The 2024 Toyota GR Yaris is better (and badder) than before

Jay Tee

Toyota’s new GR Yaris rocket is harder, better and faster than before with a slew of upgrades and a new automatic transmission


Toyota has pulled the covers off the evolved version of their rally-bred and immeasurably fun GR Yaris hatch. The GR Yaris was initially developed as a homologation special with just 25,000 cars slated to be made, in accordance with WRC regulations. However, the brand has stated that more will be made if the demand is there.

Understandably, the demand for Toyota’s pocket rocket remains strong to this day. Here in Singapore, local Toyota AD Borneo Motors only brought in 22 units of the GR Yaris, all of which were sold out even before the car appeared on showroom floors. 

Given the worldwide popularity of the GR Yaris – except in North America, it was almost a certainty that Toyota would produce more units. However, the strong demand necessitated the need for some minor upgrades to the existing car.

Under the hood, the buzzy 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbo has been revised with uprated internals from the GR Corolla so it now produces 280hp/390Nm. But new for the evolved GR Yaris is the choice between the existing 6-speed manual or a newly developed close ratio 8-speed automatic gearbox.

Increased power and new gearbox option aside, the evolved GR Yaris looks nearly identical to that of the existing car. But based on customer feedback and Morizo’s (pseudonym of Toyota head honcho Akio Toyoda) own pursuits on the track, several changes have been made to the car’s exterior bodywork.

The mesh grilles on the front and rear bumper are now metal, but elements of the front bumper are segmented so damaged segments can be replaced individually, as opposed to switching out the entire front bumper. The rear section now includes a continuous light bar that spans the width of the tailgate and the rear bumper now sees a revised diffuser design. The rims and brakes have been carried over from the previous car.

The more radical changes are on the interior, where Toyota has fitted an entirely new housing for the instrument binnacle and infotainment screen. The infotainment screen, HVAC panel and air-con vents are now canted toward the driver in a new housing, evocative of eighties hatchbacks or rally cars. The analog gauges have now been replaced by a digital instrument panel, similar to that of the GR86.

The driver’s seat has also been lowered 25mm while the steering column has been tweaked to provide better ergonomics and the rearview mirror is mounted higher toward the headliner for improved visibility through the windshield. 

Along with the ergonomic changes, Toyota will reportedly offer a new factory-installed vertical handbrake courtesy of the brand’s learnings from their involvement in the Japanese Rally Championship. However, the latter option is only available as part of a competition-oriented RC trim level.

Toyota will open the order books for the evolved GR Yaris in spring 2024 for the European and Japanese markets. No word yet on the new GR Yaris’ availability, but we sure as hell hope it’ll make it here – and in larger quantities this time.


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About the Author

Jay Tee

A millennial with the mental age of a quadragenarian, CarBuyer's latest stringer writes and talks about anything with four wheels and a motor. Doesn't fully get TikTok, makes TikToks anyway. Moonlights for TopGear Singapore. Follow him on Instagram (and TikTok) at @jayyteejy

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