2018 Toyota Yaris GRMN first drive: Wicked fun - forget the price

Gazoo. What a great word, and one that we’ve had reason to think about thanks to this raucous little hatchback.

Meet the Toyota Yaris GRMN, so titled because it’s created in partnership with Toyota’s motorsport arm – Gazoo Racing – and was tuned by the ‘Meister of the Nurburgring’. Hence GRMN.

But while calling it the 'Yaris Gazoo' was clearly just too easy, or perhaps unwise for global application, we’ll forgive it the cumbersome title because this fizzy Yaris has the makings to be truly awesome. 

2018 Toyota Yaris GRMN
2018 Toyota Yaris GRMN

First impressions

The standard Yaris platform is stiffened, lowered and heavily tweaked with braces to the front struts and chassis, Sachs dampers, a mechanical limited-slip differential, quickened steering, and a perky 1.8-litre supercharged motor putting out 209bhp and 184lb ft to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. Notably, at 1135kg it’s about the lightest car in its class and punches in at 184bhp per tonne. 

So this is no shallow style statement; the GRMN really does mean business, if only in very limited numbers. 600 will be made globally, with only 80 making it to the UK – and those will cost £26k. Ouch. For all its exclusivity, that still makes it as much a rival for a Hyundai i30N or VW Golf GTI as it is for smaller, equally potent rivals like the VW Polo GTI

2018 Toyota Yaris GRMN
2018 Toyota Yaris GRMN
2018 Toyota Yaris GRMN
2018 Toyota Yaris GRMN
2018 Toyota Yaris GRMN

It needs to be good then, even with the rarity factor to boost its appeal. With that in mind, the interior might leave you a bit, well, whelmed. The dash is mostly an uninspiring flat grey, b...