Toyota has whipped the covers off a new base model in its GR Yaris range, with the RS-badged version ditching the full-fat model’s 200 kW engine for a far tamer 88 kW motor.

Offered exclusively in Japan, the RS model employs a naturally aspirated 1,5-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine, which sends its 88 kW and 145 N.m to the front axle via a continuously variable transmission providing what Toyota describes as “a manual-like experience”.

By contrast, the GR Yaris hot hatch uses a turbocharged 1,6-litre three-pot, which drives all four corners via a six-speed manual gearbox.

Still, the new three-door RS model features similarly aggressive exterior styling to that employed by the GR Yaris, including a massive air-intake up front, widened wheel arches and a tailpipe at either end of its rear diffuser (interestingly, it also bears "GR Yaris" exterior badging). At least it’s a little lighter, tipping the scales at a claimed 1 130 kg (the GR Yaris weighs around 1 250 kg).

In May 2020, Toyota South Africa Motors told us the new GR Yaris hot hatch was “likely” to launch locally in 2021. We don't expect the RS model to be offered in markets outside of Japan.