A new transmission is in development that would do wonders in the new GR Corolla.
Just as we get confirmation that the Toyota Supra will get a manual transmission, we learn that another model may gain an automatic transmission. The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla recently debuted sporting a six-speed manual box that's mated to a fiery 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine shelling out 300 horsepower. Currently, that's the only available transmission. But if a new report is to be believed, it could soon be offered with a new automatic.
Last month, Toyota was spotted testing a Yaris GR rally car (a sister vehicle to the GR Corolla) with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Car Watch reports that Toyota is using the Gazoo Racing Rally Challenge, which uses public roads and special stages, to develop the new transmission. Could this development work find its way into a road car?
Toyota doesn't currently build a sporty automatic transmission for its small cars. The standard Corolla gets a CVT and larger models like the Camry get an automatic which lacks a true manual mode that holds gears. This new transmission will be vastly different, even swapping the existing shift directions (away for up, and towards the driver for down). Now, drivers will push the shift lever forward for a downshift or towards the back for an upshift, which is more like a race car. This change was advised by Toyota's master driver, President Akio Toyoda.
Aside from changing the shift pattern, Toyota is working to make this new automatic smarter when shifting by itself. When it's complete, the conventional automatic could compete with dual-clutch units in the Volkswagen Golf GTI (and Golf R) and the Hyundai Veloster N. It's unclear if Toyota will homologate this new automatic box for the road-going GR Corolla, but it seems like developing a new transmission just for racing isn't the best use of resources. We know the upcoming Honda Civic Type R will be manual-only, but offering a two-pedal option is a great way to bolster sales in the US market.