We got a welcome surprise this morning when Toyota released the heavily updated version of its GR Yaris hot hatch at the Tokyo Auto Salon. Of course it's not destined for North America, but that's why we have the GR Corolla, after all. The homologation-special Yaris will see big changes this year, between a punched up G16E-GTS three-cylinder, Toyota's new (and, crucially, optional) Direct Automatic Transmission, and—the subject of today's question—a somewhat reimagined interior. How do you feel about it?
The GR Yaris' new dash is canted toward the driver, in a manner somewhat reminiscent of the venerated Mk IV Supra. Its existence is interesting, because this treatment has been lavished exclusively on the GR Yaris—the normal Yaris won't see it, and its interior will stay blobby and lighthearted. The updated design mostly shrouds the infotainment display, HVAC controls, and all adjacent buttons in a sort of aluminum-effect slab that juts out from the rest of the dash, and is angled so that all it contains is within easy reach of the one person always guaranteed to be in the car.
I read the new dash as a show of pride; a special touch for the GR Yaris, the only sports car Toyota sells alongside the GR Corolla that is entirely a product of its own making. For that reason, I dig it—but not for its looks. The fact it's angled is fine, but the rectangularity of it all, and the way it doesn't jibe with any other shapes in the cabin, make it feel a little out of place. It sort of reminds me of the treatment test mules often get inside and out, when an automaker's not quite ready to lift off the veil and reveal the true contours of the design underneath.
If there's one benefit to it, the new scheme does move the touchscreen down within the dash, rather than having it glued above it, sticking out into the open air. This trend of modern car design doesn't bother me quite as much as it does other people, but to each their own. After all, I am somewhat controversially a fan of the interior in the GR Corolla, which both the old and new Yaris share many parts with.
It'll be interesting to see if, in a few years, Toyota updates the GR Corolla with similar changes. After all, the Yaris is now gaining the Corolla's increased power (and torque, specifically speaking of the Morizo Edition), as well as its digital gauge cluster, and even its GR-Four intercooler tattoo. Hopefully, the automaker introduces its latest innovations to the larger model for those of us who can't get our hands on the smaller one. Unless, of course, you hate the shape of that new dash. I kindly invite you to sound off below.
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