The Toyota GR Yaris is a tantalizing piece of forbidden fruit that’s not coming to the United States, but there’s still hope of a high-performance Corolla being available in America. A new rumor from Car Sensor in Japan suggests the model could have 296 horsepower (220.6 kilowatts or 300 metric horsepower).
The engine is reportedly a tuned version of the 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder from the GR Yaris. Pushing the engine to 296 hp from the current 257 hp (192 kW) shouldn’t be too hard because Litchfield already has kits that push the output 305 hp (227 kW).
The power runs through a six-speed manual gearbox. There’s all-wheel drive with three modes that alter the front-rear torque split.
According to Car Sensor, Toyota uses the five-door hatchback version of the Corolla as the basis for the GR version. The exterior tweaks include revised bumpers, wider front and rear fenders with ducts in them, and a vent in the hood for dissipating the heat from the engine.
An even more tantalizing detail from this bounty of rumors is about the GR Corolla’s price. According to this report, the hot hatch would have a price in Japan between 3.5 million yen ($32,395 at current exchange rates) and 4.0 million yen ($37,021). For comparison, the all-wheel-drive GR Yaris RZ has a starting price of 3.96 million yen ($36,650). If these numbers for the GR Corolla’s price turn out to be true, then the hot hatch could be quite a bargain.
In Japan, there might also be a GR version of the Corolla Touring wagon that would use a hybrid-assisted 2.0-liter engine. Since this model isn’t available in the US, the chances of it coming to America seem low.
The rumors suggest the GR Corolla would debut in 2021 but might not be on sale in the US until the 2023 model year. This still means the hot hatch could be in American showrooms by the second half of 2022. In 2019, Toshio Kanei, deputy chief designer at Toyota, confirmed that the vehicle was under development.