Toyota is betting big on its smallest performance car in Australia.

    The first 1000 GR Yaris hatchback buyers will receive a discount of more than $10,000 as Toyota pushes to kickstart its burgeoning Gazoo Racing brand Down Under.

    The rally-ready 2021 GR Yaris will have a list price of $49,500 before on-road costs, but Toyota is offering a drive-away price of $39,950 for the first 1000 buyers.

    Order books open at midday on Wednesday, September 23, and prospective buyers can lock in a car with a $1000 deposit.

    Why the bargain drive-away price? Toyota Australia says it’s using the GR Yaris as an “investment” in the Gazoo Racing brand, giving enthusiasts a chance to experience what Toyota Australia vice president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley describes as a “performance thoroughbred”.

    “We want to excite as many fans as possible with a price that makes GR Yaris more appealing, and genuinely attainable” Mr Hanley today told media.

    Mr Hanley said the drive-away price will “accelerate the awareness and excitement around the GR brand by ensuring we have a substantial number of cars on the road”.

    Toyota is pushing to make the GR brand a “market-leading performance brand” in Australia, although it acknowledges that won’t happen overnight.

    Unlike the Supra, which has been heavily constrained by limited supply, Toyota says there should be no problem meeting GR Yaris demand in the first year.

    The GR Yaris undercuts the Hyundai i30 N ($41,400 before on-roads) at its drive-away launch price. However its $49,500 list price puts it into competition with the Honda Civic Type R ($51,990 list) and Renault Megane RS Cup ($52,490 list).

    The three-door Yaris is much smaller than those cars, and is the only one with a three-cylinder engine. Gazoo Racing is a new brand in Australia, and there’s no dual-clutch transmission option.

    But the car’s performance figures stack up on paper:

    • The world’s most powerful production three-cylinder engine makes 200kW and 370Nm
    • The GR Yaris tips the scales at just 1280kg
    • 0-100km/h in 5.2 seconds

    The Yaris is all-wheel drive as standard, unlike its front-wheel drive rivals. The Volkswagen Golf R is all-wheel drive, but coming to the end of its production life.

    As a rally homologation special – Toyota’s first since the 1999 Celica GT-Four – the GR Yaris also has an on-paper link with the all-wheel drive Subaru WRX STI.

    There’s a significantly wider track than the standard Yaris, a bespoke suspension, and uprated brakes measuring 356mm up front and 297mm at the rear.

    Along with the regular GR Yaris, a more track-focused Rallye Edition will touch down in the first half of 2021. Just 250 will be available, packed with the following features:

    • Race suspension
    • Front and rear locking differentials
    • 18-inch forged BBS alloy wheels
    • Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres
    • Red brake calipers

    It will be more expensive than the GR Yaris, but Toyota says it appeals to a very different type of buyer.

    “This car is quite different, this is a car that really works for those that are track enthusiasts,” Mr Hanley told media. “It’s quite a different market.”

    Regardless of which model you buy, Toyota is promising “enthusiasts who purchase a GR Yaris will be totally engaged with the brand” throughout its life, likely through track days and events.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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