Like it or lump it, social media is now an outsized part of official corporate communications. It’s to the point where these channels have been seen exclusively used as platforms for official reveals of new models, depending on the demographic an automaker is trying to target. This time around, Toyota has snuck a shadowy reference to an upcoming hot hatch in the background of an otherwise innocuous post about the Corolla Hatchback.
Well, maybe not totally innocuous. The caption makes pithy references to shadows and spotlights, even though the picture’s subject is front and (mostly) center in a yard of stacked shipping containers. But check out that camouflaged car lurking in the shadowy background like a grumpy goth teenager. All signs point to it being a not-so-veiled reference to the upcoming Corolla GR.
Rumors have been abounding for some time now that Toyota is planning to apply some Gazoo Racing magic to the Corolla Hatchback, one which could be powered by the same 1.6L mill found in the Yaris GR. That three-banger makes a heady 257 horsepower, a number of ponies that would put the machine in fine league with the likes of similar rigs from VW and Honda (not to mention Hyundai), though its entirely possible engineers will find a way to crank even more horses out of that engine. A six-speed manual is all but assured.
Another outlet took pains to parse the image in Photoshop, which is good since the corporate overlords at VerticalScope only give us enough money to hammer out these missives on a broken Commodore 64. Photo wizardry shows the presence of words on the GR’s urban camo, ones which very likely say something to the effect of ‘GRFOUR’. If accurate, this could be a callout the rumor that this forthcoming hot Corolla will have power going to all four wheels. This would certainly bring the heat to Golf R and double the number of driven wheels found on the Civic Type R and Veloster N.
Toyota has plenty of room to play in this arena, given the apparent amount of power this engine is capable of enduring. It has been cranked to 375 hp in WRC form, for example, an environment in which emissions and daily driveability are not a concern. Should Toyota choose to target the Golf GTI, expect something in the range of 265 horsepower. But if the Golf R is in their crosshairs, a 315 hp monster is not out of the question. Given the likely presence of all-wheel drive, that’s the direction in which we hope the development travels.
Akio Toyoda has been vocal about his desire to shed Toyota’s stodgy image, a trap in which it was mired not too many years ago. We’ve already witnessed the new Supra and GR 86 in this market, not to mention rigs like the Yaris GR and WRC efforts in other countries. We’d be remiss not to mention the mystifying Camry TRD as well. Adding a GR Corolla Hatchback will further that goal while giving gearheads another grin-inducing option.
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