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Wednesday / 10 August 2022
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Fast hatchbacks taking on the Toyota GR Yaris

With Toyota South Africa announcing pricing for the GR Yaris, we can see which cars it will take on locally.

The GR Yaris is a special vehicle, however, a “rally car for the road” made by Toyota for the purposes of entering a new model into the Word Rally Championships.

It is therefore difficult to compare it to current hatchbacks on the market – but that won’t stop us from trying.

Toyota GR Yaris

Two GR Yaris models are available for purchase in South Africa:

Both cars run a 1.6-litre, turbocharged, three-cylinder petrol engine that puts out 198kW and 360Nm,

Both run from 0-100km/h in 5.5 seconds, both have a top speed of 230km/h, and both have four-wheel-drive.

The extra R100,000 for the Rally version then gets you the car’s “Circuit Pack” – which includes a limited slip differential, tuned suspension, upgraded wheels and tyres, a heads-up display, and more.

For around the R600,000 to R700,000 mark, this GR Yaris faces strong competition in the “small hot hatch” segment in the country – as detailed below.

Mini John Cooper Works Hatch

The Mini John Cooper Works (JCW) Hatch is similar to the GR Yaris in many ways.

It has three doors, a turbocharged engine that puts out decent power – 170kW in the case of the Mini – and it is aimed squarely at drivers who fancy themselves as weekend racers.

The JCW accelerates from 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds and has a top speed of 246km/h, too, meaning straightline speeds are close to those of the GR Yaris.

In terms of price, the JCW hits the spot once again: selling for R668,000 in South Africa.

Additionally, the Mini JCW ticks the “racing pedigree” box thanks to the division’s strong roots in autosport.

A test drive in both the GR Yaris and Mini JCW would definitely be in order before making a purchasing decision.

Abarth 500C 595 Competizione

The Abarth 500C 595 Competizione is an unconventional choice, but it does match the GR Yaris in a number of areas.

It is a small hatchback with one door on either side and it has its roots firmly set in racing. In fact, after Fiat bought Abarth in 1971, it became the Fiat group’s racing department.

This 595 packs a 1.4-litre engine which produces 132kW and 230Nm – ensuring a 0-100km/h time of 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 230km/h.

While it is unlikely to beat a GR Yaris in a race, it is substantially cheaper than the Toyota – selling for R516,000 locally.

Selecting the 595 over the GR Yaris would definitely be a left-field choice, but the Abarth may have enough personality to sway a few buyers.

Mercedes-AMG A35

Before you close this article while shouting “How can you compare the GR Yaris to the Mercedes-AMG A35“, please hear me out.

The GR Yaris Rally is R715,600.

At this price level, prospective buyers are unlikely to be averse to spending an extra R100,000 or R200,000 on a car which they will keep for at least the next 5-6 years.

The Mercedes-AMG A35 is R883,000, and for this extra money you get a 2.0-litre turbo engine that produces 225kW and 400Nm.

This power is sent to all four wheels and takes the car from 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds.

On the inside, the higher price tag provides you with the finest finishes Mercedes has to offer.

The A35 also offers rear doors and full-size back seats, which means it does offer more practicality for families.

This would also be the case with the new VW Golf GTI – which we would definitely add to this list once it goes on sale in South Africa.

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