GR Yaris

Lexus telah membuat kenyataan di Tokyo Auto Salon 2024 dengan konsep LBX Morizo RR. Konsep inovatif ini menggabungkan enjin tiga silinder yang bertenaga dari GR Yaris dan GR Corolla ke dalam crossover premium, mempersembahkan varian lebih mewah dari Yaris Cross. Menjauh dari jangkaan konvensional, LBX Morizo RR memuatkan enjin G16E-GTS berkuasa turbo 1.6 liter, memberikan tenaga mengagumkan sebanyak 300hp dan tork sebanyak 399Nm.

Berdasarkan kepada GR Corolla Morizo Edition, kuasa pemanduan dari enjin tiga silinder ini menjanjikan pengalaman pemanduan yang seronok, menantang persepsi konvensional mengenai prestasi crossover. Berbeza dengan kotak gear manual enam kelajuan eksklusif GR Corolla, LBX Morizo RR dilengkapi dengan transmisi automatik lapan kelajuan yang baharu, menyalurkan kuasa enjin secara cekap ke semua empat roda.

Diberi nama mengikut pengerusi Toyota, Akio Toyoda, yang nama panggilannya ialah Morizo, LBX Morizo RR lebih rendah dengan susunan suspensi yang lebih keras, memberikan kehadiran yang lebih dinamik di jalan raya. Tubuh yang dipertingkatkan menampung tayar 19 inci yang dibalut dengan tayar 235/45 R19, menyumbang kepada cengkaman dan kestabilan yang lebih baik.

Menambah sentuhan berbeza, aksen kuning di sepanjang konsep ini merupakan penghormatan kepada warna tandatangan Akio Toyoda. Petunjuk visual, yang digabungkan dengan suspensi hadapan jenis MacPherson, bahagian belakang jenis double-wishbone, dan disc brakes di keempat-empat penjuru, menekankan reka bentuk yang menunjukkan prestasi.

Walaupun konsep LBX Morizo RR tidak menjamin model pengeluaran, ia berfungsi sebagai persembahan menarik kebolehan Lexus untuk menyuntik semangat prestasi tinggi ke dalam crossover. Konsep ini mencabar persepsi konvensional mengenai crossover mewah, memberi petanda tentang potensi penambahan yang mendebarkan dan dinamik kepada barisan produk Lexus. Sementara peminat automotif menantikan maklumat lanjut, LBX Morizo RR berdiri sebagai bukti komitmen jenama untuk menerobos batasan dan menentukan semula jangkaan dalam usaha mencapai pengalaman memandu yang menyeronokkan.

Lexus has turned heads at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon by showcasing the LBX Morizo RR concept, a bold move that integrates the potent three-cylinder engine from the GR Yaris and GR Corolla into a premium crossover. Launched as a more upscale variant of the Yaris Cross, the LBX Morizo RR breaks free from conventional expectations by housing a turbocharged 1.6-litre G16E-GTS engine under its hood.

What makes this concept truly exciting is its power output – a robust 300hp and 399Nm of torque. This inline-three powertrain, derived from the GR Corolla Morizo Edition, promises an exhilarating driving experience, challenging the perception of what a crossover can deliver in terms of performance.

Unlike the GR Corolla, which exclusively offers a six-speed manual gearbox, the LBX Morizo RR takes a different approach with a newly developed eight-speed automatic transmission. This torque-converter ‘box, making its debut in the 2024 GR Yaris, efficiently channels the engine’s prowess to all four wheels of this compact yet powerful crossover.

Named after Toyota’s chairman, Akio Toyoda, whose nickname is Morizo, the LBX Morizo RR adopts a lower stance with a stiffer suspension setup, giving it a more dynamic presence on the road. The widened body accommodates 19-inch wheels wrapped in 235/45 R19 tyres, contributing to improved grip and stability.

A distinctive touch in homage to Akio Toyoda is the inclusion of yellow accents throughout the concept, reflecting his signature color. The visual cues, coupled with a MacPherson strut front suspension, double-wishbone rear, and disc brakes on all corners, underscore the concept’s performance-oriented design.

While the LBX Morizo RR concept doesn’t guarantee a production model, it serves as a compelling showcase of what Lexus can achieve by infusing a high-performance spirit into a crossover. The concept challenges the conventional perception of luxury crossovers, hinting at the potential for a thrilling and dynamic addition to Lexus’s lineup. As automotive enthusiasts eagerly await further details, the LBX Morizo RR stands as a testament to the brand’s commitment to pushing boundaries and redefining expectations in the pursuit of driving excitement.

Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) has revealed the evolved version of its iconic GR Yaris, reinforcing its commitment to the continuous improvement of motorsports-bred cars. The GR Yaris, symbolic of TGR’s dedication to excellence, has undergone rigorous testing and competition evolution since its launch in September 2020.

Central to this evolution is the introduction of a newly developed 8-speed GAZOO Racing Direct Automatic Transmission. This transmission, honed through motorsports testing and diverse road conditions, boasts optimised software for sporty driving, achieving world-class gear-shifting speeds and close-ratio gears for optimal power band utilisation. The RZ “High performance” trim is equipped with a Torsen LSD for enhanced driving force control.

The engine performance sees an increase in output from 272PS to 304PS and torque from 370Nm to 400Nm.

In terms of cockpit design, the control panel and display have been tilted 15 degrees towards the driver for improved visibility and operability. The driving posture has been enhanced, forward visibility expanded, and the shift lever position optimised. A 12.3-inch full-colour TFT gauge display, inspired by professional race drivers, offers crucial vehicle information.

The exterior design incorporates motorsports input with features like an upgraded lower grille, larger side lower grilles for improved cooling, and a rear lower garnish with an opening to reduce aerodynamic drag.

Chassis and body reinforcements include an increased number of bolts fastening the body to shock absorbers and additional spot welding points, resulting in improved handling stability. A “Cooling Package” enhances cooling performance with options like a sub-radiator, cool air intake, and intercooler sprayer.

The GR Yaris also introduces a standard drive mode selection function for both sporty and everyday driving. The optional vertical parking brake, influenced by motorsports, enhances operational efficiency in competitions. TGR plans to offer an upgrade service for the GRMN Yaris, incorporating lessons from the evolved GR Yaris and motorsports participation.

The GR Yaris RZ “High performance・Sébastien Ogier Edition” and GR Yaris RZ “High performance・Kalle Rovanperä Edition” concept models are set for sales launch, to be unveiled at Rallye Monte Carlo, marking the first round of the FIA World Rally Championship. TGR’s commitment to making ever-better motorsports-bred cars remains an ongoing pursuit, ensuring the GR Yaris continues to evolve through competition and driver feedback.

Frenchman Sebastien Ogier collected yet another victory – his ninth – at Rallye Monte-Carlo, the opening round of the 2023 World Rally Championship which ended today. Driving for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in selected events with co-driver Vincent Landais, Ogier powered the GR Yaris Hybrid on the twisty roads in the French Alps from start to finish.

His ninth victory makes him the driver with the most Monte Carlo wins. It joins 55 other WRC wins over 3 decades, during which time he has been with the Citroen Junior Team, Citroen, Volkswagen Motorsport, M-Sport Ford and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing teams. With 8 WRC titles, he has won twice as many championships as third-ranked Juha Kankkunen, and is just one short of Sebastien Loeb.


A few car companies have CEOs or Presidents who are ‘car guys’ and who even go racing sometimes but none probably is as passionate about motorsports as Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation. Since becoming President in 2009, the grandson of the company’s founder has been transforming the world’s leading automaker to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Perhaps having started driving in the era of the Japanese auto industry when there were affordable sportscars, Toyoda also came to be a car enthusiast, notwithstanding the fact that his family owned the No.1 carmaker in Japan. And being of the younger generation, he had greater exposure out of Japan where he also had a chance to go racing (although he wanted to be a taxi driver at one time), which he enjoyed greatly to the extent that he created a nickname to use when racing – ‘Morizo Kinoshita’ – in the 2009 Nurburgring 24 -Hour race. Perhaps he wanted to avoid undue attention, being who he is, or maybe he didn’t want his parents to know…

Besides racing and being directly involved in product development, especially of the high-performance GR models, Akio Toyoda has also tried to attract more of the younger generation to have an interest in cars.

When he became President, Toyoda started off promising that Toyota would make cars ‘Fun to Drive, Again’, reviving a tagline used in the 1980s. He gave TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) greater responsibility to not only manage Toyota and Lexus motorsports activities but also to develop products for the new GR high-performance brand.

2022 Toyota GRMN Yaris

Since then, enthusiasts around the world have been treated to a number of impressive sportscars and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing itself has also risen in prominence. Notable models like the GR Supra and GR Yaris have made big news wherever they have been launched and today, at the at Tokyo Auto Salon 2022, TGR has unveiled another mouth-watering hot hatch – the GRMN Yaris.

