The Toyota Yaris will get a hot hatch variant to take on the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTI.
The Japanese automaker will be competing in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2017 with a heavily modified Yaris that will eventually spawn a road-going hot hatch. Currently in Japan, Toyota offers the Yaris with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine providing 150 horsepower and 152 pound-feet of torque, but the new model would be more powerful than that in order to be a hot hatch. Expect it to also get more aggressive styling, but best of all, the company wants it to be a global model which means it will likely head to the U.S.
According to Tetsuya Tada, Toyota’s chief engineer for sports vehicle management, CEO Akio Toyoda is making rally racing a priority as well as creating an exciting hot hatch. In order for the Yaris to be competitive in the marketplace however, it will need at least 190 hp, although by 2017 over 200 will be a more likely mark. For now, the automaker has set the Fiesta ST as the benchmark to beat. Unfortunately, one thing that likely not be on the hot Yaris variant will be all-wheel drive. Then again, if the Ford Focus RS proves to be quite popular, Toyota might want to reconsider what its benchmark truly is.