Yes, Toyota put a continuously variable transmission in the GR Yaris.
The GR Yaris was by far the biggest star at the Tokyo Auto Salon earlier this month, eclipsing even the many modded Supra A90s that were on display at Japan’s equivalent of SEMA. It has now come to our attention it wasn’t the only hot version of the supermini that Toyota showcased as there was another derivative carrying the same name but of an entirely different nature.
Ditching the six-speed manual gearbox of the regular GR Yaris, the CVT concept featured in the adjacent video had – yes, you’ve guessed it – a continuously variable transmission. Although the car may look just about the same as the standard model, it went through one other big change. The three-cylinder 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline engine was dropped in favor of a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter mill. The swap means a massive power drop from 257 hp and 360 Nm (266 lb-ft) to just 118 hp and 145 Nm (107 lb-ft), according to Cars Guide.
One other crucial change is the lack of a four-wheel-drive system, with the concept car’s CVT sending power to the front axle. Performance figures are not available at the moment of writing, but you can imagine the GR Yaris CVT can’t hold a candle to the rally-inspired hot hatch. Not all of the interesting hardware was lost as the showcar does have the aggressive three-door bodywork made from aluminum and carbon fiber polymer to keep the weight low. At the back, it carries over the double-wishbone suspension.
It remains to be seen whether Toyota actually has plans to launch a CVT-equipped GR Yaris. It would make more sense to sell the subcompact hatchback under the entry-level GR Sport trim since it’s far less exciting than the GR Yaris. As far as a hotter GRMN version, the company has already hinted it might just happen further down the line by adding power and reducing weight.