Matt Prior: Sometimes being a car journalist is a pain in the back

Matt Prior driving

Prior’s regular trips to ‘Cairo’ aren’t nearly as exotic as they sound

“Have you booked a chiropractic appointment because of the ride?” wrote a wag when I said that I would be running a Toyota GR Yaris, shortly to appear in the Our Cars section of the magazine.

Little did my correspondent know that I always have my next bimonthly chiropractic visit booked. But, dear reader, consider this a public service announcement: ride harshness has nothing to do with it

No, you could put a car on square wheels and give it shock absorbers from Thrust 2 and my spine still wouldn’t complain in the slightest. What it hates – and I mention this because, if you’re a high-mileage driver, it could be that yours does too – is quite simply the amount of time I spend sitting, not quite straight, pushing a pedal with my right foot.

If I’m on a circuit, sometimes I’ll be pushing pretty hard. And on some days, I’ll be pushing for hours. Different pedals, different bulkheads and different forces but, which give it individual appeal.” much of the time, the same leg and an askew driving position to do it.

This isn’t great for my pelvis, it took a chiropractor to diagnose. If I imagine pushing a wall with the same arm for hours, I can conceive getting a shoulder ache. I’m not sure why, then, I spent so long oofing and wondering: was it muscular? Was it a disc? What had I lifted badly?

Nothing: I’d just sat and winced as my pelvis drifted out of whack. Semi-regular chiropractic, plus more focused stretching between times, has kept my slide into middle age rather more graceful.

Yes, chiropractic is considered a complementary and alternative medicine, but it and osteopathy are the only CAMs that are regulated the same way as conventional medicine and ‘manual therapy for lower back pain’ is one of the limited CAMs that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has recommended.

I wonder, mind, what difference will be made by the rise of automatic and electric cars with only two pedals. As in karts, in most race cars and on simulators, if the pedals are set up correctly, you can transfer braking to the left peg. Driving is as sedentary an activity as it gets, but maybe evening out the forces will help.

■ To the GR Yaris, then. I’ve made two videos on this hot hatch and provided some scores for our 2020 Best Driver’s Car contests but otherwise not written a bean about it.

I’m still waiting for the inevitable mild backlash that comes – as it did with the Toyota GT86 and Alpine A110 – where some tester will tell you that, yeah, sure, they liked it, but not quite as much as everyone else said at the time.

Anyway, I’m not going to be that guy. I love the GR Yaris, although it is at its best if you’re going antisocially fast. From what I understand, people are ordering it in numbers, too, which isn’t a guarantee about cars like this.

I think that’s partly because it could be one of the last of its kind. When did we last see a car modified so heavily over its mainstream donor? And when will we see another purely mechanical car like it? And if you grew up loving Subaru Imprezas and Mitsubishi Lancer Evos but couldn’t afford one, maybe now you can.

And it’s a manual. I’ve not quite worked out how to left-foot brake and operate the clutch just yet.


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Source: Autocar

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