have the harshest crash tests in the world, so [the GR Yaris] is not homologated for the U.S.” But he then got our hopes up when he said, “But stay tuned, we got an answer for it. It’s possible that we bring something else. I’ll leave it at that. Come to our future events.”
Late last year we drove the hot hatch’s Euro-spec version and heralded it as the most focused driver’s car one could buy this side of a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. The GR Yaris has nothing in common with the Yaris that used to sell here in the U.S. (which was based on the Mazda2). The powerful two-door has its own dedicated platform, and its peppy 257-hp, 265 lb-ft 1.6-liter turbo I-3 engine helps this rocket reach 62 mph in 5.5 seconds, according to Toyota. That power is routed to all four wheels via to a six-speed manual transmission.
“You’ll climb out of the GR Yaris after a blast down your favorite driving road grinning with delight at just how eager, communicative, balanced, and accomplished this little car feels,” said international bureau chief Angus MacKenzie after spending some time with it.
We’re glad Toyota revealed a new generation of the GR 86, and we’re thankful for the GR Supra, but the absence of the GR Yaris in the States leaves a whole in our hearts. We can only hope that Toyota’s answer fills this gap with joy.