Say hi (from afar) to the tur­bocharged Yaris

The Star Early Edition - - NEW MODELS - JESSE ADAMS

HERE’S the good news: Toy­ota will break back into the hot hatch scene with a new Yaris boast­ing at least 157kW of turbo power. But here’s the bad: It won’t be com­ing to South Africa.

Nev­er­the­less, it’s good to know that the Ja­panese brand ac­cused of erring on the side of con­ser­vatism with re­cent mod­els, is will­ing to get spicy again. Not since the RunX RSi of 2003 has Toy­ota made a hatch with more than 100kW (one lo­cally-cre­ated Auris TRD aside), so this is a ballsy move for a com­pany with a huge lineup of vanilla-flavoured cars.

The hot new Yaris, which will be re­vealed at the Geneva Mo­tor Show in March, will al­most cer­tainly in­cor­po­rate some mo­tor rac­ing tech­nolo­gies. Toy­ota united all of its of­fi­cial rac­ing teams un­der one Ga­zoo-la­belled um­brella, and be­sides its LMP1 class Le Mans ef­fort and the South African-based Dakar bakkie squad, it’ll also com­pete in this year’s World Rally Cham­pi­onship with a Yaris WRC. We sus­pect the road-go­ing ver­sion will at least share a 1.6-litre en­gine ca­pac­ity with its roll-caged sib­ling.

The turbo Yaris was in­spired by the WRC ver­sion, with sim­i­lar black, red and white liv­ery. Toy­ota’s not say­ing much else about the car yet, ex­cept that it’ll be launched along­side the rest of a re­vised Yaris range - which will be headed our way later this year.

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