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CAR REVIEW | Toyota Yaris GR, the hybrid hustler

★★★★☆ | Toyota Yaris GR

What Have We Got?

Here we have Toyota’s Yaris GR Sport fitted with hybrid technology. It’s also fitted with tuned suspension for a more sporty feel. It’s divided opinion. THEGAYUK had a go and here is what we thought of it.

Driving

I’ve not been kind in the past when describing Toyota’s CVT transmission systems but that is going to change. I rather liked this, unless you floor the throttle, then it shows up all the traits of the CVTs woes of engine revving away. 

It’s a strange mix really for a 1500cc petrol engine with 16 valves and twin cams making just 98bhp. The engine is quite lacking in sparkle and feels a little lazy. Here then is the bonus for your lazy engine, the extra oomph given by the electric motor. Even at high speed, press the throttle and the engines high revs do at least translate to make progress faster.

The ride has come in for some criticism for being too hard. Taken from the rapid GRNM model, I personally found it totally acceptable and ideal for when you want to use the chassis potential. It is a fun car to hustle around on the right roads.

Inside

Sadly, the Yaris of old is no longer to be seen in the new model. And that means no dashboard innovations. It’s all become a bit ‘normal’ though typical of Toyota, the layout is logical. However, I am puzzled as to why the infotainment screen flashes up changes to the heating system when you can clearly see the selected temperature in the digital display within the heater control panel.

The suede faced GR badged bucket seats are just fine by me. An absolute joy for the derrière to sit in. They offer ample support in all directions. And they don’t encroach into the rear legroom area either. I found there to be more than adequate space for my 6’ frame in the rear seat. Much better than some larger cars out there too.  

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The boot is ok for this size car. My biggest problem I have are the poorly painted areas around the boot shuts. 

Living With It

It’s not as engaging to drive as the name would suggest. You do lose your buzz after a while though. Despite there being the option to use some engine braking assistance when selecting ‘B’ on the gear shift, it isn’t enough to hold it back and therefore you are having to dab the brakes more than you would with a conventional gearbox or selectable automatic. And a shame too because you just can’t quite exploit the fun handling. 

The economy is good as a city slicker. It’s a little less so on the motorway though thankfully, unlike some of the CVT systems, the engine doesn’t need to sing for its supper.   

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The Verdict

Once you get over the asking price, the Yaris GR Sport makes for a fine city car. There are the typical road noises I’ve now become accustomed to in Toyota’s hybrid cars though thankfully, at speed, it gets quieter. 

And this is what the Yaris does so well, it goes about its business quietly and efficiently.  

Love

Seats

Ride/handling compromise 

Town economy

Loathe

Price

Not engaging enough

High-speed economy

The Lowdown

Car –  Toyota Yaris GR Sport

Price – £ 19,840 (as tested)

MPG – 55.98 – 60.14 mpg (WLTP combined)

Power – 98/74 BHP/kW

0-62mph –  11.8 seconds

Top Speed –  103 mph

Co2 – 89 (g/km)

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