2022 Toyota GRMN Yaris

The ‘MN’ in ‘GRMN’ stands for ‘Meister of Nurburgring’, which is a way of paying tribute to TGR’s test drivers who have developed the products on the legendary German circuit. These would include Hiromu Naruse, the company’s chief test driver and head of GAZOO Racing who died in a crash in Germany in 2010. Naruse was Toyoda’s mentor in racing and whom Toyoda was asked to replace as ‘Master Driver’ of Toyota and Lexus.

2020 Toyota GR Yaris
The GR Yaris has been sold in Malaysia as well and like in other countries, the limited number of units found customers very quickly.

Since its launch in September 2020, the GR Yaris has been involved in various motorsports such as the Super Taikyu Series where the Toyota President himself (65 years old this year) got behind the wheel as Morizo and participated with ROOKIE Racing, and the Japanese Rally Championship, where it won the season championship.

Having been closely involved in the development of the GR Yaris, Toyoda wanted to ‘deliver cars to customers that evolve quickly and can be tailored to individuals in the field of motorsports’. Using lessons learned from motorsports activities, the body rigidity of the GR Yaris has been enhanced. The number of spot welds has increased compared to the GR Yaris, and body rigidity has been further enhanced by applying longer structural adhesive.

2022 Toyota GRMN Yaris

2022 Toyota GRMN Yaris

2022 Toyota GRMN Yaris

2022 Toyota GRMN Yaris

The GRMN Yaris is also wider by 10 mm, this increase said to be for improving aerodynamics, while the height has been lowered by 10 mm for a lower centre of gravity. In addition to the lightweight high-rigidity carbonfibre (twill weave CFRP) used for the bonnet, roof, and rear spoiler, removing the rear seats to make it a two-person car has achieved weight reduction of approximately 20 kgs.

2022 Toyota GRMN Yaris

The engineers also installed a mechanical LSD, a close-ratio gear transmission, and a low final gear set, which has been improved through repeated ‘breaking and fixing’. Issues under extreme use conditions were identified through driver feedback and quickly resolved. Thus the GR Yaris has evolved into a car that can be driven faster, with improved braking force, grip, cornering and following performance to give the driver more confidence pushing it hard.

Power to all 4 wheels will still come from the 1.6-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder unit already used in the GR Yaris but with higher output. As it is, the G16E-GTS engine produces 261 bhp/360 Nm, making it the world’s most powerful 3-cylinder engine and the lightest and smallest 1.6-litre turbo unit currently in production.

Only 500 units of the GRMN Yaris will be available with sales in mid-2022, only at GR Garages around Japan. Customers will be able to specify a Circuit or Rally package to suit their requirements. Each customer will get a Personalisation program that provides individually tailored customization conducted by analyzing driving data. Steering control, engine control, and drive distribution, hardware including shock absorber damping force, spring rate and aerodynamic components will then be optimized for the best performance with the specific driver.

Expecting the 500 units to be snapped up quickly, TGR is having a lottery for those who are interesting in booking the GRMN Yaris. The basic GRMN Yaris will cost 7,317,000 yen (about RM269,000) while the Circuit package will add another 1,150,000 yen (about RM42,300) and the Rally package will cost an extra 1,061,764 yen (about RM39,000).

2022 Toyota GRMN Yaris

The story behind TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and why it was created

I would be lying if I said I was not excited about driving the GR Yaris.

“You go la bro, do a written and video review of the drive experience,” said Chips in our Piston/BikesRepublic/MotoMalaya Whatsapp group chat.

I saved the formalities, thanked Chips and dove right in. There was no, “are you sure, bro?”

I love my colleagues, but I love the cars more. There was no way was I going to say no to driving what is arguably the 10 most interesting drivers cars of the past decade. Or maybe 20.

The invite said to be there by 8, the sheer excitement woke me up by 530. I got there by 820. Traffic was bad.

After all the formalities, hellos and a quick breakfast, there it was, the car that had dominated the news for a while, and was deemed as the most exciting hot hatch in a while, and I was unimpressed. I found myself thinking, “damn, it is rather small and unassuming.”

It really is small. Tiny almost. Almost the size of a Mini Cooper 3-door. But wider. Which is not a bad thing. Some of the greatest cars are all short, wide and low. That’s the basics of a great hot hatch. Think Renault Clio V6.

