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Toyota will seek to rival the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST with a WRC-inspired, high-performance Yaris road car, according to an announcement by the Japanese company.
Back in October, we told you how Toyota’s WRC return could spawn a hot hatch in the form of a rally-inspired Yaris production car. Now it seems that those rumours could bear fruit after all, with Toyota announcing plans to build a hot hatch to boost its sporting pedigree, which will feature alongside the firm’s second-generation 86.
The road-ready, hot Yaris is expected to be badged Toyota Yaris Gazoo, after the company’s motorsport arm. And while details at present are sketchy at best, if it’s anything like its motorsport cousin – which packs a 375-horsepower punch and boasts 314lb ft of torque – it’s an exciting prospect indeed.
However, the hot hatch will likely have a more modest, Ford Fiesta ST-rivalling output of around 200-horsepower and more than 200lb ft of torque.
Like its rally sibling, the road-going Yaris will almost certainly feature a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, capable of 0-62mph dash speeds of between 6.5sec and 7.0sec.
While much of its specifications remain a tight-lipped secret, the sketch released by Toyota of the hot hatch (at the top of this post) shows how closely it will take its design cues from the WRC car (shown below).
It is also expected that the Yaris will help Toyota’s Gazoo performance moniker grow going forward, helping it to become the Japanese firm’s in-house performance sub-brand; a bit like BMW’s M division and Mercedes’ AMG. Right now, Toyota only sells road cars tuned by Gazoo in Japan.
Unfortunately, though, the performance-oriented Yaris will not be sold in Australia, with the company’s Australian division, Toyota Australia, stating that there are no plans to sell the Yaris on Australian soil. Whether that will change in the future is anyone’s guess, but we’re not holding our breath.