Here's Your Hot Toyota Yaris Hatch; Does the U.S. Want It?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Toyota promised the world a Yaris hatchback that would valiantly rise above the role of a plain-Jane commuter car, and here it is.

Expected to premiere at the Geneva Motor Show this March, the high performance three-door subcompact borrows inspiration, parts, and probably a name from Toyota’s Gazoo racing division.

The automaker claims the hot Yaris makes more than 210 horsepower, likely from a tamed-down version of the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine found in its recently released WRC rally car. It also previews design changes coming to the entire Yaris lineup.

Gazoo is to Yaris as TRD is to Tacoma, so buyers should expect a vastly improved suspension setup, as well as other upgraded components. Because the Yaris has so far avoided being associated with either performance or handling, the new variant might come as a bit of a shock. Still, Toyota is determined to shake up its staid and sensible image.

Many details of the muscular hatch remain a mystery, but the biggest question is: will Toyota bring it to North America? So far, the automaker won’t say.

With 210-plus horsepower on tap, the model surpasses the output of the popular Ford Fiesta ST, and would send ripples through the hot hatch segment. It makes sense from a PR perspective, too. Fielding something youthful and fun, especially in a low-priced segment, would give Toyota an opportunity to be noticed for something other than long-term reliability.

[Images: Toyota]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Pete Zaitcev Pete Zaitcev on Jan 13, 2017

    I'd take a good look at this if I haven't switched to SUVs.

  • Maymar Maymar on Jan 13, 2017

    I'm not sure there's been a hot hatch that's had a great reliability rep since Honda dropped the RSX and 3-door Civic Si, so I'm glad Toyota's trying something. I will echo the comments though, that a hopped up Corolla iM would be a nice addition.

  • MaintenanceCosts "But your author does wonder what the maintenance routine is going to be like on an Italian-German supercar that plays host to a high-revving engine, battery pack, and several electric motors."Probably not much different from the maintenance routine of any other Italian-German supercar with a high-revving engine.
  • 28-Cars-Later "The unions" need to not be the UAW and maybe there's a shot. Maybe.
  • 2manyvettes I had a Cougar of similar vintage that I bought from my late mother in law. It did not suffer the issues mentioned in this article, but being a Minnesota car it did have some weird issues, like a rusted brake line.(!) I do not remember the mileage of the vehicle, but it left my driveway when the transmission started making unwelcome noises. I traded it for a much newer Ford Fusion that served my daughter well until she finished college.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Couple of questions: 1) who will be the service partner for these when Rivian goes Tits Up? 2) What happens with software/operating system support when Rivia goes Tits Up? 3) What happens to the lease when Rivian goes Tits up?
  • Richard I loved these cars, I was blessed to own three. My first a red beauty 86. My second was an 87, 2+2, with digital everything. My third an 87, it had been ridden pretty hard when I got it but it served me well for several years. The first two I loved so much. Unfortunately they had fuel injection issue causing them to basically burst into flames. My son was with me at 10 years old when first one went up. I'm holding no grudges. Nissan gave me 1600$ for first one after jumping thru hoops for 3 years. I didn't bother trying with the second. Just wondering if anyone else had similar experience. I still love those cars.