By on April 20, 2020

Recent trademark filings in Australia offered up tantalizing rumor fare for the hot hatch crowd, but the documents didn’t necessarily spell added future fun for Toyota-loving Americans. That, apparently, is now something they should expect.

The GR Corolla name will reportedly find a home on a three-cylinder version of the Corolla Hatchback — a vehicle whose piston count shouldn’t be scoffed at.

According to Car and Driver, the upcoming hot hatch will land in the U.S. in 2022, donning a turbocharged 1.6-liter three-pot first offered in the can’t-have-it-here GR (Gazoo Racing) Yaris. We’re not Europe, if you hadn’t noticed, so subcompacts remain an afterthought. However, the compact class still has a lot of life left in it.

The motor found in the GR Yaris generates 257 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque — a sizable leap up from the 169 hp and 151 lb-ft offered in existing 2.0-liter Corollas. In terms of its main rival’s output, a so-equipped GR Corolla would land right between the Honda Civic Si and Type R.

Indeed, from the Honda Civic Si and Type R to the Volkswagen Golf GTI and R and now the Hyundai Veloster N, enthusiasts are keeping affordable-ish compacts alive. And the GR Corolla is apparently set to add its name to that rivalry, starting, supposedly, around $30,000 USD.

Nothing official’s on the record from Toyota, though the automaker has shown an increasing willingness to indulge the wilder side of its mainly buttoned-down personality. The jointly developed Supra and TRD-badged Camry and Avalon speak to that desire to upgrade its image. For now, it’s worth noting that no U.S. trademark exists for a GR Corolla.

Another thing helping the blown Corolla hatch’s stateside trip is the enduring popularity of the Corolla itself. Toyota has done nearly all it can to keep customers buying, from adding a much-improved hatch to the lineup for MY2019, to a full revamp of the aging sedan for 2020. That effort saw the Corolla add a hybrid variant for the first time, giving eco-conscious Toyota lovers an alternative to the shrinking (and stigmatized) Prius.

As we told you early this year, the Corolla and Civic have staying power. Even as the market for crossovers reached near-saturation levels in 2019, the updated and diversified Corolla — as well as its main rival — managed to keep their customer base, with the Corolla eking out a narrow sales gain. Quite a feat. A true hot hatch variant would only serve to generate more interest in the once-pedestrian nameplate.

[Image: Toyota]

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20 Comments on “More Word on That Shadowy Hot Corolla…...”


  • avatar
    cprescott

    We’ve seen how well these “hot hatches” sell in the era of cupcake CUV’s and snowflake SUV’s. Well, the 500 that will be sold will go to good homes and soon meet telephone poles and trees.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      It’s not a Mustang.

      • 0 avatar
        warrant242

        It’s okay. The WRX will never be dethroned from its top spot in Fewest Pre-Owned Examples For Sale Without Crash Damage.

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          Previously held by the Acura RSX and its predecessor the Acura Integra before that.

          • 0 avatar
            Erikstrawn

            Actually, have you shopped first gen Scion xBs? They’re all on a salvage title.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            Thankfully, no. I have no reason to disbelieve you given the way I’ve seen them driven.

            The BRZ/86 twins have to be up there as well. I personally saw one whack the curb with the drivers’ side wheels after he tried to blow around me on a curve in slippery conditions while I was driving my old GTI some years ago.

            Seems like they’re always in various stages of questionably modified tune and driven by complete tools, no offense to anyone.

            Brought up the RSX because when my ex and I tried to buy a used one in 2006, they ALL, and I mean ALL, had accident histories, and they weren’t cheap either. We just gave up and bought a new one (which turned out to be a great car that we never wrecked).

  • avatar
    brettc

    Well this is exciting news. As with any rumoured car, I’ll believe it when I see it for sale on a lot, but this is something to potentially replace my C-Max in a couple of years.

    Glad Toyota is finally considering selling some less-beige cars that can actually haul things.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Interesting that this would be more powerful than their 2.0T.

    In general the Toyota/Lexus turbo engines seem to punch below their power ratings (aside from the BMW I6 in the Supra). I don’t know of that’s from long-term durability concerns or from an engineering gap.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      probably the former. A Camry/RAV4 owner wants zero hassle. Someone plunking down for a hot Corolla might not be put off by an issue here or there.

      plus don’t discount market positioning/segmentation. Wouldn’t want your hot hatch to be less powerful than mom’s SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        That’s probably true, although I’m still surprised they don’t at least pump up the Lexus F-sport versions (especially on the nonCUVs).

        Although maybe they don’t even sell enough of those care.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Thank goodness. Can’t wait to drive it. Should be a hoot.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    Around time rumours of this began, there was also mention of something called a “Corolla Cross” or something. I’m intrigued whether that might be something completely new, or perhaps a Golf AllTrac-ified version of the Corolla Tourer (wagon) sold in other markets. I’d be among the dozens interested.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Usually I confess how much I like turbos in general but how about Toyota’s 2.5 naturally aspirated 4 and a 6 speed manual? I know it only kicks out about 200 hp but it still seems like it would be pretty fun.

    “Big Engine + Little Car”

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “…1.6-liter three-pot…”

    I’ll stop there. This is 10K per cylinder. Mustang GT is way cheaper this way

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I’m in the + camp. I kinda like the styling over it’s competitors. But it would fair better at Veloster N pricing . More than a base GTI , less than Civic R. The new GTI, while I’m sure will be a better daily, went the way of Audi design. Too safe and boring for a hatch. It better have a mechanical front limited slip though.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Can we guarantee use of Premium fuel?

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Somewhere out there, the 1987 Chevy Sprint Turbo is smiling.

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