Toyota Confirms Production Yaris Hot Hatch as Image Makeover Continues

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s unveiling of the Toyota Gazoo Racing-crafted Yaris Gazoo WRC rally car, Toyota has said a road-going hot hatch for the common man is on the way.

The automaker’s European division let the news slip in Helsinki yesterday, confirming rumors swirling around a possible hot hatch variant of the brand’s staid subcompact.

Still, Toyota left many questions unanswered.

Giving the masses something to pine for seemed like a natural outcome of the company’s splashy re-entry into the World Rally Championship. Certainly, that’s what we’ve expected for some time. Toyota has mulled turning to its Gazoo Racing division for a sporty sub-brand, with the unit’s chief, Koei Saga, declaring that he’d like to make it happen.

Sure enough, that’s what happened — assuming, of course, that the Yaris is just the first hot shoe to drop. In a very brief release, Toyota Europe stated, “Not only will the WRC scene provide learnings to further improve Toyota’s road car technology, it will also inspire an expansion of the Yaris line-up with a performance oriented version.”

To accompany the news, Toyota teased a sketch of the shadowy model. While the automaker hasn’t said if the upcoming model will bear Gazoo badging, it seems likely. It also hasn’t said what to expect under the hood, or whether the model will appear on American shores.

Competing in the subcompact hot hatch segment means this supposedly fiery three-door needs to present a serious threat to the reigning champ — the Ford Fiesta ST. That means output in the neighborhood of 200 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque. The Yaris Gazoo WRC boasts 375 hp from its boosted 1.6-liter four, if you were wondering.

If Toyota brings this variant stateside, it could ignite some interest in the overlooked subcompact — and not a moment too soon, either. Sales of the Yaris in the U.S. fell steadily since the model’s 2008 sales peak. While it once saw sales peak above the six-figure mark, this year is on track to become the model’s worst sales year to date.

[Image: Toyota]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • APaGttH APaGttH on Dec 14, 2016

    So Toyota can barely give the Yaris away, literally. Its meager sales go to a lot of rental fleets, and Americans are running away from the B-segment as fast as they can. The former iA sitting on the shoowroom floor is the better vehicle top to bottom. That worst sales year to date is after a relatively recent refresh. Stickers, paint, big rims, some plastic trim and different gearing won't save the Yaris.

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    • APaGttH APaGttH on Dec 15, 2016

      @30-mile fetch Agreed - and prior to shooting Scion in the head, the worst competitor to the Yaris was the Corolla LE sitting next to it. For a few dollars more a month, literally...

  • FreedMike FreedMike on Dec 14, 2016

    "Sales of the Yaris in the U.S. fell steadily since the model’s 2008 sales peak. While it once saw sales peak above the six-figure mark, this year is on track to become the model’s worst sales year to date." The Mazda-sourced Yaris (the iA) might have just a little bit to do with that. It outclasses Toyota's in-house effort so badly that I'm amazed no one has committed sepuku in Toyota HQ over it.

  • Ted Lulis Head gaskets and Toyota putting my kids through college👍️
  • Leonard Ostrander Plants don't unionize. People do, and yes, of course the workers should organize.
  • Jalop1991 Here's something EVangelists don't want to talk about, and why range is important: battery warranties, by industry standard, specify that nothing's wrong with the battery, and they won't replace it, as long as it is able to carry 70% or more of its specified capacity.So you need a lot of day 1 capacity so that down the road, when you're at 70% capacity with a "fully functioning, no problem" car, you're not stuck in used Nissan Leaf territory."Nothing to see here, move along."There's also the question of whether any factory battery warranty survives past the original new car owner. So it's prudent of any second owner to ask that question specifically, and absent any direct written warranty, assume that the second and subsequent owners own any battery problems that may arise.And given that the batteries are a HUGE expense, much more so than an ICE, such exposure is equally huge."Nothing to see here, move along."
  • Roger hopkins The car is in Poland??? It does look good tho...
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.