GR Corolla Could Have Almost 300 HP, AWD And Cost In The Mid-$30K Range: Report

Illustration for article titled GR Corolla Could Have Almost 300 HP, AWD And Cost In The Mid-$30K Range: Report
Image: Toyota

Remember when the GR Yaris was announced and Toyota said it wouldn’t come to North America, but it also reassured us that we’d be getting a “hot hatch to call our own?” Yeah, we’re all still waiting on that Toyota. Fortunately, a sliver of a rumor’s just emerged from Japan that may give us an indication of what we can eventually expect in the long-awaited GR Corolla.


Toyota is reportedly targeting a goal of 296 horsepower from the same 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder that the GR Yaris has for the hot Corolla. Additionally, the hatch is purported to have a six-speed manual with rev matching, as well as a similar all-wheel drive system as the Yaris with the same driver-customizable torque split. The source of all this is Japan’s Car Sensor, by way of The Drive.

For a reminder on how the GR Yaris’ torque-split AWD system operates, check this excerpt from Ken Saito’s review:

In default Normal mode, the torque split is 60:40, like it would be in any normal front-biased 4WD hot hatch. It’s fairly conventional in this mode, feeling more like a very well-sorted FF hatchback.


Turn the dial left for Sport mode and it transforms completely. Some cars demand your attention at all times; others don’t need you to do anything except sit there and steer. The GR4 is constantly up for fun in this setting. Torque split is now 30 percent to the front and a hilarious 70 percent to the rear. Yes, that makes this a rear-biased hot hatch.

The price of all this goodness, according to Car Sensor, will probably fall somewhere between 3.5 million yen (~$32,400) and 4 million yen (~$37,000). In Japan, the GR Yaris RC (the cheapest way to get the 1.6-liter turbo and AWD) begins at 3.3 million yen.

Granted, all this relates to targets for the Japanese market, which doesn’t necessarily mean the car would cost the same here in the States.

If the GR Corolla landed along the low end of that estimate, it’d be a formidable opponent to the Veloster N, which begins at $32,350, makes about 20 less horsepower than the Corolla is rumored to and notably lacks all-wheel drive. So something tells me that the top end $37,000 estimate is more likely. For reference, the 306 HP, front-wheel drive Civic Type-R starts at $37,895.

Either way, I have to be honest — I’m a little disappointed. Not with the car, because I’m pretty confident it’ll be great no matter what it costs, but rather with the segment and price bracket the GR Corolla seems destined to fall into. If the Corolla is bigger and more powerful than the Yaris, it’ll also probably be pricier than the Yaris would have been, which will disappoint any enthusiast pining for more accessible performance cars.


Personally, no car on sale anywhere in the world matters to me more at this moment than the GR Yaris. I’d love nothing more than to blow an irresponsible proportion of my savings on one, but Toyota won’t give us that privilege. Hell, I only learned recently that the GR Yaris is actually on sale in Mexico, where it costs the equivalent of $35,180. That really makes you wonder how pricey the Corolla may wind up.

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. 2017 Fiesta ST. Wishes NASCAR was more like Daytona USA.



So, if anyone is interested, the way they can do the trick AWD system splits is combination common and clever. Its the exact same PTU/RDU single clutch configuration on demand awd system as pretty much anything Toyota these days, including a real rear diff instead of a twin clutch RDU. In most of these systems your nominal torque split can’t even be rear biased because the front is always engaged and doesn’t really have a variable component. In fully locked the torque split can go 0-100 or 100-0 as needed but then you lose all inter axle differentiation and the torque split is determined by weight on the axle and available traction. you can’t bias more than half of the torque nominally.

What they do here is simply overspeed the rear diff by a very small amount and upsize the clutch in the RDU. So in normal mode, the clutch slips a lot and a fixed nominal front bias is achieved. In sport mode the clutch applies more load for a little more, but still slips. In track mode the clutches STILL are slipping most of the time but because of the gear ratio differences the rear axle is capable of accepting more power at the ring than at the front.

The result is the rear axle is overspeeding the front but the clutches keep the speed differentiation in check.

Similar trick to Focus RS, but they use a Twin clutch system.

I know the RS has thermal issues preventing it from being used hard for long periods, and I think Toyota went large single clutch to avoid that exact issue, since the YARIS GR was meant as a WRC homologation special and they knew they would need something robust. The rear diff is a traditional (optional) passive TORSEN LSD.