What Is It?

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept is a 2-door hatchback that shows off the possibility of a high-performance hybrid. Power comes from a 300-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter gasoline 4-cylinder that's mated to a whopping three electric motors. The result is a combined output of 420 hp -- more than four times the 106 hp in today's Yaris. A 6-speed sequential automatic is standard, as is all-wheel drive -- a feature that will surely help the hatchback's handling prowess.

According to Toyota, the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept also packs an unusual punch: a boost system. The car can move up to 40 hp for 10 seconds in Road mode or 120 hp for five seconds in the Track setting. The extra boost can help drivers with quick passes on the racetrack.

Will They Ever Sell It?

Probably not. It's hard to imagine Toyota taking the unassuming subcompact Yaris and giving it an extra 300 hp. It's also hard to imagine performance-minded shoppers forking over what would likely be $40,000 or more for a tiny hatchback with a hybrid motor -- even if it does have over 400 hp.

Why It's Important

Even though it'll never see the inside of a dealership, the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept is big news for one major reason. It shows that Toyota -- long known for bland but highly popular vehicles -- is looking to up the ante in the high-performance vehicle realm. So while we may never see a 420-hp Yaris, we could get some form of sporty Toyota hybrid in the coming years, and we'll look back on the Yaris Hybrid-R as the car that started things off.

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Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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