Unique JDM

Modern JDM Car | Toyota Prius PHV GR Sport

Most car guys are well familiar with the Toyota GR Yaris, or the Toyota GR Supra, but did you know there are a lot more GR spec models? Of course, not available for us westerners, but is restricted to the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM). This article will cover one of the more…unique models. The Toyota Prius PHV GR Sport.

What Does GR Mean?

GR stands for Gazoo Racing and is a performance division of Toyota which focuses on manufacturing and development of high-performance variants of pre-existing models. Models like the Toyota Yaris, GR 86, and GR Supra come to mind.

There are three different performance categories:

Entry-level: GR Sport

Mid-range: GR

Top-level: GRMN

The Toyota Prius falls in the entry-level category GR Sport. Let’s find out what the engineers at GR have done to the Prius to make it worthy of the GR badge.

Prius and Performance – Seriously?

The Prius has kind of always been marketed as a fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly vehicle. Performance has always been the last priority, well perhaps prioritized slightly above exterior design, but just slightly. So why in the world did they get the idea of making a performance variant of the least performing model of the brand? It’s not like your everyday Prius driver all of a sudden got really interested in racing.

So, they put a GR badge on a Prius, so it has a lot of performance then? Well…In a way. Performance is in the eye of the beholder. To some, performance equals a vehicle that can perform a quarter-mile in X amount of seconds, while for others performance is just how well the car can take and handle a corner. And that’s the thing with the Prius, it doesn’t really have that much horsepower. In fact, the GR Sport version has zero extra horsepower over the standard version. That means that the GR Sport Prius produces an incredible 121hp from the 1.8L I-4 together with the Hybrid System.

The Prius PHV GR Sport weighs in at about 1,550 kg, even considering the hybrid system, it is not a light vehicle. So far, there is not a lot indicating this is a performance version, so what is done to it? They obviously wouldn’t put a Toyota performance division badge on a car for no good reason, would they?

What Has GR Done to The Car?

They have done some upgrades to the car in comparison to the standard model. The first thing you’ll notice is the more aggressive exterior of the car. While not affecting the performance that much, it is an indication that there is something else to this car, other than the badging.

As you’ll know by the name, the Prius falls in the “entry-level” GR Sports category. That means you’ll not receive any engine upgrades such as in the GR Yaris or GR Supra which fall in the mid-level category. But what you do receive is GR special tuning suspension, additional structural bracing as well as various interior and exterior upgrades.

Unfortunately, aside from the structural bracing and suspension upgrade the remaining “upgrades” are simply design-related. It might feel and look like you’re in something special, but the fact is that you’re still in a Prius. A Prius with the exact same performance as the standard version nonetheless.


Unfortunately, the Toyota Prius PHV GR Sport tries to be something it is not. While it does have some minor suspension and chassis upgrades it doesn’t come close to being a “sporty car”. And even with those upgrades, the handling is not particularly great.

Clearly, the Prius GR Sport doesn’t live up to its name. GR had the opportunity to do more. Their 1.8L I4 produces 98hp, they could throw in any similar displacement engine and at least bump that power up to 150hp, then together with the hybrid system it would actually be somewhat of a special Prius. In our opinion, the Prius GR Sport is nothing but a normal Prius in fancy clothing and is thus not worth paying the premium price of getting one.

E. Lindgren

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