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A 257-hp Toyota Yaris is Coming, But Not to North America

Toyota has unveiled the GR version of its Yaris for 2020

The Yaris that’s sold in North American Toyota dealerships is actually a Mazda2. That's been the case with the sedan version for a few years now, and for 2020, it's also the reality with the 5-door package.

So it is that the new generation of the Yaris made by Toyota is sold elsewhere on the planet, but not here. The company’s stance is understandable, in that it’s all a question of cost. And with the segment it competes shrinking by the month in Canada and in the U.S., there’s no reason for Toyota to change its strategy.

Of course, that doesn't prevent us from feeling a twinge of excitement and a tweak of frustration when we see Toyota unveil the new GR version of the Yaris, a little tick of a car that gets 257 big horses from its 1.6L, 3-cylinder turbocharged engine. Yes, 257 hp for a 3-cylinder. Don't look for precedents, this represents a record output for an engine with this displacement.

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Photo: Toyota

The new mill also offers 266 lb-ft of torque, and power is distilled to all four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. Fortunately, all-wheel drive is also included, because when you think about it the torque effect would be nigh unmanageable without it.

Even with the addition of all-wheel drive and two Torsen limited-slip differentials, the car weighs only 1,280 kg thanks to the use of carbon fiber polymer and aluminum. This promises very interesting performance indeed. In fact, Toyota promises a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of less than 5.5 seconds. We’re a long way from the early Toyota Echo models...

Photo: Toyota

To manage that power and those differentials, there's a new double-wishbone rear suspension, MacPherson shocks up front and a wider track in the rear compared to the regular Yaris. 18-inch wheels ensure proper contact with the road. Drive modes are on the menu and adjust torque distribution as needed.

As for pricing, some quick calculations give us the equivalent of between $40,000 and $45,000 CAD – if it were to be offered here.

Unfortunately, it won’t be, so we’ll have to content ourselves with admiring it from afar, or maybe driving it in video games.

Photo: Toyota
Photo: Toyota