Toyota was practically forced into its official promise to bring an all-wheel-drive hatchback to the U.S. following the fanfare for the international-market GR Yaris hatch that America doesn’t get. A new rumor suggests Toyota may be pairing up with Subaru again to make it a reality by 2022.
Japan’s Best Car Magazine claims Toyota will base a new hatchback model on an upcoming Subaru AWD vehicle in development, reported to be approximately the size of the current Impreza hatchback. The magazine claims the car features a horizontally-opposed engine with Subaru’s symmetrical AWD, notably not the available AWD system Toyota developed for the GR Yaris.
An Impreza-sized hatchback with that engine setup and symmetrical AWD sure sounds like the recipe for the next-generation Subaru WRX STI that should be on the way soon, if we want to speculate. I’m not sure the hardcore folks at STI would be comfortable sharing their baby with Toyota like that. Then again, the planned Toyota could just be for a limited number of markets in North America, leaving the WRX STI (and GR Yaris) to battle it out in the rest of the world. Again, this is all pure speculation.
Of course, Subaru and Toyota have previously jointly developed the Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S and Toyota 86 sports cars, and that partnership has evolved into upcoming second-generation models for both automakers. This successful relationship makes the report about the two sharing a second model at least seem more plausible.
Autoblog points out Toyota recently refiled the trademark for the Toyota Celica sports car branding in the U.S., which could just be a standard legal procedure, or it could suggest Toyota is securing everything it needs to potentially bring back that nameplate on this upcoming hatchback. Remember the Celica GT-Four? Again, we are deep in speculation based on one magazine report with no named sources. But it feels good.