Cut-price Toyota GR Yaris automatic on the cards – report


Toyota is reportedly considering a front-wheel-drive, automatic GR Yaris to compete on price with the VW Polo GTI, according to a news report out of Japan.

Alex Misoyannis


A cheaper Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch – with front-wheel drive rather than all-wheel-drive and a modest reduction in turbo power – is under consideration, according to an overseas report.

Japan’s highly-respected Magazine X reports Toyota is “considering the idea” of a cheaper GR Yaris to “attract back consumers who wanted [a normal GR Yaris] but were put off by the price being too high.”

If the more affordable version of the Toyota GR Yaris gets the green light for launch, it would not be in showrooms in Japan until 2023 or 2024 at the earliest, the magazine speculated.

It is unclear if such a model – if it went into production – would be available in Australia. Toyota does not disclose future model plans.

Magazine X reports the new model would be powered by a detuned version of the familiar 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, a front-wheel-drive layout (rather than all-wheel drive), and a torque-converter automatic gearbox (rather than a six-speed manual).


Magazine X speculates the cut-price GR Yaris would cost in “the low three million yen range” in Japan – a decrease of about 26 per cent compared with the ‘standard’ GR Yaris RZ in Japan, or 34 per cent less than the top-of-the-range Rallye (or ‘RZ High Performance’).

In Australia, the GR Yaris Rallye is priced from $54,500 plus on-road costs – suggesting the new ‘budget’ variant would cost between $36,000 and $42,000 plus on-road costs locally – if the rumoured 3.0 to 3.5 million yen range eventuates, and if the car is introduced here.

This price point positions the front-drive Toyota GR Yaris close to the only other automatic city-sized hot hatch on sale, the Volkswagen Polo GTI ($38,750 plus on-road costs ).


It’s unclear how much power will be sapped from the 1.6-litre turbo three-cylinder to fit its market positioning, and how performance will be affected by an automatic gearbox.

Australian GR Yaris models develop 200kW and 370Nm – while front-wheel-drive models in the city-sized hot hatch class produce around 150kW and 300Nm (with the exception of the cheaper Suzuki Swift Sport).

The type of torque-converter automatic transmission the front-drive Toyota GR Yaris would use is also unclear – however the company is running GR Yaris prototypes in Japanese rally events with eight-speed auto gearboxes.

According to Magazine X, the cut-price GR Yaris variant would help Toyota recoup development costs for the car, which has a bespoke part-aluminium and carbon-fibre body not shared with any other Yaris model.


“[Toyota] must continue to sell [GR Yaris cars] to recover the development costs. However, after such highly sophisticated cars have been sold to the [initial run of] desired [enthusiasts], they tend to drop [off] and sales volume growth is sluggish,” the publication says.

Toyota already offers a cheaper, circa-$30,000 GR Yaris in Japan, known as the RS – but while it shares its three-door body with higher-end models, it uses the same 88kW 1.5-litre petrol engine and CVT automatic as regular Yaris models.

A launch date for the cheaper Toyota GR Yaris model isn’t given – and the vehicle is yet to be confirmed – however Magazine X reports “it may take time to [develop], as the car’s driving characteristics need to be verified and built in”.

In the meantime, the magazine reports Toyota will launch another lightweight, stripped-out version of the full-strength GR Yaris, following the 500-example GRMN Yaris edition revealed in January (above).

Set to go into production in June 2023, the new model will wear the ‘Light Package’ badge, and be based on the current RC variant – a Japan-only model with few luxury features, pitched as a basis for racing teams to modify for competition.

Magazine X claims the GR Yaris RC Light Package will weigh 1170kg – 80kg less than the current GR Yaris RC and road-oriented GRMN Yaris special edition, and 110kg less than the regular GR Yaris on sale in Australia.

Enabling the weight saving are a range of tweaks, including “reduced” sound deadening material behind the dashboard, carpet and roof lining, and Recaro front bucket seats. The publication also claims the rear seats will be deleted – though it’s surprising to see this wasn’t already the case.

The magazine speculates the RC Light Package may cost 4.4 million yen ($AU46,500), or 1.1 million yen ($AU11,600) – or 33 per cent – more than the standard RC’s 3.3 million yen ($AU35,000) sticker.

Given the standard RC isn’t sold through Toyota Australia dealerships, the Light Package version is unlikely to differ.

Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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