Last fall at the Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota rolled the GR Yaris, a high-performance version of its famous hatchback; the Web positively blew up, especially on this side of the Atlantic.
The fine print did indicate the future hot hatch was destined for the Japanese and European markets only, but that didn’t stop some people dreaming. However, the reality is that the Yaris offered in those markets and the one we have here – essentially a rebadged Mazda2 - are not the same. The GR Yaris was never coming here.
Things aren’t all bad on the hot hatch front, however. An American Toyota executive told Car and Driver magazine this past February that the Japanese firm had an "answer" to our North American pleadings – though he declined to provide any further details. The magazine immediately called up the idea of a beefed-up Corolla, with other publications imagining the arrival of a steroidal variant of the C-HR.
Now, according to Car and Driver, it’s definite that the Corolla will receive the GR treatment from the company's racing division, Gazoo Racing. The publication even pins an arrival year on the model: 2022, the same year in which a Corolla-based SUV is expected.
It’s also expected that the future GR Corolla will inherit the GR Yaris’ engine, a 1.6L turbocharged unit capable of spitting out 257 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. Power climbs as high as 268 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque with the GR Yaris variant reserved for the Japanese market.
The GR Corolla will undoubtedly be less extreme than the GR Yaris, however. That version, inspired by the world of rally racing, benefits from all-wheel drive, which allows it to accomplish the 0-100 km/h in 5.5 seconds. As a bonus, the GR Yaris can be equipped with optional limited-slip differentials on the front and rear axles.
The Corolla, on the other hand, has to send its power to the front. And then there's the weight issue. The GR Yaris weighs 2822 lb thanks to an aluminum hood, doors and tailgate, as well as a carbon-fibre roof. Our North American Corolla XSE is larger and weighs 3,060 lb.
Still, any news announcing the arrival of a spicier Corolla is welcome.
Better yet, the performance level of this future GR Corolla will allow it to compete directly with the Hyundai Veloster N, although the latter should itself benefit from more power as of next year. Then again, since Toyota has some time ahead of it, it will have the opportunity to readjust to match.