Review - 2021 Toyota GR Yaris

By Alexi Falson on 19 May 2021
image for Review - 2021 Toyota GR Yaris Not too long ago, the words ‘Toyota’ and ‘Yaris’ would get very few motoring enthusiasts excited. Now, though, in 2021, the Toyota Yaris has cemented itself as an exciting offering for performance enthusiasts with the introduction of the GR Yaris just a year ago.

At its core, the Yaris remains a small, somewhat practical offering to the hatchback market. That was, at least, up until the point Gazoo Racing (GR) got its hands on it, and created a one-of-a-kind hot hatch that has continued to impress the automotive world.

It’s not all roses, though. The 2021 GR Yaris has received a notable price increase, meaning that it has broken into a new price category, and needs to perform exceptionally to be classed as a logical purchase for your next hot-hatch.

Does it? Let’s find out.

Starting Price: $49,500

OnlineAuto Savings: $1,931

Toyota GR Yaris Specifications

Model Date 2021
Series GXPA16R
Variant GR
Transmission 6 SP MANUAL
Drive AWD
Engine TMPFI
Engine capacity 1618
Engine configuration DUAL OVERHEAD CAM / 12 valves
Engine RPM 6500 / 3000
Cylinders T3
Torque 370
KW 200
Fuel tank size 50.0
Fuel usage specs 7.6 / 0.0
CO2 172
ANCAP security rating 5

For more details and other variants, check Toyota GR Yaris car page.

How Much Does It Cost?

Last year’s 2020 GR Yaris was priced from $39,950, with Toyota’s cut-price introductory offers for the hot-hatch. Now, though, the 2021 Toyota GR Yaris is priced from $49,500 before on-road costs, with the special edition GR Yaris Rallye kicking off at $54,500 with a limited-run introductory price offer.

How Much Can OnlineAuto Save You?

Using OnlineAuto’s car buying service, you could save an average $1,931 by sourcing one of our car buying agents to help you find the best value model for you.

What Features Does the Toyota Yaris GR Have?

The 2021 Toyota Yaris GR comes packed with LED head and tail lights, 18-inch Enkei forged alloy rims, a 7.0-inch multimedia unit with voice recognition, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, satellite navigation, eight-speaker JBL sound system, adaptive cruise control, AWD system, dual exhaust pipes, dual-zone climate control, head-up display, keyless entry and start, as well as heated sport seats, leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, lashings of leather and suede across the interior.

Interestingly, the GR Yaris comes fitted with a carbon fibre roof, and aluminium doors, boot and bonnet to keep the overall weight of the car as low as possible. Features like these are typically reserved for vehicles well above this price range.

Range Features:

  • 18-inch Enkei Forged Alloy Rims
  • LED Head and Tail Lights
  • 7.0-inch Multimedia Unit with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
  • Heated Sport Seats & Steering Wheel
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Sports-focussed AWD system

Toyota GR Yaris Colours

Glacier White Feverish Red
Tarmac Black

Is it Fun to Drive?

In terms of driving ability, the GR Yaris really goes to prove the age-old cliche that good things come in small packages. First impressions of the engine will leave few disappointed, especially considering this is the world’s most powerful three-cylinder engine currently available on the market. It’s powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre unit pushing out 200kW and 370Nm of torque, meaning that it not only matches the power figures of some of its pint-sized competitors, it leaves them in the dust.

To match the power upgrades, Gazoo Racing has used all types of wizardry across the chassis and suspension to ensure that the GR Yaris moves through the bends as viciously as it accelerates; and the results are awesome. These tweaks, combined with the GR Yaris’ sports all-wheel drive system means that it can handle pretty much everything you can throw at it. Normal mode splits the power 60-40 to the front wheels, while sports mode throws 70% of the power to the rear, and track mode keeps the power at a perfect 50-50 split.

All up, the GR Yaris is perhaps the definitive hot-hatch for its class, and even takes the fight to much more expensive competitors. Keep in mind, though, that all this performance does come at the expensive of everyday driving, where the suspension may prove too firm for your liking.

Is it Practical and Spacious?

The GR Yaris is somewhat limited when it comes to practicality due to its pint-sized proportions. It’s packaged as a four-seater, with limited space for grown adults in the rear, although they are reasonable for shorter journeys. Up front, there’s a number of cubby holes for loose items, but no cup holders in the rear of the cabin, unfortunately. In terms of boot capacity, the Yaris GR offers 141L, and 737L with the rear-seats folded down. Let’s be honest for a minute, though: if you’re in the market for this car, practicality - quite rightly - is unlikely to be atop your list of priorities. 

Is it Safe?

The GR Yaris is yet to undergo its official ANCAP Safety test, however, the standard Yaris has received a five-star ANCAP Safety Rating. To sweeten the deal, Toyota is also throwing in a heap of safety equipment as standard, including adaptive cruise control, automatic lights, autonomous emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, and road sign recognition.

Is it Fuel Efficient?

In spite of its massive power figures, Toyota has managed to create an engine that manages to be relatively fuel efficient while maximising all the fun. The official economy rating stands at 7.6L per 100km, which, technically for this category isn’t class-leading; but numbers can be misleading. Those competitors don’t come close in terms of power figures, so the GR Yaris can be forgiven for sipping fuel a little more than its rivals. Real-world consumption will likely see this number jump to around 9L per 100km.

Our Verdict: Is the GR Yaris Worth it?

As a complete package, the GR Yaris is a surprisingly brilliant and undeniably unique offering. It took the automotive world by surprise, and will likely leave you just as surprised when you mash the throttle for the first time. Even with the price-hike factored in, the GR Yaris really goes to prove that great things fit into small packages.

If you’re in the market for a hot-hatch to brighten up your weekly commute, or set your hair on fire on a weekend drive, look no further than the 2021 GR Yaris. If you ask us, you should get yourself in one before the next jump in price; these things are going to prove a cult-classic. On that note, get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your GR Yaris; or give us a call on 1300 719 925

Five Specs You Need to Know

  1. World’s most powerful 3-cylinder engine (200kW/370Nm)
  2. 18-inch forged alloy wheels
  3. Carbon fibre roof
  4. Aluminum bonnet, doors & tailgate
  5. 7.6L per 100km economy (claimed)


  • Astonishing engine
  • Remarkable handling performance
  • Aluminium and carbon fibre panels


  • Extremely firm ride quality for commuting
  • Limited space for rear occupants and boot
  • Getting more expensive with popularity

OnlineAuto Rating: 9.5/10

Toyota GR Yaris Competition

Toyota GR Yaris

Ford Fiesta
Hyundai i20
Toyota Yaris
Suzuki Swift
Honda Civic


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

Have any questions? Call us on 1300 719 925

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