Toyota Yaris GR Sport vs Ford Fiesta ST-Line


Toyota’s Yaris GRMN scorching hatch was one of many revelations of 2018. The supermini is nice to drive with a refreshingly particular person method, shunning a turbo for a supercharger. Now the efficiency mannequin has influenced this newcomer, the Toyota Yaris GR Sport.

It’s a brand new trim stage for the vary, however somewhat than taking the GRMN’s engine, the GR Sport makes use of a few of the flagship Yaris’s chassis elements so as to add an additional component of dynamism, claims Toyota. So patrons get sporty seems and dealing with with out the out-and-out hardcore efficiency.

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Nevertheless, there’s a automobile that’s been providing this in an reasonably priced package deal for years already: the Ford Fiesta in ST-Line trim. So on this heat hatch head-to-head, which mannequin is the extra convincing alternative? Learn on to search out out.


Mannequin: Toyota Yaris GR Sport Ford Fiesta 1.Zero EcoBoost 100 ST-Line 5dr
Value:  £19,835 £18,085
Engine:  1.5-litre 4cyl petrol/electrical motor 1.Zero-litre 3cyl turbocharged petrol
Energy/torque:  99bhp/N/A 99bhp/170Nm
Transmission:  CVT computerized, front-wheel drive  Six-speed handbook, front-wheel drive 
Zero-60mph:  12.Zero seconds 9.9 seconds
Prime velocity: 102mph 112mph
Take a look at financial system:  41.6mpg/9.2mpl 42.0mpg/9.2mpl
CO2/tax:  89g/km/£130 111g/km/£140
Choices:  GR Sport bi-tone white paint (£250), GR Sport visible pack (£100), Toyota Contact 2 with Go Navigation (£650) None

Toyota Yaris GR Sport

For: Revised chassis tune improves dealing with, sweeter steering, robust effectivity potential.
In opposition to: Hybrid engine lacks punch, poor infotainment, not very sensible.

Given how a lot we cherished the Yaris GRMN, this GR Sport mannequin, with its enhanced chassis set-up, ought to have been a robust contender on this take a look at, providing participating dealing with mixed with an environment friendly powertrain. However it’s not.

The tweaks to the suspension and the quicker steering do end in a extra rewarding drive. The burden of the steering is sweet – it’s heavier and feels meatier than the Ford’s because of this, however it’s not as quick or as exact, so the automobile doesn’t really feel as darty. Regardless of the brand new anti-roll bar, the Yaris does lean in bends and isn’t as effectively managed because the Fiesta.

There’s a comfortable edge to the preliminary a part of the damping, however after this the Toyota tends to expire of concepts and management. It feels agency and busy in some conditions, with high-frequency bumps.

Whereas on the entire that is an enchancment and the alterations have injected the common Yaris with a barely higher sense of dynamism, the GR Sport remains to be basically flawed as a heat hatch.

That is partly as a result of lacklustre engine. It makes use of a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol together with an electrical motor – precisely the identical set-up as the usual Yaris Hybrid – to ship 99bhp. It will get worse, as a result of that is despatched to the entrance wheels by way of a CVT computerized. It’s an odd alternative in a automobile that’s been designed as a sportier ‘heat’ mannequin.

Regardless of the electrical motor, it doesn’t really feel torque-rich and to get the total hit it’s a must to use loads of throttle. With no driver management over ratio choice it means the gearbox sends the revs hovering once you wish to make progress.

Speaking of which, the Yaris GR Sport is nowhere close to as quick because the Fiesta. It took 12.Zero seconds to go from Zero-60mph on take a look at, and as a result of CVT we couldn’t file in-gear occasions. It’s honest to say that it may well’t match the Ford’s efficiency anyplace.

Regardless of the chassis alterations, the Toyota doesn’t deal with as sweetly because the Fiesta, which feels a greater, extra completely engineered and extra linked product. In contrast, the Yaris feels extra disparate: the engine and field are at odds with the chassis.

Additionally it is hamstrung by the identical components that maintain the usual automobile again. The Yaris is smaller than the Ford, the infotainment isn’t pretty much as good and cabin high quality isn’t a match. It’s significantly pricier than the Ford as effectively, at £19,835, however solely comes with a comparable stage of energy and gear.

The brand new sports activities seats are good, hugging your again however a bit of quick on assist underneath your thighs. You get local weather management, 17-inch alloys, a unique steering wheel, some good security tech, a seven-inch show with DAB radio and a reversing digital camera. 