But sit inside and it feels comfortable, with an almost family sort of friendliness to it; the type that feels like you could drive it all day and then some.

And despite all that, there was an aura in the air inside the GR Yaris that set the purpose straight. Telling whoever it is that sits in it that it was something special. This was not a regular Toyota and you could feel it.

Perhaps it was the data logger lookalike head unit that dominated the central dashboard. Or perhaps it was the very obvious focus of the 6-speed manual with an aluminium shifter. Or perhaps it was the plastic laminated sticker that read out the car’s purpose in life – ‘Developed For FIA World Rally Championship’. But the biggest giveaway to the purpose of this Yaris was in its name – Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris.

“I sat in one of those things,” says my cousin Miki the day after my drive at Sepang.

I drove the Yaris from London to Cardiff, and it was horrid,” he said.

“Yes, but I bet it wasn’t the GR Yaris,” was my answer.

“Of course not, I heard those things are quite special,” was his answer.

He could not be more right. The GR Yaris truly is special. It is also a Frankenstein of sorts as it is the combination of a Toyota Yaris front and a Toyota Corolla back. Hence why it looks so wide at the back, because it is all-wheel-drive, and the wider track helps it go rallying. A perfect canvas for Tommi Makinen’s Toyota GR Rally team to develop a world dominator.

But there is little point in going further here, even if I were to wax lyrical about how much fun the car is to drive, which it really is, on track at least because I haven’t driven it on road – the fact of the matter is that you cannot buy a Toyota GR Yaris anymore. Not a brand new unit in Malaysia at least.

UMW Toyota Malaysia offered only 125 units of the GR Yaris to the Malaysian public, and all of them have been spoken for.

I did question the need to write this article before starting, since you won’t be able to buy it brand new here anyway. But the car is undoubtedly amazing, and deserves an article of its own.

And I totally understand the demand for it, I want one too. I can’t remember the last time I drove something that made me want to do some very illegal things with it. Every couple of years, a manufacturer will release something truly special that will blow away even the most dedicated of passionists – the GR Yaris is one of them.

Visually though there is nothing special about the car – inside or outside.

The uninitiated could easily be fooled into thinking it were a custom Myvi with a wide body kit which had spent time at the chop shop to get rid of the two back doors.

It really isn’t visually impressive. It won’t make your children squeal in delight when they see one, it will make your wife question her marriage to you should you spend over a quarter of a million ringgit in a car the size of a Myvi. It won’t get you the girls.

It will however get you lots of questions from fanboys. Myvi’s will want to race you, the Type R boys will “cucuk” you every chance they get. And the AMG and Golf R boys will have a laugh smoking you.

But that’s okay though, because as soon as you hit the corners, you will have the last laugh, because in the corners is where this Yaris becomes at one with its element.

In fact I dare say that in tight corners and in the right hands, this Yaris will “re-smoke” the AMG and Golf R. Such is its talent and capabilities, but a short wheel-base all-wheel-drive car will always need some experienced, talented hands that know what to do in case things get hairy. And things will get hairy very quickly.

The all-wheel drive system is intelligent, in normal mode, it sends 60% of power to the front wheels, while in track mode it sends 50% of the power to the rear for perfect power distribution, and in sport mode it sends 70% of power to the back wheels, making it a tiny tail happy car.

We did get a chance to feel this layout for ourselves, the sport mode around the gymkhana track which was set up to initiate a slide – a 360 degree donut drift, a slalom course then into a high speed gets the tail out if you pull the handbrake hard enough. Onto another slalom then hard on the brakes.

It was in the track mode that really made me realise that there are certain limitations to the car. Brake hard into a slow corner like turns one, four, nine and 15 of the Sepang Circuit and the rear will threaten to break loose. In fast corners especially turns five and six you have to modulate the pedal and even then there is this niggling sensation that the back just wants to break free.

Power is from a three-cylinder, 1.6 turbocharged engine. It puts out 261PS and 360km/h. Get the shifts right and this Yaris will reach 100km/h in just 5.5 seconds. Top speed is rated at 230km/h.

But it is not how much power it puts out, it’s how it feels doing it.

Floor the pedal and there is no roar or scream that follows the acceleration. It is more of a “whoosh” of the turbocharger. Did you really expect a three-cylinder engine to scream?

I am not mocking the engine here. What Toyota has achieved with a three pot engine makes it the most power three-cylinder engine in the world. Ever! Read that sentence again, perhaps then we can truly appreciate the magnificence of this small car.

