Toyota Mulls Corolla As the Next Performance Model in GR Lineup

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
toyota mulls corolla as the next performance model in gr lineup

Ten years ago, Toyota fielded a solid lineup of passenger vehicles that were about as exciting as lukewarm tap water. However, the company has since embarked on a quest to change its trajectory and spice things up. Phase one included revision to the firm’s design language. Phase two involved tapping into the brand’s performance heritage and utilizing Gazoo Racing to help develop performance variants of existing models in Japan.

With models like the Supra making a return and other re-imaginings of performance icons in the works, things are now clipping along at full steam over at Toyota. Unfortunately, not all of its upcoming offerings make sense. While the TRD versions of the Camry and Avalon do more to bolster dynamics than sport-inspired appearance packages offered by other manufacturers, next month’s debut of the TRD Prius is utterly bewildering. These aren’t the first models that come to mind when one imagines Toyota injecting more pep and attitude into the brand.

Rumors of a menacing, GR-badged Corolla have been swelling for months, with claims of a hybrid system pushing 250 horsepower providing the power — more than enough to bloody the nose of several existing hot hatches. While chief engineer Tetsuya Tada hasn’t outright said such a vehicle is in the works, he’s been repeatedly pressed about the possibility by automotive outlets.

At this point, Tada-san has basically all but confirmed Toyota will build a faster Corolla, though he usually caps off the convo by denying the existence of any official plans. In crafting the company’s sporting future, Toyota now has to decide which performance model to build next. According to CarSales, Hyundai’s Veloster/i30 N may help push the Corolla to the top of the list.

“It’s not just Hyundai. Other car brands are doing this too, so we are researching this and we have to create the

brand strategy,” Tada told the outlet.

Aussie dealers have clamored for more GR models ever since Gazoo began enhancing road-going models, but the Corolla seems to be the one they want the most. According to Tada, this hasn’t simplified the issue. “We have lots of requests from different countries, so it’s really, really challenging to decide on the order [of GR models],” he explained.

It sounds to us like a faster Corolla is already in the works, and that Toyota just hasn’t decided on the amount of resources to allocate to it. If it were up to us, we would selfishly recommend as much manpower as possible. That’s not just because we want to see a GR Corolla, we also don’t want to wait. Presumably, whatever Toyota builds will first launch in Japan — leaving North America to sit and wonder while the brand decides whether or not to hand it over as a U.S.-spec model wearing the TRD badge.

Here’s hoping.

[Image: Toyota]

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  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Dec 29, 2018

    Minor quibble but I think they should resurrected GT-S name. Or maybe even the AllTrac name if they do all wheel drive. Iconic and would definitely fit the product. But I'll take anything I can get at this point in terms of a sporty small car!

    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Dec 29, 2018

      Agreed. If they get this thing right it will go on my shrinking list of potential Fiesta replacements in a year and a half.

  • Oberkanone Oberkanone on Dec 30, 2018

    What a tease. I'm not over the GRMN Yaris. 212HP in such a light weight chassis. Seeing it rocket around Nurburgring is joy and pain knowing it is denied to North America. GR Corolla is just news of future disappointment.

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