As ever the hype machine has rolled on to it’s latest and greatest, last year it was the Alpine A110, this year it’s the Toyota Yaris GR.
You’ll no doubt already know the specs, how amazing it is, how it’s a ‘once in a generation car’ etc etc yawn.
But the stark reality is that it costs £34,000 for the Circuit Pack model – the one everyone’s going to want in XX years’ time. Which is pretty heady for a Toyota, no matter how gush worthy it is. Add to the fact they aren’t limited build and the price looks even more eyewatering.
Here are three alternatives that are well worth your money, and far cheaper than a Yaris GR.
On par with the Yaris GR is the Audi S1, yup it may be down on power with 227 BHP but the 0-60 time is just .3 of a second more in three-door guise, it also weighs just 35 kg more than the Yaris, so it’s still relatively light on its tyres.
Yes, there’s Quattro AWD, and the best bit about the S1 is that it’s the same four-cylinder 2.0-litre lump fitted to bigger brutes in the Audi range, just detuned.
So a Stage 1 remap on an S1 will jump that power from 227 horses to a whopping 310 and torque to a massive 340 lb/ft. Numbers that would well and truly blow the Yaris out of the water. It would also drop the 0-60 time to around 4.5 seconds.
How much then? Well, a low mileage example with 35,000 on the clock can be had for £16,000—half the price of that fabled Toyota.
Just make sure you hunt one down that has the big bucket seats, these were a rare optional extra but make the inside of the dinky S1 feel totally special.
Seat Leon Cupra 280
Now the Cupra 280 came in three-door form, no hot hatch should be 5 door, so that’s why I’ve picked it. The 290 and 300 all became ugly 5 door variants, so this is by far the best looking, and seemingly ultra-rare with only 11 coming up on Auto Trader.
Again it features the same TFSI 2.0-litre engine as found in the dinky S1, but now the dial has been turned up to…280 BHP and 258 lb/ft of torque.
0-60 comes up in 5.8 seconds, and it’s genuinely one of the best handling, ferociously fast front-wheel-drive hot hatches you’ll find on the market today. Granted it’s a little heavier weighing in at 1395 KG, but that’s still pretty light for a car of this size.
A used 2015 model with sub 30k on the dash will cost you roughly £14,000. Bargain
Ford Focus RS
If you’re after AWD techno gubbins in your rapid hatchback then the last generation Focus RS can now be had for around £25,000 with 30-40k on.
Pushing serious power with 345 BHP and 347 lb/ft of torque the RS will manage a 4.5 seconds 0-60 sprint in standard form.
Now I can’t say I like the way the Focus drives, on tight, twisty sections of road you can feel the car turn in those rear wheels. It’s as if the car is doing the work for you, it’s a bit unnatural and augmented. That’s not to say the thing isn’t blisteringly fast and a more involving drive than a Golf R. Hence why it’s made it to this list.
Bantamweight it certainly isn’t though, 1,524kg means it’s a hefty lump. So if you like your fast cars light and nimble best look elsewhere.
There you have it, three real-world alternatives which either match or surpass the Toyota Yaris GR in one way or another. From the dinky S1, so the super stylish yet rapid Leon and then on to the 2.3 litre turbocharged RS beast.
The best bit, they’re all far cheaper than the Yaris but will undoubtedly give you the same smiles per mile.