The News for January 14th, 2022

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Toyota makes us all jealous with the GRMN Yaris, a stunning new Toyota GT3 race car is teased, Honda has a new HR-V coming soon, and Canada is taking action against driving with the lights off.

Toyota GRMN Yaris

So I’m gonna talk about a really neat car that’s only available in Japan, but it’s just too cool to not mention it. Toyota Gazoo Racing is making a statement at the Tokyo Auto Salon with two limited-edition, high(er) performance versions of the GR Yaris, one of the greatest cars that America doesn’t get. It’s called the GRMN Yaris and it comes in three flavors – the “base” version, a Circuit Package, and a Rally Package. The GRMN Yaris boasts refinements through a “driver first” car development and is the most extreme hot hatch Toyota could have come up with. Only 500 units will be produced.

The development of the GRMN Yaris began with a desire to “deliver cars to customers that evolve quickly and can be tailored to individuals like in the field of motorsports”. So in addition to the usual motorsport-derived upgrades, the GRMN Yaris can be tuned to driver preferences and skill levels. This is accomplished through an Update Program through dedicated GR Garages, which handles part installation, software updates, engine strengthening, and driver aid improvements. Additionally there’s a Personalization Program which uses telemetry data to fine tune a car to play to a driver’s strengths or cater to the unique demands of a race track. It’ll be like having your own pit crew.

Enabling this sort of tuning is a Yaris that is probably as close to a real race car as any road-going car on sale today. Body rigidity has been increased, carbon fiber-reinforced plastics have been used for the hood, roof, and rear spoiler, and the rear seats are gone to make room for a reinforcement brace. The gearbox features a close ratio and low final gear seat, but crucially it’s been greatly strengthened for improved shock torque and fatigue strength.

It’s built to handle some serious track use and that’s before you add the Rally or Circuit package. The Rally package (red) is built for performance on all road surfaces and is based on feedback from the All Japan Rally. It gets bespoke GR shock absorbers and short stabilizer links, underbody protection, and a beefier roll cage with side bars. Spring for the Circuit package, which focuses more heavily on on-road performance, is based on feedback from the Super Taikyu (Japanese endurance series). A bespoke Matte Steel color is offered on this model with just 50 of those being built, but you can get it in other colors too. With that you get Bilstein shocks with adjustable damping, a carbon spoiler, side skirt, and lip spoiler, 18″ BBS wheels, and supposedly 18″ brakes (that has to be a typo).

They don’t mention specific updates to the 1.6-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine in the press release but casually mention an increase in torque by 15 lb.-ft. In total, it has 268 horsepower and 288 lb.-ft. of torque. All that in an all-wheel-drive hatchback that can weigh as little as 2,755 pounds (spec dependent) is a recipe for a great time.

Even though they list three versions of the GRMN Yaris with pricing, only the Circuit and Rally packages are shown. I guess assume the base GRMN Yaris will look like the Rally model from the outside. Prices start at 7,317,000 Yen then rise to 8,374,764 Yen for the Rally and 8,467,00 Yen for the Circuit. Converted to freedom units that’s between $64,000 and $74,000. That’s a lot for a hatch, sure. But the GR Yaris has gotten nothing but glowing reviews overseas and this package looks to make it that much better. Once again, I’m jealous of Japan.

[Source: Toyota]

Toyota GR GT3 Concept

Toyota wasn’t done showing off at Tokyo Auto Salon. The announcement that might have even topped the GRMN Yaris is a new GT3 race car concept that’s built off a street car we haven’t seen yet. Toyota currently competes in GT4 with the Supra while Lexus is using the RC-F for GT3, but this is a Toyota-branded venture which sure seems to be intended for production.

It’s far too early for any major details, but the press release states that “[Toyota Gazoo Racing] is committed to further accelerating customer motorsports activities to make the world of motorsports sustainable. Promoting “driver first” car development and with a desire to provide attractive cars that customers participating in GT3, which is the pinnacle of customer motorsports, would choose, TGR has unveiled the GR GT3 Concept.”

