Toyota’s GR Yaris and GR Corolla have ignited automotive enthusiasts’ passions, boasting hardcore performance and a manual-only transmission. However, recognizing that not everyone is comfortable with manual gear-shifting, Toyota has been diligently working on a groundbreaking solution. The much-anticipated eight-speed direct automatic transmission (DAT) is set to make its debut at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January, addressing the concerns of those unfamiliar with manual driving.

The Challenge: Manual transmissions, while thrilling for some, can be daunting for others due to various reasons unrelated to a lack of enthusiasm for cars. Recognizing this, Toyota aims to make its high-performance vehicles accessible to a broader audience by introducing the DAT, a transmission that offers responsiveness and intelligence beyond traditional automatics.

Enhanced Predictability: The DAT excels in predicting the driver’s intentions, significantly reducing acceleration lag. Its ability to detect braking cues ensures timelier downshifts, potentially making paddle shifters less crucial in certain situations. This level of performance is a game-changer for individuals learning car control, especially in track driving scenarios.

Akio Toyoda’s Endorsement: Former CEO Akio Toyoda, a genuine driving enthusiast and a key figure behind Toyota’s racing endeavors, hails the DAT as a “game-changer.” Toyoda highlights the seamless shifting experience, noting that the absence of time lost during shifts narrows the gap between seasoned drivers and enthusiasts. Toyoda’s passion for driving is evident in the fact that Toyota named a trim after his racing nickname, Morizo.

Production of the automatic GR Yaris is slated to commence in January at Toyota’s dedicated GR Factory in Japan, which also manufactures the GR Corolla. While the GR Yaris may not be available in Canada, the GR Corolla stands as an enticing alternative, offering practicality with its additional doors. Intriguingly, both models share a powertrain, sparking speculation about the possibility of a DAT-equipped GR Corolla in the future.

Toyota’s commitment to innovation extends beyond performance to accessibility, as demonstrated by the upcoming DAT. The automatic transmission option opens the doors for a broader audience to experience the exhilaration of high-performance driving in vehicles like the GR Yaris and GR Corolla. As the automotive world eagerly anticipates the unveiling at the Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota’s game-changing transmission is poised to redefine the driving experience for enthusiasts worldwide.

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