Motor (Australia)

NO QUARTER GIVEN?

GR Yaris Rallye dips out of the garage with a trip to the strip

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PERFORMANC­E TESTING A manual, all-wheel drive car is not an exercise for those with any semblance of mechanical sympathy. It is, not to put too fine a point on it, utterly brutal. Watching ‘my’ GR Yaris Rallye being figured at Heathcote was especially nerve-shredding as if something fundamenta­l goes bang while you’re driving the car, then that awkward call to the press office is somehow that little bit easier.

Revs rise, the car squirts off the line with a skerrick of wheelspin and is then flat-shifted into second, all four Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres again briefly chirping in protest. As the Yaris disappears into the heat haze, there’s another blatted upshift and, unbelievab­ly, it momentaril­y breaks traction shifting into third at 98km/h. That’s a bit of an issue for a really quick 0-100km/h time, and means that the Yaris is a car that, in real terms, is a good deal quicker than its published 5.2sec sprint to 100km/h might suggest.

After some experiment­ation, it seems that Sport mode, with its 30:70 front-to-rear torque distributi­on nets the best results, with ESC switched all the way out. Interestin­gly, for the best 0-100 time, it’s advantageo­us to just run the Yaris to the top of second and not dip the clutch to snick third, letting its momentum and the limiter carry you through 100km/h. The best run of the day sees the Yaris snag a 5.14sec 0-100km/h time, a vanishing 0.06sec better than the factory claim, with 400m taking 13.19sec at 169.76km/h. Just out of interest, that translates to a 4.89sec 0-60mph time, with no rollout. With a US-spec one foot rollout, that time would be 4.69sec. That’s about BMW E46 M3 pace. Not bad for a car with half the swept capacity and half the cylinder count.

I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the fuel economy

figure of 8.4L/100km too. Yes, the Yaris does do a fair bit of lowdemand schlepping to and from work, but that’s been interspers­ed with a number of track-based features, not to mention earlymorni­ng dirt-road blats that have the local farmers thinking that Didier Auriol might have taken a liking to Cardinia Shire and moved in down the road.

I’d still like the seating position to be lower though. It’s pretty hard to rectify this issue, as much of the assembly beneath the seat is welded and there are bulky hardpoints on the floor of the body-in-white, so the most obvious option is to ditch the slider assemblies. A seat lowering kit from Suspension Secrets allows the standard seat to be dropped by 35mm, which means the centre of gravity is lowered, you’ll feel more connected to the road and, importantl­y, taller drivers won’t have so much of their view up the road obscured by the rear view mirror. It does mean that the seat is bolted in place fore/aft but, with a bit of spannering, adjustment is possible and all of the seat’s other electrical functions are unaffected. It’d be one of the first things I’d do if I were buying a Rallye.

During its sojourn at the testing strip, the Yaris picked up a seemingly inexplicab­le bit of damage to one its forged BBS alloys, a shiny thunk into the rim of the nearside front. These wheels are exotic and light, made by compressin­g a billet of aluminium alloy into shape under 8000 tonnes of pressure at a temperatur­e of 400 degrees, but keep an eye out for any potholes as it seems that even innocuous impacts can put a ding in a rim. Sorry, Toyota.

We’re certainly going to miss

THE GR YARIS RALLYE IS TOUGH, IT’S QUICK, IT’S FULL OF CHARACTER AND IT’S RELENTLESS­LY ENDEARING

the GR Yaris Rallye. It’s one of those hatches that punches way above its weight. This long term test also realises a big measure of redemption for the Yaris. After the ‘standard’ GR’s 8th place showing at this year’s Performanc­e Car of the Year event, we expected more from the Rallye version and it’s fair to say we got exactly what we wanted. Yes, it is expensive for such a small car, but there’s something exotic and unique about the Rallye that justifies the outlay in a way that escapes many more expensive rivals.

If ever a car had modern classic status pre-ordained, it’s this. In a digital world, it’s a refreshing­ly analogue experience that delivers on many levels. It’s not perfect, but it’s tough, it’s quick, it’s full of character and it’s relentless­ly endearing. For once, the hype is entirely justified. AE

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 ?? ?? TOYOTA GR YARIS RALLYE
TOYOTA GR YARIS RALLYE
 ?? ?? BELOW LEFT 8.8kg forged alloys are different to the 11.6kg cast items on the non-Rallye
BELOW RIGHT Few cars leap out of the blocks as sharply as the Yaris
BOTTOM RIGHT Expert mode retains some stability control input
BELOW LEFT 8.8kg forged alloys are different to the 11.6kg cast items on the non-Rallye BELOW RIGHT Few cars leap out of the blocks as sharply as the Yaris BOTTOM RIGHT Expert mode retains some stability control input
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Not home turf for the Rallye but it excels on the strip if given the treatment
ABOVE Not home turf for the Rallye but it excels on the strip if given the treatment

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