By on May 7, 2020

Toyota appears to be ready to answer a call, hinting at — but stopping short of confirming — the future arrival of a small car with outsized performance on American shores.

The automaker’s U.S. arm greeted Thursday by gathering up consumers who’d like to hear more about a GR-badged hot hatch from the company. GR meaning Gazoo Racing, an abbreviation already slapped on a two-door Yaris screamer not available on this continent. Boasting a very blown three-cylinder and all-wheel drive, this Yaris is not your coworker’s wife’s commuter. Nor will its one-size-up sibling be anything to scoff at.

Toyota clearly sees opportunity in the compact hot hatch space, and rumors and trademarks have spoken to this for some time. Today, Toyota’s speaking about it.

“While GR Yaris isn’t coming to the U.S., perhaps it’s time the U.S. got a Toyota hot hatch to call its own,” the automaker stated. “One that continues to push the boundaries of performance.”

The link sends the viewer to a landing page that sings the GR Yaris’ praises and asks them to sign up for more info on a U.S. hot hatch entry. The car that dare not mention its name is the GR Corolla, a creation that thus far only exists in overseas trademarks and rumors. Car and Driver says it’s coming, bearing a mildly detuned version of the GR Yaris’ 268-horsepower 1.6-liter three-pot. Whether the model will follow in the Yaris’ tread marks and carry an all-wheel drive system  is unknown.

Hell, the C-HR crossover doesn’t even offer an AWD system in the U.S., and it shares a platform with the new-for-2019 Corolla Hatchback. The model does offer four-wheel motivation overseas, however.

The earlier report claims we could see this souped-up Corolla by 2022, with the model carrying a price of around $30,000. Such a vehicle would give Toyota a presence in a field it long ago vacated, providing potential Honda, Volkswagen, and Hyundai buyers with a viable challenger.

Is the GR Corolla really confirmed? All signs poitn to yes, even if Toyota’s not saying so. A quick check of the automaker’s recent U.S. patents still shows no sign of the impending hot hatch, though Corolla Cross remains on the books. That vehicle is most certainly not a hot hatch, unless soft-roading gets you all steamed up.

[Image: Steph Willems/TTAC]

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19 Comments on “Toyota: Is It Heat That You Want, Fellow Americans?...”

  • avatar

    That’s cool. I’m a big fan of this generation Corolla although I like the sedan more than the hatch.
    I’m also guessing this GR version will be manual-transmission only.

    • 0 avatar

      I kinda like this gen Corolla too. I’m curious what this “Corolla Cross” think will be. Will be a revamped CH-R compact ute thing, or will be something like an AllTrak/Crosstrek think utilizing the wagon body of the Corolla Touring Sports found in other markets. The later I would totally be interested in.

    • 0 avatar

      Americans that buy economy Japanese sedans are too poor to buy new. So this last two months could rewrite any new economy cars going forward.

      When Ford reported its Q1 earnings, one of the things it bragged about is that it’s selling a richer mix of vehicles with higher transaction prices. ALG, or Automotive Lease Guide, reports that new car prices in the U.S. shot up 5.7% in March or by nearly $2,000. So how can prices be shooting up when sales are so weak? Here’s our Autoline Insight. People who buy entry level or lower priced cars have been hit harder by the quarantines, so they’re not buying much. Take out those cheaper cars and what’s left has a higher transaction price. Also, commercial fleet sales are doing much better than retail. Those sales are mostly full-size pickups and vans, which have a higher transaction price than mid-market sedans. So average transaction prices are not going up because automakers are raising prices. It’s because the bottom end of the market is getting hit harder. Autoline Daily

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Cautiously Optimistic, but prepared for a sticker/blacked outt wheel/ground effect package.

  • avatar

    I think 30k is a little too much to hope for in this market and for who this car would be sold to. Reminds me of the same story as the FS-86 or whatever they call it now. Too high a transaction price for what it is. Now if you move them at 25k this could be something else.

    I would bet that’s where “hot hatch” success can be found.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Yeah, granted if it brings AWD or something it could shift the equation but power wise this is in the GTI/Focus ST class and those start in the 25-28 range. Further complicating it, this brings a 3 cylinder to the table. Now I am cool with that cylinder count in this sort of application, but many won’t be. Still it isn’t far behind the Velocter N with the performance pack power wise and those can be had around 30. That seems to be where the sub Golf-R/Civic Type R hot hatches sit. I wouldn’t call it overpriced yet though until where we know it stacks up against the competition all around. On the other side of the value equation, a Civic SI gives up over 50 HP to this car and it starts over 25k so again, I don’t think their pricing is crazy if the rest of the car delivers.

  • avatar

    Corolla GR – hmmmm price and performance delta remains to be seen

    86/BRZ 2nd gen – if we get a 2nd gen can it be priced and perform in a way that it doesn’t step on the Supra’s toes? But still better than the naturally aspirated one we get now. (given the current 86, I’d rather have a Miata.)

    Supra – once the 4cyl press embargo is over it will be very interesting to see how it is priced, what options are available, and how it performs.

  • avatar

    Sounds great but I can barely get in the back seat of a Corolla hatchback. I am 6’1″. And the front seats are not roomy either.

  • avatar

    Give us a GR Camry with manual or even the TRD Camry with manual!

  • avatar

    Will we recieve the GR Yaris?

    Toyota > Nein!

    Will we receive AWD?

    Toyota > Nein!

    Will we receive a compact with power to weight greater than or equal to the GR Yaris?

    Toyota > Nein!

    Will we receive the same engine as GR Yaris?

    Toyota > A “detuned” version, yes.

  • avatar

    This is great news. I do hope we get this.

  • avatar

    When I see Corolla I have an urge to vomit. It is called nausea. Sorry for graphic language.

    No, fellow Americans do not want this car.

  • avatar

    I’m a fan of small light fun cars.

    Don’t do it Toyota. Nobody is gonna care.

    Are there ANY small fun cars that sell decently in the USA these days? Maybe the GTI?

    Miata sells peanuts. Focus ST, etc are gone. MINI sells nothing. Who else am I forgetting?

  • avatar

    Regarding the Toyota Corolla hatchback. I own one. When I bought it, I thought it had dual exhaust. Then, when I brought it home, I realized that the exhaust outlets in the rear bumper were fake! ‘Talk about tacky! It like the way it drives but I’ve had regrets ever since.

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