THE MUCH-ANTICIPATED hot hatch from Toyota has been officially launched here in the Philippines. “Born from the World Rally Championships and Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda’s passion to develop the Toyota sports car, the GR Yaris is built from the ground up to surpass standards in building ever-better cars,” said Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP).

The GR (Gazoo Racing) prefix denotes increased performance, as Toyota Gazoo Racing is the brand’s “performance development arm specializing in motorsports and development of ever-better cars, (combining) motorsports technology and design to develop the GR Yaris as a pure performance vehicle and a heart-racing daily driver.”

Toyota said that while regular motorsports cars are built from normal road production vehicles, the GR Yaris is the reverse — built primarily as a motorsports vehicle, then engineered as a road vehicle. Its G16E-GTS three-cylinder inline DOHC four-valve roller rocker engine, hailed as the “world’s best” inline three, is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Power is coursed to the car’s unique GR-Four four-wheel drive system that “makes the GR Yaris competitive and rally-ready in any condition.” Standard on the Philippine-spec GR Yaris is the High Performance/Circuit Package.

It gets a light but sturdy carbon fiber roof, 18-inch BBS forged alloys, three-tier LED headlamps with daytime running lights, and LED rear combination lamps to match the strong front profile. The GR Yaris also features smart entry and a push start system, and its seats are wrapped in suede and synthetic leather seats. Normal, Sport, and Track drive modes are available, and its audio system gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

In aid of safety, Toyota fits the GR Yaris with driver-assistive Toyota Safety Sense features (pre-collision system, automatic high beam, lane trace assist, adaptive cruise control). These are in addition to six SRS air bags, anti-lock brakes, vehicle stability control, and hill-start assist control. Its front and rear Torsen limited slip differential provides increased traction and improved stability for the vehicle.

The GR Yaris is priced at P2.65 million for the 1.6L Turbo MT variant, which comes in three colors: Super White II, Emotional Red, and Precious Black. It will be available in Toyota’s 16 GR Performance dealers nationwide starting Aug. 14. For more information, check out TMP’s official pages — Toyota Motor Philippines and Toyota Gazoo Racing PH on Facebook and Instagram, official website, and Twitter.