“As was the case with the GR Yaris, by commercializing motorsports cars rather than simply adapting production vehicles for use in motorsports”, it continues, “TGR intends to use feedback and technologies refined through participation in various motorsports activities to develop both GT3 and mass-production cars and further promote making ever-better motorsports-bred cars.”

It’s hard to say what this new car will be. It looks too big and upscale to be a Supra and it does bare some resemblance to the Lexus Electrified Sport concept that debuted last month, which as Roadshow discusses could be a new halo car for the brand. That Lexus is an EV and this Toyota is clearly not, but it looks like it could be on the same platform. Anyways, as GT3 continues to grow globally in every series except the WEC, we’ll certainly be hearing more about this in the future.

[Source: Toyota, Roadshow]

2023 Honda HR-V teased

Honda used a two-sentence press release to announce that an all-new “sporty and versatile” 2023 HR-V was on the way, so I will too. If you believe the drawings of it blasting through snow to take its young, active, and adventurous owners to the slopes, then it should indeed be just as “sporty and versatile” as literally every other crossover on sale today.

[Source: Honda]

Canada is tired of people driving with headlights off, too

Not sure about you guys, but seeing people drive at night with headlights off is a daily occurrence. Canada has decided it’s time to take action with a new regulation that’s taken effect. It’s a rule that should help to cut down on this sort of thing happening in the future and could easily be applied in other countries… like, you know, America.

The regulation published by Transport Canada states:

As of September 2021 the Canadian Vehicle Lighting Regulation will require that all new vehicles sold in Canada have one of the following:

  • tail lights that come on automatically with daytime running lights
  • headlights, tail lights, and side marker lights that turn on automatically in the dark
  • a dashboard that stays dark to alert the driver to turn on the lights

This standard will apply to all new vehicles (cars, trucks, SUVs, 3-wheeled vehicles, motorcycles and heavy trucks).

This regulation certainly seems to target the root causes effectively. Many cars on sale today have dashboards that are either all digital or analog units that are illuminated during the day. This in conjunction with daytime running lights may trick some complete fucking morons drivers into thinking their lights are on when they actually aren’t. So this rule would at least make them more noticeable to other drivers in that case or make it painfully obvious to the driver that their lights are off.

This is the kind of thing that should have been done from the start. And while this will only impact new cars, the benefits should be noticeable over time. In the meantime, local police departments would do well to step up headlight enforcement as they do with speeding and drunk driving (if they aren’t already). I’m pretty sure my city would never have to worry about funding again if they did.

[Source: Transport Canada via Jalopnik]

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse news whats your naws

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.

Have a good weekend.

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14 responses to “The News for January 14th, 2022”

  1. Sjalabais Avatar

    Sometimes, legislators don’t manage to boil ideas down into sensible rules. I’m with Canada here, but why not just “ignition on = lights on”? How hard can it be?

    That used to be the rule here in Norway. Unfortunately, EU rules trumped that a decade ago or so, and now people do drive unilluminated. The road I am living along has 32 km of tunnels on a 100 km stretch. Lightless people can be as close to invisible as you can imagine. Simple rules and idiot proof tech can fix that though.

  2. Zentropy Avatar

    Personally, I find DRLs on oncoming cars distracting, so I’m opposed to such measures. If people are too stupid to turn on their lights when it’s dark, then they shouldn’t have a driver’s license. I’d just make it a fineable offense.

    Also, I live in Ohio, where apparently they start teaching people in kindergarten that the far left lane is the default driving lane. I’d like the cops to ticket the ass off of these drivers. I’m NOT from Ohio, so I learned that one should drive on the right unless intending to or in the process of passing, and it doesn’t matter how obvious I make my intentions, these idiots won’t move over.

    My point: you shouldn’t mandate technology in an attempt to correct stupidity. Stupidity should be punished, not accommodated.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Can it really be not already illegal to drive at night without headlights? It certainly is here, not that it stops morons from doing it, including the slightly bigger morons who manage to do it without DRLs or dashboard screens.

