Currently reading: Toyota GR Corolla to avoid electrification push
Autocar expects 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbo unit that powers GR Yaris to return for a 257bhp-plus hot Corolla

Toyota's Gazoo Racing banner is set to buck the electrification trend with the upcoming GR Corolla.

Although it has yet to be confirmed and is unlikely to be launched until 2023, Toyota filed a trademark for the GR Corolla name last year. Insiders have told Autocar that such a car will “inevitably” be offered alongside the rally homologation special GR Yaris, introduced last year to critical acclaim, and the the straight-six petrol GR Toyota Supra.

This would make it the second Japanese manufacturer to skip electrification for a new performance model, with Honda set to retain a high-output turbocharged petrol engine for its next Civic Type R. 

A hot Corolla would also allow Toyota to leverage its substantial investment in the bespoke chassis and powertrain used in the GR Yaris, which makes use of some platform elements from the Toyota Corolla. If that is the intention, expect the 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbo unit to return with a similar (and reportedly understated) 257bhp claimed output and a four-wheel drive system with rear-biased torque distribution. Limited-slip differentials on both axles could also be an option.

It remains to be seen if such a car would be priced in line with full-on 4WD hot hatch rivals such as the Golf R, given the high-spec version of the GR Yaris already tops £33,000. Another direction Toyota could take, to allow the car to compete on price with cars such as the Ford Focus ST, would be to ditch the rear driven axle and retune the chassis and sophisticated multi-link suspension of the existing Corolla. This would make it slower than its sibling but reduce complexity and boost both profitability and customer affordability.

While some car makers are scaling back their combustion-engined performance operations to avoid CO2 fleet average fines, Toyota’s strong hybrid sales mix has enabled it to reduce its average emissions.

This, Toyota Europe executive vice-president Matt Harrison previously told Autocar, allows it to make more “CO2-heavy” cars that serve the brand by adding desirability and performance credentials.


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Stroudley 15 January 2021

Hope they do an estate version.


artill 16 January 2021

I dont know if an Estate version would sell, but if they did, it would be one i would pick. Either way, a hot Corolla with a manual box, sounds very appealing, assuming it to be less hardcore than the wonderful Yaris GR.

superstevie 15 January 2021

Kinda hope they skip the 4WD, do a FWD corolla to rival the GTi, to keep costs and weight down. There won't be an overlap with the Yaris GR then, and can be priced closer. It would make sense

xxxx 15 January 2021

Should have done it years ago, toyota's timing and planning is awful for the true petrol head.