This is very good news.
We've known for well over a year now that Toyota wants to have a Corolla hot hatchback. Potentially called the GR Corolla ('GR' stands for Gazoo Racing) when it hopefully launches for the 2023 model year, it'll be quite a different vehicle than today's Toyota Corolla Hatchback, a vehicle we've showered with praise.
This new information is coming to us today from an Autocar report which, unfortunately, has not been confirmed with the automaker. Still, the information certainly sounds credible and should get every hot hatch fan excited. Inside sources claim the GR Corolla will not have a gasoline-electric powertrain but will instead be a combustion-engined only machine, just like the next-generation Honda Civic Type R.
Supposedly, the GR Corolla will come powered by the same 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine found in the overseas-only GR Yaris. Total output should hit around 257 horsepower and, unlike the Type R, power will be routed to all four wheels instead of just the front two. This all-wheel drive system is also said to have rear-biased torque and limited-slip differentials on both ends could be optional.
If this is true, then the GR Yaris will have around 20 hp more than the new Volkswagen Golf GTI and, not to mention, a permanent AWD system found on the more expensive Golf R.
However, Toyota is still reportedly considering an alternative scenario that would drop the rear-driven axle but retune the chassis and multi-link suspension used in the regular Corolla. Why go this route? To save on costs, both for the automaker and customers. For example, a new FWD Honda Civic Type R begins at nearly $37,000 while a VW Golf R can't be had for anything less than $40,000. Toyota needs to find the right performance-cost balance.
Additional upgrades are said to include some exterior styling enhancements and an upgraded interior. And no, the Corolla sedan will not receive the GR treatment, though the GR Corolla hot hatch can be expected to be a global model.