More success for Toyota as GR Yaris wins the UK Car of the Year title

Paul Hudson
·3-min read
Toyota GR Yaris
Toyota GR Yaris

The Toyota GR Yaris has fought off challenges from the Land Rover Defender, Ford Puma and Volkswagen ID.3 to claim the title of UK Car of the Year 2021. Bucking the trend of electric cars (EVs) taking the top spot – the previous two UKCOTY winners were the Tesla Model 3 and the Jaguar I-Pace – the GR Yaris has a rally-bred petrol engine and a performance-oriented four-wheel-drive system.

In a huge fillip to Toyota, it easily won the Best Performance category before being voted the overall winner – it’s that impressive.

The comprehensively re-engineered, rally-based rocket takes the crown only a week after the standard Yaris became the European Car of the Year for 2021.

John Challen, director of the UK Car of the Year Awards, said: “The GR exudes the same sort of emotions found in the original breed of hot hatches, with a modern-day twist thanks to advances in automotive technology. The most fun I’ve had behind the wheel of a car for many years.

Toyota GR Yaris
Toyota GR Yaris

“Such was the strength in depth of the 12 category-winning cars competing for the overall title that with just four votes remaining, five cars were still in the running. This shows that vehicle manufacturers are creating truly impressive, desirable and focussed products for their customers.”

Agustin Martin, president and managing director of Toyota GB, said: “Our sincere thanks go to the UK Car of the Year judges for giving this prestigious award to the GR Yaris. This unique car perfectly expresses Toyota’s focus on the pure joys of driving and how we are drawing directly on our motorsport activities to create ever-better cars for the road.

“The unprecedented reception for GR Yaris – and for the all-new Yaris range more widely – is transforming the perception of our brand as a maker of desirable cars that are genuinely fun to drive.”

Toyota GR Yaris
Toyota GR Yaris

The GR Yaris dominated its category and won the votes of many members of the 29-strong UK Car of the Year Awards jury in the final round.

Launched in 2014, the UK Car of the Year Awards are judged by 29 of Britain’s leading motoring journalists. In 2021, each judge used their expertise to pick out the top performer in nine vehicle categories, before deciding the overall winner from their favourites in each class.

UK Car of the Year Awards 2021 category winners:

Best City Car – Honda e

Best Supermini – Toyota Yaris

Best Small Hatch – Volkswagen ID.3

Best Family – Skoda Octavia

Best Luxury – Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Best Estate – Skoda Octavia Estate

Best Small Crossover – Ford Puma

Best Medium Crossover – Ford Kuga

Best Large Crossover – Land Rover Defender

Best Coupé – BMW 4-Series

Best Open Top – Lexus LC Convertible

Best Performance – Toyota GR Yaris

UK Car of the Year award previous winners:

2020 – Tesla Model 3

2019 – Jaguar I-Pace

2018 – Volvo XC60

2017 – Mercedes-Benz C-Class

2016 – Mazda MX-5

2015 – BMW i8

2014 – BMW i3

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