NEW TOYOTA YARIS CROSS GRS

Everyday driveability and real-world economy suddenly seems more appealing with well-judged GR Sport treatment.

The compact Yaris Cross has quickly become a familiar sight on our roads due to its practicality, efficiency and forward-thinking design. But some might consider it a bit dull to drive and too upright and softly suspended to be worth pushing when the right road allows.

Step forward the Gazoo Racing team who have worked their magic to sharpen up the entire package, applying their GRS treatment in much the same way that BMW applies its second-tier M Sport badge. So the Yaris Cross GRS is no hardcore tearaway like a GR Yaris or GR Corolla, but still a practical, easy-to-live-with five-door hybrid with a distinctly sporting flavour to its looks and performance.

It’s plain fun to drive positively in Sport mode, the ample low-end torque helping it feel urgent yet smooth regardless of traffic flow. The powertrain sounds surprisingly good when extended, too. And there’s more to satisfy the enthusiast: the steering is accurate and has good feel and the car now sweeps around bends with far less body roll. Overall, the tweaks seem nicely judged leaving you with reasonable round-town compliance. However you’ll certainly notice more low-speed jitters and a deterioration in overall ride quality if you jump straight from a regular Yaris Cross into the GR equivalent.

Of course there’s a premium to pay for the GR badge but the upgraded cabin and tasteful exterior treatment ensure a certified success. The interior sports authentic details and is solidly put together, as you would expect in any Toyota that majors on good old-fashioned utility. And the seats are supportive and retain their comfort over serious distance. Drive it without concern for overall economy and you’ll still be mystified by how slowly the fuel needle moves in the gauge.

Toyota hybrids have really turned the corner in terms of driveability and real-world economy. With GR Sport flavouring, the added driver appeal has significantly improved the desirability of the Yaris Cross.

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