When Toyota unveiled the GR Yaris, it was hailed as a modern day rally car for the road. How, then, does it compare to a rally car for the road from one of the WRC’s golden years? Fifth Gear decided to take it on the track to see how the young gun competes against the old-school Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VII.
The very same Lancer that was featured on the show in 2002, when Fifth Gear first tested it, the AWD performance car still looks pretty good for its age. Despite being quite a bit older than the Toyota, it makes more power and doesn’t weigh much more, despite being significantly longer.
Whereas the Yaris’ 1.6-liter, three-cylinder engine makes a creditable 268 hp (200kW/260 PS), it’s outgunned by the Mitsubishi’s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, which makes 305 hp (227 kW/309 PS).
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And although the EVO VII weighs a little more, 1,360 (2,998 lbs) to 1,310 kg (2,888 lbs), it more than makes up for it with that extra power. Per Fifth Gear, the Yaris makes 195 hp (146 kW/198 PS) per tonne, whereas the EVO VII makes a meaty 224 hp (167 kW/227 PS) per tonne.
The Toyota GR Yaris, though, does have 20 years of technological innovation that have gone into it. That includes better braking, a more modern all-wheel-drive system, better tire technology and more. Not to mention, it also delivers 265 lb-ft (360 Nm) of torque compared to the Mitsubishi’s 228 lb-ft (309 Nm).
So, even though the GR Yaris is smaller, makes less horsepower, and is down a cylinder, it does have some advantages. That all makes this seem like it’s going to be a very fair fight. And yet, somehow, it isn’t. Ultimately, the Yaris easily beats its forefather by 1.4 seconds over the very short track.
“The EVO is still a very quick car, and huge fun to drive, but it simply can’t compete with the little Toyota’s astonishing balance, mega brakes, and superglue grip,” says Fifth Gear presenter, Jason Plato.