Toyota in early 2020 said it planned to enter the hot hatch segment in the U.S., without providing any further details.
The automaker has however previously ruled out launching a hot hatch based on its subcompact Yaris here, so the newcomer is unlikely to be a version of the GR Yaris hot hatch sold overseas but rather something based on the compact Corolla Hatchback—something that’s finally been confirmed in a promotional video for the GR86 sports car.
We get glimpses of the new hot hatch, likely to be called a GR Corolla, first at the 3:30 mark and then again at the 3:55 mark. Toyota has also shown a camouflaged example in a teaser video from last December, a screen shot of which is included in the gallery. A debut should happen later this year.
The most potent powertrain in the Corolla at present is a 2.0-liter inline-4 good for 168 hp, but any GR Corolla will likely feature a serious step up in performance. One possibility is the 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-3 that delivers 268 hp in the GR Yaris. The GR Yaris also features all-wheel drive and a 6-speed manual transmission, and with any luck we’ll see these elements migrate into the GR Corolla as well.
Interestingly, Toyota engineer Naohiko Saito hinted at the possibility of the GR Yaris’ all-wheel-drive setup making it into more models during an interview with Carsguide published in 2020.
“It’s wasting time to use a four-wheel-drive system and this 1.6-liter engine (for only the Yaris GR),” he said. “Personally, I’d like to use this powertrain for each of the other (GR) models.”