The emergence of the new Honda Civic Type R goes to show that the Japanese can make hot hatches every bit as good as the Europeans. But though it's been a while since Toyota had a serious contender in the game, word has it that it's about to jump back in.

The impetus for Toyota's (re-)entry into the hot hatch segment is its impending return to the World Rally Championship. The company announced just a couple of months ago its intention to run a Yaris-based (or at least -styled) rally machine in the WRC by 2017, and now the latest reports indicate a road-going version won't be too far behind.

Though the competition-spec model is expected to pack a 1.6-liter turbo four built by Toyota Motorsport GmbH specifically to comply with FIA regulations, the street-legal Yaris hot hatch is tipped to carry the 2.0-liter turbo four from the Lexus NX 200t. Though the jury's still out, it'd likely stick with front-drive instead of a more complex all-wheel drive system, but with a six-speed manual and a limited slip differential, it has all the potential to be a real firecracker.

Only a limited number will likely be offered, ostensibly to meet FIA homologation requirement – in the same vein as the Citroën DS3 Racing or the Volkswagen Polo WRC Street – and likely to carry a similarly premium price tag in the neighborhood of 34,000 euros. We'd be pleasantly surprised if any of them were to make it to North American showrooms, though.

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