Gazoo Racing (GR) was originally established as a motorsport division of Toyota, introduced all the way back in 2007. Despite its contribution to projects like the Lexus LFA and the original FT-86 concept, and even the MKV Toyota Supra, the sub-brand managed to wow the automotive world for the first time much later in 2020 with the GR Yaris.
The GR Yaris, being the first all-wheel drive, turbocharged, homologation rally car from the Japanese manufacturer in more than two decades, quickly became popular among car enthusiasts and quickly gave the GR sub-brand the long due identity it deserved. SInce then, GR has been working on making performance oriented models of Toyota's regular models, with visual cosmetic upgrades, giving every GR engineered car a uniform identity.
In November of the same year, Toyota wowed me by replacing the bumper on their outgoing compact crossover, the C-HR, with one that resembled the GR Yaris' bumper. So much so, that I had to do a double take when I saw one in Pearl white for the very first time on Dhaka's streets. The resemblance to a GR Yaris was uncanny in Pearl white. Afterall, the GR borrowed the rear subframe from the CH-R when developing the rally spec Yaris.
Three years and a special thanks to AB Drive limited later, I finally got to drive the very same car that had originally fooled me for a GR Yaris.
Life is too short to drive boring cars. Or at least cars that look mundanely boring. The GR sport lineup from Toyota aims to rectify just that - add funky styling and stiffer suspension to cars one wouldn't even look twice at. But there is no denying the fact that Toyota finally managed to make the clumsy looking C-HR look good.
If you're on the hunt for a crossover that fuses style, performance, and a hint of sportiness, this 2020 Toyota CH-R GR Sport deserves a spot on your shortlist. With its athletic demeanour and unique design, this compact SUV should please the inner car enthusiast in you.
The colour is a nice blend of orange and crimson under different lights, called Feverish Red. The black roof accentuates the lines of the car and attempts to hide the "bulk", resulting in a slimmer looking illusion.
The GR Sport comes with special 19 inch alloys, which sacrifices ride quality but looks the part. Our test unit came wrapped in 225/45/R19 Advan Fleva tires, which completely transformed how the car took corners and stopped.
Under the hood, the C-HR GR Sport doesn't exactly please, nor disappoint either. It is equipped with the same old 1800cc 2ZR-FXE hybrid powertrain used in all hybrid Toyotas of this segment. The hybrid powertrain is capable of producing a mere 138 bhp and 207 Nm of torque, slightly higher than the Prius, which also uses the same powertrain. This leads to the crossover showcasing impressive fuel efficiency without compromising on performance.
What sets apart the GR Sport from the regular CH-R however, is its handling capabilities, which is where the car truly shines. GR Sport lineup comes with a differently tuned suspension, with a slightly hard ride to give a sportier feel, as I felt the suspension dampening tried to hide its body roll; which should've been expected from crossovers with relatively raised ground clearance.
While the C-HR GR Sport's exterior and handling prowess may steal the limelight, its interior also deserves praise. The GR styled steering wheel looks very close to the GR 86's wheel. The seats are also bolstered with materials mimicking alcantara with GR sport emblems. These seats provided ample support, ideal for those long drives, and AB Drive's unit also came with touchscreen infotainment system and a 360 degree drop down camera for navigating through tight spots. The addition of cruise control should be a nice touch on highways, especially if you want to not get into the radar of speed cameras.
Overall, the Toyota C-HR has proven to be a great option for a low displacement crossover many years now on Bangladesh's roads. The GR Sport then is an intriguing and daring option that effortlessly blends style (something the vanilla C-HR lacked in my opinion) and practicality, as long as you keep yourself slightly aware of the reduced ride height. While it may not be an all-out performance SUV, its unique personality and head-turning design undoubtedly give it a competitive edge in the crowded crossover arena.
Power: 138 bhp (combined)
Torque: 207 (combined)
Price: Tk35 lakh