Then there is the fact this Yaris is in fact a homologation special – meaning that it was bred for racing. Rallying, to be more accurate.

Toyota built 25,000 units of the GR Yaris, because the rules of homologation says a manufacturer needs to build 25,000 units of a model, and it goes on to say that 2,500 of those can be high performance variants as well. Which suggests that rumours around Toyota building a more hardcore version of the GR Yaris may actually be true. Hello GRMN!

There is no doubt that the Toyota GR Yaris is a special car to drive, though it may not look like it to the untrained eye. This is a car that needs to be driven to be appreciated, and those that know, they know.

My biggest gripe with this car? That UMW Toyota Motor is not able to offer more units than the 125 already sold. That more people are not able to enjoy such a fantastic machine. This is a car that could potentially define a generation, a legend like the Golf GTI and the Renault Megane. And unfortunately enthusiasts will have to turn to the grey import market to buy it, robbing them of official Toyota after sales support.

There is also word from friends who have booked the GR Yaris that their bookings are a money making tool now. Some are getting random phone calls offering to buy their booking for double the booking fee paid. Demand is so hot that at the point of writing, the GR Yaris offers better return on investment than any form of investment type, be it properties, gold, petroleum or energy stock.

A great car it is, one of the modern legends, but it remains to be seen how that three-cylinder engine deals with all that abuse.

And if your wife threatens to leave you because you spent a quarter of a million ringgit on a car that looks like a Myvi, tell her that it is a better investment than the jewellery she forced you to buy her. For now at least.

To know about other promotions, visit www.bhpetrol.com.my.

Those who have driven the new Toyota GR Yaris have nothing but praises for it, impressed by its  handling and power. It’s a ‘Homologation Special’ which means it’s ready to be used for international motorsports competition – mainly rallies – right out of the showroom.

To satisfy homologation requirements by the FIA (the body which governs international motorsports), a manufacturer must produce at least 25,000 units of the model in identical form. Toyota, with its resources and also the enthusiastic support of a President who is a racing driver, decided to do this, and enthusiasts around the world have been delighted.

Related: What is a Homologation Special?

2020 Toyota GR Yaris

The 25,000 units are built at the same plant that made the Lexus LFA and exported globally for sale. The exceptional  demand for the GR Yaris has also been evident in some countries. In  Australia, for example, 1,000 units were sold within just one week.

For the Malaysian market, less than 200 units were imported by UMW Toyota Motor and they are now all sold out.

Toyota WRC
Development of the GR Yaris has used all the experience gained from competing in the World Rally Championship.

Potential great for Malaysian market
“When we were informed of the new Toyota GR Yaris by Toyota Motor Corporation, we knew it would  have great potential in the Malaysian market, especially with the increasing motorsport and  motorsport-related activities organized by UMW Toyota Motor,” said Ravindran K., President of  UMW Toyota Motor.

“The enthusiastic fans were eagerly awaiting the launch of the model and wasted no time booking  one right after we launched the car on December 17, 2020. And now, just over a month since its  launch, we received such overwhelming response. We thank customers for their enthusiastic support,” he said.

The world’s most powerful 3-cylinder engine (261 bhp/360 Nm) and the lightest and smallest 1.6-litre turbo unit currently in production. It comes only with a 6-speed manual transmission and the new GR-Four 4-wheel drive system.

Available only from exclusive dealers
Priced from RM286,896 (excluding insurance, roadtax and sales tax exemption), the GR Yaris has been offered only through a limited number of dealerships in Malaysia which have the GR Garage. This is a dedicated sales channel for GR products such as the GR Supra, GR Yaris and Vios GR-Sport as well as performance items.

Explaining the GR brand, Akio Takeyama, UMW Toyota Motor’s Deputy Chairman and GAZOO Racing Malaysia’s Chief Motorsports Officer, said: “The GR brand harnesses the experience gained by pushing the limits in motorsport and applies it to  a whole new generation of high-performance cars from Toyota. The result is models like the GR Yaris that are fine examples of how we are making ever-better cars  that are rewarding and fun to drive. Further to that, we are also more than pleased that we will be introducing even more GR models to the in the near future.”

Will there by additional units?
While each of the units imported to date now has an owner, there is a hint that some more might be available as Mr. Ravindran suggested that ‘keen parties continue to register their interest with our GR Garage Dealers nationwide’.

For information on the GR Garage network and GR products, visit toyota.com.my/tgrmalaysia/gr garage/.

The story behind TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and why it was created


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