For all of the hype surrounding the Toyota GR Yaris hatchback and its rally-inspired all-wheel-drive powertrain, the only thing that matters is how effective all that fancy tech is at the limits of high-speed grip. Like perhaps when a giant moose crosses the road in front of you.
Hitting a moose in such a tiny car would be bad news for moose and driver, duh, so how agile is the new GR Yaris when it matters? In a moose test, or dodge test, set up by KM77.com and published on YouTube, the GR Yaris showed off tight, flat handling, but ultimately “did not complete it satisfactorily” on the first go-round where the driver was still unfamiliar with the car.
The car hit multiple cones on its first test, swinging far right in the initial turn of the manoeuvre. Later tests managed to successfully pull off the dodge manoeuvre without hitting any cones. The video claims the test demonstrated that “smoother” driver input limited the car from snapping in the turns like in earlier tests with harsher driver reactions. That “snap” is attributable to the car’s short, quick body roll and limited tire slip from an impressive amount of grip, which does help the Yaris change direction quickly.
The successful test was conducted at just under 80 km/h, which is comparable to other, lower-performance vehicles with less suspension trickery you would assume could help the GR Yaris outperform in a moose test. The testers noted the hatchback’s ability to carry speed through the testing, though, and that there was an apparent lack of intrusive electronic stability control input. Apparently, this car is all suspension and tire where it counts, so that’s nice. By comparison, the video makes the slalom testing seem like a delight.
The 2020 GR Yaris is powered by a three-cylinder engine dumping 200 kilowatts and 370 Nm through a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system. It gets a six-speed manual transmission, weighs just 1,280 kg, and sounds too good to be true because, of course, it isn’t on sale in the U.S. Instead, Americans are allegedly getting some other hatchback from Toyota in the future, instead. Maybe Toyota will improve the moose test results by then. Do it for the moose.