The latest version of the Toyota Corolla Hatchback looks cool, but let’s be honest — it’s not very hot. That’s been one of the largest criticisms aimed at the “Dynamic Force” engine, with just 168 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. Now, though, Car and Driver has some encouraging news in the form of a hotter version that will wear the GR (Gazoo Racing) badge.
Over the past couple years, Toyota has been working to shake off its reputation for making mundane cars. From the resurrected Supra as the company’s halo, we have TRD versions of the Camry and Avalon, a 302 horsepower RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid coming, and a brand new 86 in the pipeline as well. Toyota is even working on a hot GR Yaris overseas, though it’s unlikely we’ll see that here. Instead, this GR Corolla is the company’s olive branch to hot hatch enthusiasts who are looking for some alternatives to the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
To that end, this hot Corolla will pack a mighty turbocharged 1.6-liter engine with 257 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. That puts it right in line with the Mk8 Golf GTI, and in the same league as the Hyundai Veloster N. I wouldn’t count on Toyota going too berserk and offering all-wheel drive, but this would make the Corolla a notable option against the current contenders. It may even pull some folks away from the Honda Civic Type R, if the boy racer styling isn’t quite your thing.
It should arrive in 2022
The substantial power bump will accompany the standard car’s setup on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, but should incorporate a sportier ride through stiffer suspension tuning and larger wheels. Toyota already offers the standard Corolla Hatchback with a six-speed manual transmission, and they’ll have to stick with that here to please hot hatch enthusiasts.
Fortunately, the Corolla is already a pretty affordable car to begin with. With serious performance upgrades, it’s not too likely the car will run north of $30,000, keeping it well within reach of those who are considering a Golf GTI or a Veloster N. If Toyota can match the power with their legendary reputation for reliability — an area where Hyundai’s been challenging them in recent years — they could just have a winner on their hands.
To see just what we think about the “normal” Corolla, check out our unfiltered review below: