Toyota Teases Idea of Performance Focused Corolla Variants

Toyota’s revamped 2020 Corolla has already made great strides in eliminating the rather mundane reputation that it managed to earn for itself over the past several decades, with the recently launched Corolla hatchback being a viable enthusiast focused offering. However, Toyota knows that some Corolla buyers want a bit more of everything in their drive (bigger brakes, more power, etc) and a recent statement by a high ranking Toyota executive could indicate that spicier versions of the Corolla are indeed in the works.

According to the Dutch auto enthusiast website AutoRAI, Toyota’s deputy chief designer Toshio Kanei appeared to reveal that the sportier Corollas would arrive in the marketplace, but under a two step system designed to help formally build the hierarchy of performance for the iconic compact. Step one would be the unveiling of a 180 horsepower version of the Corolla dubbed the Corolla GR. This particular model would feature the company’s 2.0 liter High Power hybrid powerplant, which could use the electric motor to help enhance acceleration and zippiness versus being used exclusively for hunting high mpg figures. Rumors suggest that this model is already on the way, with the GR possibly being revealed in March at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.


However, the item that has our undivided attention is the second step in this plan, the possible introduction of the Corolla GRMN which is allegedly already being worked on according to further statements issued by Kanei. The high ranking exec also told AutoRAI that Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division is supervising all aspects of development, with the project currently in the advanced planning stages. While key details of the model are predictably, being kept under heavy secrecy, Kanei did let slip that the Corolla GRMN would NOT be powered by a hybrid powerplant, but instead a pure internal combustion engine.

“We want more power, an even sportier engine, and lower CO2 emissions.. A four cylinder turbo engine with a capacity of about 1.6 liters can be interesting” he revealed to AutoRAI.


While all of this is very tempting, there are some elements of this alleged plan that do seem understated, especially since Toyota already offers a supercharged 1.8 liter engine that is capable of producing 209 horsepower. So the question then becomes why not just drop this particular engine under the hood of the Corolla GMNR versus spending time, resources, and money on an entirely new engine that would be designed just for this model?

Regardless of what eventually happens, look for both of these models to come with one key caveat, their unavailability to U.S. customers due to the proposed models not being able to meet emissions standards, as well as the tightening grip of crossovers and SUVS on the U.S. market. Yes folks, Newton’s third law applies to the latter, and it’s a shame since there is a certain part of our enthusiast heart that would love to see the U.S. not miss out on yet another spicy edition of the Corolla hatchback.