ON THE ROAD – IAN LYNAS PREVIEWS A LITTLE BROTHER FOR THE TOYOTA GR YARIS
Toyota Gazoo Racing has scored many wins on the international motor sport scene and this success has inspired a new addition to the highly popular Yaris range, the GR Sport.
The new model brings performance looks and sharper handling to the Yaris Hybrid range and its eye-catching stand-out styling features include 18-inch, 10-spoke machined alloy wheels with alternating red deco lines around the rim and a chrome-framed grille with a piano black G-motif patterned mesh. This performance theme also introduces a new T-shaped rear diffuser, black door mouldings and door mirror casings and a slim red insert spanning the tailgate between the rear combination lights. As a finishing touch, there are Gazoo Racing badges on the front bumper and tailgate. You will certainly not fail to notice this sporty little number from Toyota. It can be specified with optional bi-tone paintwork, including an exclusive combination of Ash Grey bodywork with an Eclipse black roof.
Moving to the interior, there are sports front seats featuring the GR logo on the headrests and black fabric upholstery with red contrast stitching. The logo is also on the starter button and the three-spoke steering wheel and the steering wheel and shift lever are leather-wrapped with red stitching. Other standard features include dual-zone automatic air conditioning, eight-inch multimedia system, six speaker audio system and smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Owners can add a City Pack equipping the GR Sport with auto-retracting door mirrors, front and rear parking sensors with auto brake function, a blind spot monitor and navigation. Further options packs include Essential Protection Pack, which includes a rear bumper protection (black), boot liner and front and rear mudflaps. The Protection + Pack has stainless steel rear bumper protection, boot liner, front and rear mudflaps and rubber floor mats.
With the GR Sport, looks will be important to many buyers, while performance will be a priority for others and this attractive newcomer from Toyota delivers sharper handling. Extra underfloor bracing on each side of the car has increased structural rigidity, while aerodynamic drag has been reduced by adding liners to the front and rear wheel arches. The suspension systems have been upgraded with tuning of the shock absorbers to react more quickly at lower speeds and adjustment of the rear springs to suppress body movement and wheel lift under acceleration and braking. Fifteen years ago an in-house team consisted of student test drivers and mechanics led by Hiromu Naruse, a Toyota test driver competed in the 24 Hours Nürburgring race. Akio Toyoda who was then the vice president of Toyota received driving instruction from Naruse and he also participated as a driver. Then he was not allowed to call the team “Works Toyota Racing, therefore the name Team Gazoo was used instead and today it is featured in the World Rally Championship, the World Endurance Championship, the British Touring Car Championship and many more around the world. The new GR Sport is really the little brother to the highly acclaimed GR Yaris, has the looks but not the blistering performance, as I discovered, of big brother.