Testers’ notes

  • Infotainment: Toyota’s seven-inch touchscreen isn’t very clear. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t supplied, so if you need sat-nav you’ll need to spend an additional £650.
  • Transmission: CVT computerized gearbox retains a cap on acceleration and feels at odds with the Yaris’s sportier suspension set-up.
  • • Inside: Sports activities seats are supportive, however the driving place and high quality of the GR Sport’s cabin path the Fiesta’s.

Ford Fiesta ST-Line

For: Nice dealing with and agility, quick, exact steering, torquey engine.
In opposition to: Suspension is agency so trip high quality can often degrade.

Ford’s International B small automobile platform is a triumph. It means the Fiesta is nice to drive, and its sporty credentials have solely been enhanced with this ST-Line model. It doesn’t supply the identical ranges of thrills as its ST sibling, however there’s nonetheless a touch of that automobile’s enjoyable, effervescent character on this decrease rung of the Fiesta ladder.

The steering is quick, lighter than the Yaris’s, however much more correct, so mixed with the Ford’s lighter kerbweight – it doesn’t have to hold round a heavy and old-school Nickel hydride battery just like the hybrid Toyota, keep in mind – it’s rather more agile, altering route in a manner that appears to shrug off even tighter corners.

It’s helped by a suspension set-up that gives loads of cornering composure. It’s agency, particularly on our automobile’s £600 optionally available 18-inch alloy wheels, however this not less than means there’s not a lot slack within the system, so the Fiesta’s nostril darts in direction of apexes, whereas the chassis doesn’t roll over at quicker speeds.

There’s extra management than within the Toyota when the Ford hits a mid-corner bump, too. But generally once you encounter a extreme despair, the massive wheels thump again as a result of the agency springs and damping battle to melt the blow.

Nevertheless, it’s a gentle downside of an in any other case spectacular package deal that when put next with the Yaris, is enhanced by the engine, too.

The 1.Zero-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine helped the Ford cowl Zero-60mph in 9.9 seconds, 2.1 seconds quicker than the Toyota. From 30 to 70mph by way of the gears the Fiesta was 2.four seconds up on the Yaris, though there’s sufficient grunt at low and mid revs because of the 170Nm of torque, so that you don’t all the time need to be working the transmission.

That makes for extra enjoyable progress on the motorway, even when the ST-Line can begin to pogo barely because of its firmer set-up. There’s a lot much less street, wind and engine noise, although.

What noise you do hear from the motor is extra characterful than the drone from the four-cylinder Yaris, which isn’t helped by the CVT computerized field (a torque-converter auto is on the market on the Fiesta, mountaineering the value by £1,410). The three-cylinder Ford unit has persona and gurgles away with a muted however audible thrum. Whereas it doesn’t prefer to rev a lot past four,500rpm, there’s a lot of accessible efficiency decrease down within the rev vary.

The Fiesta’s cabin additionally shades the Yaris’s. It’s higher trimmed, with softer plastics and extra customary package. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (giving nav), air-con and DAB radio are customary, so the package checklist is okay. And keep in mind, the Ford is £1,750 cheaper.

Testers’ notes

  • • Infotainment: Ford’s touchscreen is likely one of the higher models available on the market and is sharp and clear. Sat-nav is an choice, however with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto fitted, you should utilize your smartphone for navigation as an alternative.
  • • Transmission: Six-speed handbook provides to the enjoyable of driving the Fiesta. Easy operation makes swapping ratios fulfilling.
  • • Inside: Supplies within the ST-Line’s cabin trump the Yaris’s, whereas the driving place and supportive  sports activities seats are additionally higher.


First place: Ford Fiesta ST-Line

In just about each space the Fiesta beats the Yaris. Whereas the Ford looks like a contemporary sporty supermini, the Toyota appears not less than a technology outdated by comparability. The ST-Line rides and handles higher, has a sharper, sweeter powertrain, is extra sensible and prices quite a bit much less. It takes a straightforward victory.

Second place: Toyota Yaris GR Sport

The Yaris GR Sport is a flawed automobile. Whereas the chassis revisions aren’t with out advantage, they’re at odds with the efficiency-focused, unrefined and sluggish powertrain. It additionally trails on practicality and infotainment, however undertake a extra laid-back driving fashion and also you’ll play to the Toyota’s strengths extra.