Toyota is Closing in On an Automatic Transmission for GR Yaris
Look, we can be elitist enthusiasts about many things, but screaming into the void about how manual transmissions are the only “true” option is pointless and wrong. There are plenty of people who have legitimate reasons why owning and driving a manual-powered car would be impossible, and Toyota seems to recognize that – at least with one of its vaunted GR performance cars.
The automaker is developing an automatic transmission for the GR Yaris. Called the Direct Automatic Transmission, or DAT, the gearbox has been in development for more than a year. Former Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda said the transmission will be a “game-changer” but noted that there is lots of work left to do to make it a reality.
Toyoda said, “I really want to make this happen, and for many people to drive these cars. For instance, those who only drive automatic could enjoy motorsports. They can experience the different sounds and the sensation of downshifting and upshifting.” He went on to note that today’s automatics are faster to shift and more efficient than manuals.
We don’t know if Toyota plans to bring the automatic here for use in the GR Corolla, as the car is currently manual-only. It’s unlikely that we’d see it show up in the GR Supra unless an engine change is in order since the straight-six and accompanying hardware come from BMW. There have been rumors that the GR Corolla powertrain could make it into future GR86 models, but we’ll have to wait to see if that becomes a reality before speculating about the gearbox.
Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.
More by Chris Teague