Toyota Yaris GRMN – Gazoo Racing turns Toyota tot into a bit of an animal - Ride and Handling

Bespoke supermini isn’t cheap (and is sold out), but it delivers raw and undiluted thrills that are missing from many in the class.

Evo rating
  • Strong performance, revvy engine, snappy transmission, agile handling
  • Price, it’s sold out, poor driving position, cheap interior

Ride and Handling

In normal driving the GRMN is surprisingly undemanding, with a ride that, while possessing an underlying firmness, is far from uncomfortable. There is perhaps a fraction more weight to the steering, but there’s still a slightly artificial manner to the way it self-centres and, in fact, during those first few degrees of lock when you turn into a corner. It’s a glassy, remote kind of sensation, which on cold, wintry roads makes it easy to over-commit on the amount of steering lock required, and therefore overload the front tyres, which clearly don’t have the outright grip of the Michelin Supersports used by the Peugeot 208 GTi. Nevertheless, get through this phase and it’s clear that the nose does stick, and the Yaris GRMN can be thrown down a road with manic enthusiasm, revs flaring, nose gently torque-steering under power but never requiring a firm hand, and all at very high speed. 

The GRMN engineers have consciously settled on a chassis tune that’s playful, but also one that strikes a fine balance between interaction, adjustability and confidence-breeding stability. It’s appreciably less tail happy than the 208, but no worse for it. 

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Perhaps the only real criticism is that the Yaris seems to quickly run out of suspension travel, which is no doubt down to the many limitations of the standard car. It never gets unruly and there’s just enough control at the very limit of compression, but it can sap a little confidence when really attacking a bumpy section of road. A 208 GTi is more controlled in similar conditions, but this poise comes at the expense of some communication at more realistic everyday speeds.

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