The compact SUV now comes with a race-inspired design upgrade.

Toyota has launched the sportily-styled GR Sport version of its C-HR compact SUV in the UK, with prices starting at £31,395. Inspired by Toyota’s Gazoo Racing motorsport division, the car benefits from sharper handling, as well as sporty exterior design tweaks and a race-inspired cabin.

At a glance, the GR Sport model is marked out by its black headlight and fog light housings, as well as the black central bumper section and the black background to the Toyota emblem. It gets black wheel arch surrounds, too, not to mention a more prominent front spoiler and dark-tinted LED headlights. At the back, meanwhile, there’s a black rear spoiler, under-bumper
trim and some ‘GR’ badging.

A bi-tone paint finish is standard, mixing a choice of eight different colours with a black roof, black pillars and black door mirror housings. Even the wheels are two-tone, with the 19-inch rims combining a black finish with bright machined faces.

2021 Toyota C-HR GR Sport (Europe)

The dark theme continues inside, with new fabric upholstery that incorporates a woven centre stripe in GT Sport colours. The GR branding appears on the sill scuff plates, too, while the steering wheel is trimmed in perforated leather and red contrast stitching. There’s also a contrasting silver line across the instrument panel, while the ignition button bears the GR Sport logo.

But the changes run more than skin deep. The GR Sport comes with stiffened front and rear springs, as well as retuned steering. These changes, Toyota claims, liven up the car’s handling, eliciting a more immediate response to steering inputs.

And as part of a 2021 update, all C-HR models get upgraded Toyota Safety Sense driver assistance technology, with new lane-keeping assistance and an autonomous emergency braking system that can now detect collisions with cyclists during daylight hours.

As with other models in the C-HR range, the GR Sport is offered with a choice of two engines: the 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid or a 2-litre version of the same powertrain. The former is a 121 bhp unit capable of accelerating to 62 mph in 11 seconds, while the latter boasts 181 bhp and cuts the 0-62 mph time to 8.2 seconds. Both come with front-wheel drive and automatic transmissions.

Prices start at £31,395 for the 1.8-litre model, but rise to £33,015 for the 2-litre version. However, that price can rise if you choose the alcantara upholstery or the JBL audio system.

Gallery: 2021 Toyota C-HR GR Sport (Europe)