While our loins might lust after the rally-homologation Toyota GR Yaris, our wallets will most likely nudge us towards the poor man’s entry into GR-ownership; the Vios GR-Sport. Launched alongside the former, the Vios GR-S deserves a little more credit given that it’s more than just a badge-job.
With UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) flagging off the fourth season of the Vios Challenge next year, they didn’t offer a full Gazoo Racing (GR) version of the popular B-segment sedan. You might recall the decal-and-badge special dubbed the Vios Sports Edition of the “keli” generation that followed the”dugong” second gen but even that hadn’t the coveted GR emblem.
That’s now been resolved with a proper sampling of GR for the budget boys that goes beyond the decal-and-emblem cosmetic treatment. Not only it is the first ever GR Sport model, it’s also a completely local effort and is based on the facelifted Vios.
“Aiya, it’s just like a four door GR Yaris lah.” You can imagine owners trying their luck with that line, can’t you?
Ricers rejoice as this is a genuine GR-badged Vios. Street cred and fooling the uninitiated was never this affordable at just RM97,500 (OTR w/insurance). You can only get the car in Red Mica Metallic or Platinum White Pearl.
“This is a very special model for several reasons; it was developed locally, it was inspired by the success of the Vios Challenge, and above all it had to meet with all the criteria of what the GR brand represents before becoming truly worthy of being bestowed with a GR badge,” said Akio Takeyama; the man with the coolest title in the local automotive sector as Gazoo Racing Malaysia’s chief motorsport officer as well as the UMWT deputy chairman.
Oh yeah, he also races in the Vios Challenge under the Celebrity class.
Far from a cosmetic wham-bam-thank-you-maam like the previous Vios Sports Edition, the new Vios GR-S gets a reprogrammed CVT transmission with 10 virtual ratios. Toyota reflashed the box to deliver 10 ratios if you put it in manual mode. The regular Vios only has seven ratios. Of course, the Vios GR-S gets paddle shifters.
Under the hood, the 1.5-litre Dual VVT-i engine remains untouched with 106hp and 140Nm of torque. Toyota though claim the extra virtual ratios in the CVT help keep the engine on boil more through the driving range.
Just like the Vios Sports Edition, the Vios GR-S gets a sports-tuned suspension. Wheels are 17-inch black multi-spoke items with 205/45 rubbers, earning them distinction as the widest rubbers on a Vios from the factory.
No special edition sportier trim of a car ever left the factory floor without a body kit. The trend continues here with a front bumper that’s clearly been inspired by the GR Yaris. Out back, the rear bumper has an integrated diffuser. Rounding off the cosmetics are side skirts, a boot spoiler (no “tiang-gol” spoiler), “10-speed” logo and black side mirrors/door handles with a GR boot badge as the cherry on top.
Inside, the GR treatment continues with a leather and suede combo for the sports seats that get GR badging on the front pair. Leather is applied on the steering wheel and shifter. The push-start button gets the GR-badging treatment for you to start your GR experience every single time. Lastly, the Optitron instrument cluster gets the red treatment for the glow and needles while the 4.2-inch multi-information display has been reprogrammed with a GR animation on start-up.