By now, we're already familiar with Toyota's GR Sport dress-up kits as most of the brand's lineup in the country has them available. But over in Japan, the newest model that received the GR Sport treatment has us drooling.
Here's the 2023 Toyota Aqua GR Sport – and we're really digging how the brand tastefully transformed the humble hybrid hatchback into a looker. Like the GR Sport models locally, the Aqua, which we know here as the Prius C, received cosmetic changes. However, Toyota threw in some handling and driving dynamics improvements to make it more fun to drive.
Let's start with its exterior. The Toyota Aqua GR Sport's front end now looks closer to the GR Yaris hot hatch, as it sprouted a new small grille connecting the headlights with the brand's T emblem. Meanwhile, the bumper intake gets a honeycomb pattern with the GR Sport badge placed in it. Flanking the bumper intake are sharp side intakes that house the LED headlamps.
A new set of 17-inch alloys nicely fill in the gaps of the Aqua's wheel wells, while the side skirts give the illusion it's sitting lower than the standard model. Round the back, the redesigned rear bumper gets a faux diffuser with black honeycomb cladding.
Step inside the Aqua GR Sport, and you're greeted with a pair of bucket seats finished in leather upholstery. As with other GR Sport models, the GR badge makes its way to the headrests and the steering wheel. Other interior additions are the aluminum pedals plus gunmetal trim accents.
For its powertrain, Toyota left the Aqua's hybrid system untouched for the GR Sport variant. It still has the 1.5-liter Dynamic Force engine paired with an electric motor and a nickel-hydrogen battery. Toyota claims that the Aqua can do 35.8 km/l with the setup. And with the GR Sport, Toyota wants its customers to look good while saving fuel.
While the Aqua did not get a power boost for its GR Sport model, Toyota gave the hatchback a bit of light suspension tuning. They added extra bracing to increase the chassis rigidity, and they reworked the steering for a sportier feel. Together with the GR brake calipers, this should make the Aqua GR Sport a sharper handling car on the twisties.
It's sad that we're unlikely to see the Aqua / Prius C GR Sport in the country as TMP leans more towards the ASEAN-made hybrid models. In Japan, it has a competitive price of JPY 2,595,000 (PHP 1.06 million), but given that the car does not qualify for JPEPA, it's expected to cost more. With that being the case, we're pretty much left with no choice but to adore the looks of the Aqua GR Sport from a distance.... or from a screen.