The reborn hatchback version of the Toyota Corolla has only just made its debut on the market, but already indications are that a high-performance hybrid version is in the works… and they are just one step of short of confirmed. Toyota has made no official announcement, but several members of the company’s brain-trust are talking about it as if it is a done deal.
"I think that's what we are trying to say with the fact we have launched the 2.0-litre hybrid in the Corolla range. We are saying it is possible. We can make a more exciting, sporty hybrid. The technology is there. It's just the way you tune it."
- Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota in Europe, in interview with Auto Express.
These comments back up earlier ones made by Yasushi Ueda, chief engineer at Toyota for the Corolla Hatchback, to the effect that for him, the idea of turning the model into a sporty hybrid “sounded very good”.
Neither went so far as to confirm the project has been officially greenlit. But van Zyl did say that we would be seeing more sporty Toyotas be introduced in the near-future.
"Our aspiration is to offer a wide spread of GR vehicles to our customers to bring the excitement to the brand. As we go along with our product range, we will look at every one of the products and say 'ok, what is possible?' Does this model suit the GR range?”
- Johan van Zyl
Of course, from where we sit, the critical question remains whether this and other beefed-up Toyotas will make it across the oceans to North America. Odds are they will, but nothing is carved in stone.
Already, Toyota has made strides in offering more dynamic vehicles to consumers. The arrival of the Supra next year shows that Toyota is serious about its desire to spice up its model range.
The Supra is a big step in the right direction for the automaker; a sporty hybrid Corolla Hatch would be another.