By on December 3, 2021

Like it or lump it, social media is now an outsized part of official corporate communications. It’s to the point where these channels have been seen exclusively used as platforms for official reveals of new models, depending on the demographic an automaker is trying to target. This time around, Toyota has snuck a shadowy reference to an upcoming hot hatch in the background of an otherwise innocuous post about the Corolla Hatchback.

Well, maybe not totally innocuous. The caption makes pithy references to shadows and spotlights, even though the picture’s subject is front and (mostly) center in a yard of stacked shipping containers. But check out that camouflaged car lurking in the shadowy background like a grumpy goth teenager. All signs point to it being a not-so-veiled reference to the upcoming Corolla GR.

Rumors have been abounding for some time now that Toyota is planning to apply some Gazoo Racing magic to the Corolla Hatchback, one which could be powered by the same 1.6L mill found in the Yaris GR. That three-banger makes a heady 257 horsepower, a number of ponies that would put the machine in fine league with the likes of similar rigs from VW and Honda (not to mention Hyundai), though its entirely possible engineers will find a way to crank even more horses out of that engine. A six-speed manual is all but assured.

Another outlet took pains to parse the image in Photoshop, which is good since the corporate overlords at VerticalScope only give us enough money to hammer out these missives on a broken Commodore 64. Photo wizardry shows the presence of words on the GR’s urban camo, ones which very likely say something to the effect of ‘GRFOUR’. If accurate, this could be a callout the rumor that this forthcoming hot Corolla will have power going to all four wheels. This would certainly bring the heat to Golf R and double the number of driven wheels found on the Civic Type R and Veloster N.

Toyota has plenty of room to play in this arena, given the apparent amount of power this engine is capable of enduring. It has been cranked to 375 hp in WRC form, for example, an environment in which emissions and daily driveability are not a concern. Should Toyota choose to target the Golf GTI, expect something in the range of 265 horsepower. But if the Golf R is in their crosshairs, a 315 hp monster is not out of the question. Given the likely presence of all-wheel drive, that’s the direction in which we hope the development travels.

Akio Toyoda has been vocal about his desire to shed Toyota’s stodgy image, a trap in which it was mired not too many years ago. We’ve already witnessed the new Supra and GR 86 in this market, not to mention rigs like the Yaris GR and WRC efforts in other countries. We’d be remiss not to mention the mystifying Camry TRD as well. Adding a GR Corolla Hatchback will further that goal while giving gearheads another grin-inducing option.

[Image: Toyota]

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18 Comments on “Toyota Corolla GR Lurks in Official Instagram Post...”


  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Use the ‘enhance’ key.

  • avatar
    Matt Posky

    I’m very worried I’ll eventually end up buying one of these.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    The Corolla hatch styling appeals to me more than any Golf derivative, maybe because of the rake of the hatchback. I always appreciated the Focus hatch. Toyota would be prudent to price it at GTI levels with AWD which is appealing to most. I sure would prefer this to the new WRX which looks gangly to me.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    A 257-hp three banger? Sounds manic. I like it.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      For a current production car, it’s almost bizarre. Really sluggish, to the point of almost wanting to stall under any load, below 2700 or so. Then, within the next few hundred rpm, it goes full bonkers. And keeps at it to redline. With every part of the GR Four driveline tight, direct and mechanical. Seemingly no concern paid to making any part of it “forgiving,” or “flattering,” at the expense of high ultimate limits, as has been done with every other “performance” car for the past two decades. Maximally communicative, consistent and mechanical. Like a throwback to the first gen Porsche GTs, S2000, Elise and Evo. Just in a form factor, and with comfort, that is much more daily driver suited than those.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    “Akio Toyoda has been vocal about his desire to shed Toyota’s stodgy image…We’ve already witnessed the new Supra and…the mystifying Camry TRD”

    Pathetic automatic scum

  • avatar
    05lgt

    If it doesn’t get way too many vents, flaps, diffusers and winglets it could be my next car.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Perhaps not the best year nor the best time of year (right after the biggest online shopping days of the year) to tie up part of a port and a bunch of shipping containers for a social media stunt.

    Translation: If any of my packages* are delayed, I’m blaming the youthss at Toyota’s US marketing arm.

    * Includes some Important Vehicle Components related to braking function, i.e. lives are at stake here. (‘How many deaths does Toyota consider acceptable?’) Won’t someone think of the children?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’m planning to buy some kind of stickshift toy, probably around mid- to late 2023. New cars in this class are one option, maybe the best because I don’t have a lot of patience with extravagant maintenance at the moment. If this is indeed as expected it’ll be on the test-drive list.

  • avatar

    anyone notice AutoNews has eliminated their comment section?

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    250 HP
    AWD
    Hatchback or Sedan

    Mazda3 Turbo, a vehicle you can buy and drive. So much more fun than driving an Instagram post.

  • avatar
    SnarkIsMyDefault

    Should call it the Corolla GRrrr!

    Some are already calling it the Grolla..

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