Update: Toyota finally revealed a new 210 horsepower version of the Yaris will make a debut at the Geneva International Motor Show in March. It will be displayed alongside a refreshed version of the standard Yaris. The automaker released a pair of images of the new mini-hot hatch.
Would a Yaris by any other name be just as boring? We may soon find out, as it appears that Toyota is working on a hotter version of the Yaris hatchback. Toyota Europe revealed its intent to "return to the hot hatch market" and released a single sketch of an aggressive and sporty looking version of the current three-door Yaris. With this car, along with the upcoming Supra and a sequel to the much loved Toyota 86, it seems Toyota is making an admirable attempt at livening up its product line after years of milquetoast mass-market models.
The Yaris, and its predecessor the Toyota Echo, have been serviceable but ultimately forgettable subcompacts. Even in Europe, hatchback ground zero, the Yaris fails to compete with compact competitors from Peugeot, Renault, and Citroen. Toyota has been making a marketing effort to change the car's image by transforming it into a World Rally Championship racer, but the staid perception still remains. Perhaps the involvement of Toyota Gazoo Racing, the same organization that builds and races Toyota's entry at Le Mans, can breathe some life into the Yaris.
It seems clear that the automaker has something special in the works. A spokesperson from Toyota here in America said that if the car is real, it will most likely be made by Toyota Motor Germany. This would make sense as that's the home of Toyota Gazoo Racing. If it makes it to the United States, expect it to fight head to head with the Ford Fiesta ST. Cross your fingers, because a Toyota Yaris hot hatch would go a long way towards making Toyota great again.