Releasing the sketch you see here, Toyota said it “will use experience gained from [our] full-blooded return to the World Rally Championship to develop and improve its road car technology, and expand the Yaris range with a new performance-focused model.”
The hot Yaris will almost certainly bear the Gazoo name, Toyota recently announcing that all future performance-oriented models will carry the name of its factory race team.
No technical details were revealed, but it is expected the Yaris Gazoo will be powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder, turbocharged engine similar to that in the Yaris WRC. Albeit rather less powerful at around 200 horsepower, the same kind of output as key rivals like the Ford Fiesta ST, Peugeot 208 GTi, and Vauxhall Corsa VXR.
The result should be a 0 to 60 miles per hour time around the 6.5-second mark, and a top speed of 140 mph or so.
The sketch shows the Yaris Gazoo set low and wide, with pumped-up fenders and big wheels. There’s a hint of front splitter and rear diffuser, and a prominent rear wing. Compared with the wild rally car, it’s quite subtle.
It’s interesting to note, too, that the Yaris Gazoo retains a three-door bodyshell at a time when many manufacturers are abandoning the format for their small cars.
The small hot hatch sector is expected to grow considerably in the near future. Beside the Yaris, the Kia Rio GT is expected to be launched sometime soon, and there is speculation that Nissan has a Micra Nismo in development.
Toyota has not indicated when the Yaris Gazoo will make its debut. The Geneva motor show is perhaps the earliest opportunity, following just a few weeks after the Yaris WRC's debut on the Monte Carlo Rally.
Equally, there's no word on the likelihood of the Yaris Gazoo being available in the United States.