      On another note, could the Yaris GRMN Rally be the first production car sold with door bars like that? (shown in the interior photo) I’m not sure what the point is, because without a full roll cage you won’t be any more eligible for any proper motorsport than if they weren’t there.

    2. OA5599 Avatar

      I dislike DRLs, too.

      Also, a significant number of DUI stops are initiated after an officer observes someone driving at night without lights. Whenever I see a car driving with no headlights, I always assume the driver could be impaired, and then I keep a safe distance away and will not get directly in front of that car.

      But I am in favor of the dashboard staying dark while the headlights are off.

    3. Salguod Avatar

      I seem to remember that DRLs are associated with a significant reduction in accidents on 2 lane roads. I’m too lazy to look it up, but I read it in C&D years ago.

      If Ohio Highway Patrol started ticketing left lane campers, they’d issue a lot of tickets to themselves. I frequently find them cruising along in the left lane.

    4. Maymar Avatar

      I don’t know if it’s just because DRL’s have been mandated up here since I was four, but it seems more weird to me when a car doesn’t have them. As well, I find on the off-chance there’s something without them on the road, it half-disappears (or, as a pedestrian, it’s one less cue that a vehicle is being actively operated). That said, I think the new mandate is probably a reaction to the digital dash-equipped Civics littering the roads up here. They seem to be most likely to be driven at night without the rear lights on (between sheer volume, and having one less clue the headlights aren’t turned on as the dash isn’t pitch black). Although, at the same time, stuff without auto headlights is increasingly uncommon anyhow.

  3. Chris Williams Avatar

    Anyone else think the Toyota gt3 looks like the old TVR Speed 12?

  4. smaglik Avatar

    Several items this week for me. First, I finally got the ball joints out of the x3 steering knuckles. It took the purchase of a $130 piece of machined aluminum to do it (image below), but the tool was built perfectly for the job. Each side came out in 10 minutes. Completely worth the price.

    And, I took delivery of the m3 yesterday. I was able to drive it around a bit last night, and initial impressions are very positive. I think it looks incredible in person; the color really pops, and the nose that the internet hates? It gives the car presence. I’m still trying to figure out all the drive settings to dial in what I like, but it still has less than 100 miles on it, so plenty of time…

    1. smaglik Avatar

      Here is the ball joint tool…

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      Congrats on cracking the ball joint job and on taking delivery! The M3 looks great in these colours.

      1. smaglik Avatar

        I think the ball joint was the more consequential of the two events. There’s just something about having the perfect tool for the job. It almost felt like I was due a cigarette afterwards.

    3. Salguod Avatar

      There is something satisfying about a purpose built tool, and especially one that works so well.

      That color on the M3 looks great, especially with the tan interior. I appreciate what you said about the nose. It is distinctive and I’ve gotten used to seeing it. But I still don’t like it myself.

  5. crank_case Avatar

    Everytime a US based auto journalist bemoans a car not being sold in their market, they need to bear in mind that in many other countries, driving a V8 is near unattainable, doing an LS swap a headache of red tape and “computer says no” insurance headaches and GR86s are priced and annually taxed like luxury goods, if we even get them. Sorry lads, but worlds smallest violin plays quietly over here… 😉

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Very good point, but I believe customer choice is just weirdly restricted everywhere. We may bleed taxes out of our noses for just looking at a V8, but the US is such a big market, I believe specialized cars could be sold by big companies at a tiny profit. After all, Toyota et.al. have the aftermarket support and parts supply all figured out. Scale dictates that catering to a few thousand acquired tastees just isn’t profitable enough? Or selling a Yaris would reflect poorly off the bus sized trucks they try to move?

      Here in Europe, I never really understood whether the SUV/CUV trend really is consumer driven, or just a result of a shift away from minivans (Zafira-sized) and wagons based on what one is on offer. You can’t buy a Honda Jade if Honda isn’t selling it.

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