ON THE ROAD- IAN LYNAS PREVIEWS A NEW SMALL TOYOTA SPORTY SUV
Inspired by styling from the multi World Championship Toyota Gazoo Racing, the giant Japanese carmaker is expanding its Yaris Cross compact SUV range with the introduction of a new GR Sport grade.
With exclusive exterior and interior features and retuned suspension for sharper, more rewarding handling, the new Yaris Cross GR Sport extends the model’s appeal to a wider range of customers, following the success of the established Corolla, Toyota C-HR and Yaris GR Sport editions. With a lot of street cred, the new model is distinguished by new 18 inch 10 spoke alloy wheels with a bright machined finish. The sporting touches also include a new rear diffuser and front grille with an exclusive gloss black mesh pattern and discreet GR badging. A new Ash Grey finish is the GR Sport’s signature colour, available as a bi-tone option with a contrast black roof and pillars. A further colour choice, Scorched Orange is also exclusive to the new model. Moving to the well appointed interior, the front sports seats have new black ultrasuede upholstery with red stitching; similar bright stitch work is featured on the steering wheel and gear lever. The GR logo is prominently featured, on the front head rests, carpet mats, starter button, combimeter and steering wheel, and there are GR Sport-specific gunmetal silver trim inserts in the doors.
Rewarding handling thanks to the GA-B platform, the same as that featured in the European Car of the Year 2021 winning Yaris hatchback. This gives it a low centre of gravity, a highly rigid body and balanced chassis. With this new Toyota offering performance, it has been sharpened with retuning of the suspension, giving you better steering, roll and grip feel. In other respects, the new GR Sport retains all the qualities that helped the Yaris Cross win the 2022 World Urban Car of the Year title. Bringing together Toyota’s mastery of small car and SUV design engineering, it majors on quality and practicality.
Those who will get their driving hands on this newcomer will appreciate the high SUV driving position and the car-like dynamics, virtues that reference those of the original Toyota RAV4, which many will recall was the world’s first recreational Sports Utility Vehicle. Practicality is important, with a 40:20:40 split folding rear seat and a split-folding deck board that allows load space to extend from 397 litres (with all seats in place) to a maximum 1,097 litres. The clever packaging maximises interior space within compact exterior dimensions that are ideal. As a high grade model, positioned alongside the Yaris Cross Excel, the Yaris Cross GR Sport has a rich standard equipment specification, including nine-inch Toyota Smart Connect multimedia system with wireless smartphone integration and cloud-based navigation. Other equipment highlights include dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and rear privacy glass.
Finally, the Yaris Cross GR Sport is powered by Toyota’s highly efficient three-cylinder, 1.5 litre Hybrid Dynamic Force engine. This units long stroke, high-speed combustion, high 14:1 compression ratio, and temperature and pressure controls help the unit achieve a high 40% thermal efficiency. CO2 and fuel economy performance of this addition to the Yaris family is targeted to be on par with the Yaris Cross Excel model. Certainly the GR Sport grades are a welcome part of Toyota, clearly their widespread involvement in motor sport is paying off.