And yes, this battle is coming to America.
A few months ago we learned Toyota is currently working on a Corolla hot hatchback and it'll supposedly wear the GR badge. The Toyota Corolla Hatchback is already a part of the US lineup but hot hatches are definitely more of a niche player. They're not for everyone but competitors like Honda and Volkswagen appear to be committed to them for now. The Ford Focus ST? Well, we all know what happened there.
Fortunately, a new report from Car and Driver claims Toyota is moving ahead with plans to launch a Corolla hot hatch in not only Europe but in America as well. Supposedly set to hit the market in 2022, the Toyota GR Corolla will come powered by the same turbocharged 1.6-liter three-cylinder found in the overseas-only GR Yaris, where it produces a mighty 257 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. Not bad for a three-pot.
However, the GR Yaris's all-wheel drive system is not expected to be carried over to the GR Corolla. No reason was given but we suspect it mainly boils down to excess weight. But there is good news: a six-speed manual will be offered and engineers are upgrading the hatchback's suspension with a stiffer tune, beefier brakes, and larger wheels wearing summer rubber. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it's possible there will be some delays in getting the GR Corolla to market, but it's still too early to know for sure.
The matter of pricing is also a vital factor. The Volkswagen GTI and Honda Civic Type R, the two other FWD hot hatches that currently dominate the segment, are priced from about $30,000 and $36,000, respectively.
According to the latest information, Toyota is targeting a $30k base price - directly in line with the GTI and undercutting its longtime Japanese rival. This won't be the first time Toyota has launched a sporty Corolla.
Does anyone remember the Corolla XRS from the early 2000s? This hidden gem came powered by a turbo four-cylinder rated at 170 hp but it was able to rev all the way to 8,200 rpm. Also, it was a sedan body style, so the GR Corolla will Toyota's first true hot hatch in America. We can hardly wait.