Toyota Might Take on the Ford Focus ST and VW Golf GTI with Corolla GR Hatchback
The Yaris GRMN is just the tip of the icebergby Ciprian Florea, on
Toyota made a surprising move last year by launching the Yaris GRMN as a competitor for the Volkswagen Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST. The hot hatchback was introduced shortly after Toyota launched the GR performance range in Japan, which includes a three-tier system with the entry-level GR Sport, the mid-range GR, and the flagship GRMN. A couple of models are already available in Japan, while the upcoming Supra will get all three versions at some point. Now word has it that Toyota is also pondering a high-performance version of the Corolla hatchback (Auris in Europe.)
Likely to arrive in 2020
Hanley made the statement in the context that GR-branded Toyotas will soon be offered in Australia, but it's safe to assume that the sportier Corolla will become a global vehicle.
The news comes from Toyota Australia’s vice-president of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, who told Motoring that a beefed-up version of the new Corolla is doable. Hanley made the statement in the context that GR-branded Toyotas will soon be offered in Australia, but it’s safe to assume that the sportier Corolla will become a global vehicle. Such a model wouldn’t arrive anytime soon though.
"I’d like to see it as soon as possible, but in the next three years I wouldn’t rule out the possibility or probability of something coming under the Gazoo Racing brand. We’re excited about GR and the possibility it brings in terms of product offerings in the future," said Hanley.
The new Corolla hatchback is a good platform for a performance hatchback in terms of styling
The Corolla/Auris GR will go against the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST, two of the most popular performance hatchbacks in Europe. The German vehicles were recently challenged by the Hyundai i30 N, and the Corolla GR will only make things that much more interesting in this niche.
However, Toyota needs a solid vehicle in order to stand a chance. A rendering made by X-Tomi Design suggests that the new Corolla hatchback is a good platform for a performance hatchback in terms of styling, but Toyota also needs a powerful engine and a competitive chassis. Fortunately, Gazoo Racing has plenty of experience here, and if the Yaris GRMN is any indication, the Corolla GR should be a great deal of fun.
Serious fire-power under the hood
Toyota and Gazoo Racing need to consider a rating of at least 240 horsepower
Output-wise, the Corolla GR will need well in excess of 200 horsepower to compete with Volkswagen and Ford. The current GTI cranks up to 242 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque with the Performance Package, while the Focus ST delivers a solid 252 horses and 270 pound-feet. These figures will increase soon as both VW and Ford are preparing new-generation models, so Toyota and Gazoo Racing need to consider a rating of at least 240 horsepower.
Read our full review on the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback.
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