Featuring a sporty look and improved dynamic capabilities in base form, it appears a more powerful version of the new-generation Toyota Corolla could be on the cards.
The Corolla now offers a multi-link rear suspension and a 60 percent more rigid chassis than the car it replaces, thanks largely to the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which is also the foundation of the Prius, Camry and C-HR.
In that sense, it already has the underpinnings and looks to support a hot-hatch, it just needs the powertrain – and Toyota has within its reach a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine begging to find its way in the Corolla.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the launch of the new Corolla in San Diego last week, Corolla chief engineer, Yasushi Ueda said he would love to see a punchier version of the car, and indeed a hotter version of the car is under consideration for later in the model cycle.
“Personally? Of course,” Ueda said.
“This is one of the points that in the model life… it might be something… but the launch time for a direct performance vehicle with a 2.0-litre engine?
"No plans at the moment, but as we mentioned, in the model life, it might be another opportunity to enhance the product.”
Meanwhile, Toyota Australia vice president of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, said the car would be a near-certainty for Australia if (or when) it becomes available.
“[There are] no plans right now, but you know, with Gazoo Racing and the opportunity that it presents I think in the future, and should some sportier car become available in the Gazoo Racing lineup, it would be a car that would be very interested in and we would certainly do all of our market research to support bringing that car to our market,” Hanley said.
It seems likely a hot-hatch will be part of the new Toyota Corolla line-up, given the brand’s current emphasis on sporty models.
The Japanese giant has been keen to revitalise its brand image and offer a sportier lineup, as part of global CEO and self-admitted revhead, Akio Toyoda’s, plans to bring fun and excitement back to the line-up.
A Toyota Corolla GR would likely compete with the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Hyundai i30 N. It’s unclear whether the car would be manual-only, or if the company will work on a conventional automatic transmission for the car. Given its love affair with CVTs, there's no guarantee either way.