By on December 14, 2016

Toyota Yaris Gazoo sketch

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]

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32 Comments on “Toyota Confirms Production Yaris Hot Hatch as Image Makeover Continues...”

  • avatar

    Really looking forward to this (hopefully) coming here! I’ll be at the dealership with my deposit.

    • 0 avatar

      And I am not. When speaking of “too small”. Some people complain that Mazda3 is too small.

      But I applaud Toyota for the show they make. Great idea actually. So, you pimp the Yaris, which may cost you $1000 extra for manufacturing, but charge $3000 extra. $2K profit.

      • 0 avatar

        ‘Some people’ can suck it – I’ll be at the dealership with a deposit too if this lives up to its hype. Plenty of firms charge a premium, I’m not against profit if I find it worth the cost. I’ve been waiting for a desirable Japanese sporty thing to come to N America for a while.

  • avatar

    Better late than never I guess. For the first time since 1981 there are no Toyota powered vehicles in my driveway. At the moment though we’re a Ford family unless my Fiesta ST proves to be too fragile or my wife’s C-Max starts to go bad.

  • avatar

    Problem is…the price of the more plebian model is already a bit unrealistic. How much more can they hope to charge for a “better” Yaris when they already have issues selling the one they have? Will the performance be that much better?

  • avatar

    I thought Yaris already was a hatchback?

  • avatar

    A Yaris will NEVER be considered “hot”. Tepid perhaps, but never “hot”.

  • avatar

    Corolla Im turbo please. Thanks.

  • avatar

    Toyota dealers around here barely even stock any Yaris. And why should they? It has an engine that dates from 1999, a 5-speed manual or 4-speed(!) automatic. It’s built in France – I can’t directly address French build quality, but I wouldn’t want to find out, either.

    If you’ll have a sedan, the Mazda2-based Yaris iA is a better car by every single metric you can think of.

    If you want a hatch, the Corolla iM is a whole class bigger and unarguably a better car. It’s also (compared to Yaris SE trim) only about $1500 more.

    The only time I see Yaris “in the wild”, they have rental-car bar codes on them.

  • avatar
    Trucky McTruckface

    You’re joking, right? The only remotely positive thing I can say about the Yaris is that it’s the last remaining two door hatchback. Otherwise, it’s the only car that I find to be even less desirable than a Mitsubishi Mirage.

    I had just assumed Toyota had given up on competing in the U.S. subcompact segment when they farmed out the sedan to Mazda. Now they want to sell a hot hatch based on a 2011 design that itself was a half-baked update of a 2005 frump-mobile with a drivetrain that dates to 2000? Sigh…

    Instead of making a silly “sporty” version impress no one, much less ring up any additional sales, how about replacing the four speed automatic? Europe at least gets this thing with a CVT. If Toyota really wants to improve their image in America, stop selling such laughably ugly, dumbed-down products.

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      “The former iA sitting on the shoowroom floor is the better vehicle top to bottom.”

      Yes it is, and it’s good enough that I was tempted to buy one, even though I was shopping a size class up (compact, not sub-compact). It’s an OUTSTANDING little car. Toyota should be embarrassed how badly it outclasses the Yaris they designed by themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Frankly, I don’t think Toyota cares about or prioritizes the Yaris in much of any way. It’s a low-margin low-desire no-prestige segment. Much of their lineup shows they can fully compete in segments when they want to. The outgoing Yaris strikes me as a placeholder that cost very little R&D to continue offering well past its sell-by date, and the decision to just let Mazda build the new one for them confirms a complete lack of interest in devoting resources to this segment.

      • 0 avatar

        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…

  • avatar

    “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.

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