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Facelifted Toyota GR Yaris revealed – New gearbox and more power

Toyota has officially unveiled the facelifted GR Yaris, boasting several enhancements over the models that first debuted in 2020.

The hot hatch is scheduled to go on sale in Japan during its spring season, with other markets and launch windows to be confirmed at a later time.

Everything new

The revised Yaris has received multiple changes and additions based on feedback from both the public and Toyota’s own Gazoo Racing (GR) sports division, which followed a slogan of “thanks for breaking it” to see what the vehicle’s limitations were and what could be improved.

“TGR honed the GR Yaris through constant enhancements, thoroughly pursuing the cause of problems by analyzing driving data, reviewing steering feel, and examining what kind of scratches and dirt were on broken parts,” said the manufacturer.

The biggest change demanded by audiences is a new eight-speed Gazoo Racing Direct Automatic Transmission, providing an alternative to the six-speed manual found in the 2020 Yaris.

The new gearbox was developed and tested through World Rally events in Finland and Japan, and it relies on software to detect the way the driver is braking and accelerating in order to anticipate when a gear change is necessary even before shifts in the vehicle’s behaviour have occurred, according to Toyota.

In addition to the new gearshift, the 4WD hatchback has also seen a bump in power for its 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, going from 200kW and 360Nm to 224kW and 400Nm, giving it even more torque than the four-door GR Corolla.

Unfortunately, the automaker has yet to reveal how this has affected its acceleration and top speed.

For context, the current Yaris can go from 0 to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds and reach a max speed of 230km/h. The new one is likely to improve on this.

The chassis has been reinforced, and the number of bolts securing the shock absorbers was increased from one to three to better suppress alignment changes during driving and improve the steering response.

Customers can also opt for a Cooling Package that adds a sub-radiator, cool air intake, and intercooler sprayer as factory-fitted options for those with an inclination for motorsport.

There are three main driving modes – Sport, Normal, and Eco – which alter the air conditioning, accelerator response, and power steering to suit their stated intentions, and which are reflected in the new 12.3-inch, full-colour digital driver’s display with different visuals.

Furthermore, there is a Circuit Mode that can only be activated upon entering designated zones such as a raceway, which is determined through the car’s onboard GPS.

This mode reduces turbo lag, maximizes the cooling fan’s output, provides gearshift timing indicators in the instrument display, and raises the cap on the built-in speed limiter.

Looking at the Yaris’s physical changes, the cabin has been made more ergonomic by moving the position of various items for better ease of use, such as the handbrake which has moved forward by 75mm, and the instrument cluster which has been lowered by 50mm for better forward visibility.

Other revisions include a subtle redesign of the centre console, including a new infotainment screen, climate controls, and air vents.

Outside, the grille features a lightweight steel mesh, and the sides for the lower front bumper now have a separable structure that helps to lower the cost of repair for damage caused by flying objects in a rally.

The lower side grilles are larger for better cooling, and a new opening at the edge of the rear lower garnish allows for air to better escape – improving aerodynamics and assisting with heat dispersion from the muffler.

The wheels comprise forged aluminium spokes with 225/40ZR18 Michelin Pilot Sport Tyres and stopping power is provided by a set of 18-inch ventilated disc brakes and the front, and 16-inch ones at the back.

Toyota will offer an upgrade service for owners of the existing Yaris that will bring its power output to the same level as the facelifted model along with a new emblem that signifies the upgrade, though more details will be provided on this at a later date.

More information on the updated Toyota GR Yaris, including its potential South African launch date and pricing, will be announced “at the appropriate time,” said Toyota South Africa.

2024 Toyota GR Yaris

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