Toyota Yaris GR Sport – Suspension and interior upgrades for hybrid hatch
GRMN suspension and tyres, but no power boost for sporty hybrid supermini
Following its debut at the 2018 Paris motor show, Toyota has revealed UK pricing and specification information for the Yaris GR Sport - one of the first models to wear the GR Sport badge that will sit below GRMN in Toyota's future performance lineup.
As we discovered in Paris though the Yaris GR Sport will be a little unusual in performance car terms, based not on some revvy engine further down the Yaris range, but on the volume-selling Yaris Hybrid.
And as we suspected, that will influence the GR Sport's price, which begins at £19,835. Less than the £26,295 Toyota asked for the full GRMN, but expensive for a car which will develop no more than the 98bhp and 92lb ft of the standard Yaris Hybrid, which begins at £16,790 in less sporty Active trim. Yup, the powertrain is standard Yaris Hybrid, which means a 0-62mph time no quicker than 11.8sec and a top speed that just scrapes 103mph. Oh, and it uses Toyota's E-CVT transmission - so no stick-stirring, heel-and-toe action here.
In Toyota's favour, it doesn't look quite as bad in context of similar sporty, frugal superminis - a Volkswagen Polo 1.4 TDI R-Line is £18,750 in matching five-door form, and doesn't get the Yaris GR Sport's trump card: a chassis not dissimilar from the hugely entertaining Yaris GRMN.
That's where Toyota's effort seems to have gone, starting with Sachs dampers similar to those in the supercharged hot hatch, with solid anti-roll bars and a 15mm lower stance over 17-inch alloy wheels and 205/45 R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE50 tyres.
Likewise the exterior body styling is one step away from the GRMN, with a contrasting black roof, rear spoiler, honeycomb grille, a unique headlight design, darkened glass and the option of red exterior decals. One key difference is the body, however: while the GRMN was available as a three-door, the GR Sport is five-door only.
Toyota has carried some of the hot hatch's detailing over to the interior though, with sports seats (wearing GR Sport branding) and the use of the Toyota GT86 coupe's small-diameter three-spoke steering wheel. The headlining is black, as are the silver-edged floor mats, while there's a GR animation on the car's TFT display when the car is started.
The unchanged powertrain is undoubtedly disappointing, but we're intrigued to find out whether the GR Sport chassis tweaks deliver an experience more engaging than the regular Yaris Hybrid - it could prove to be a real momentum car in the best supermini tradition.
Economy should also be a highlight, with even the least frugal Yaris Hybrids currently managing 78mpg combined (we'll see how that settles once WLTP figures come in) with low tax and low (group 8E, though expect a little more for the GR Sport) insurance. The bigger trouble will be convincing petrolheads with £20k in their pocket not to pick up a Ford Fiesta ST instead...