I’ve been a fan of small, sporty Toyotas ever since my buddy told me about riding around California as a kid in his dad’s 1980s FX16, a twin-cam hot hatch the world wasn’t ready for at the time. So I’m not mad that there’s a new 300-horsepower Toyota GR Corolla hot hatchback, I just find one coincidence funny.
It all started this morning when we first saw the leaked photos and specs of the car. The Jalopnik staff took one look at this boosted, AWD hatchback and... indeed, Toyota made what is basically a 2008 Subaru STI, also a 300-HP AWD rally-replica hatchback.
Jalopnik is so old that we were on the ‘08 STI press trip, and summarized it thusly:
Why you should buy this car:
You’re a fast driver looking for a car you can wring the last drop of performance from, rewarding your mad skills. You want to be a fast driver and improve your not-yet-mad skills in a truly capable, but friendly car. You want to embarrass owners of fine, exotic automobiles. You have no shame.
There’s nothing in that description that wouldn’t say the same about the new GR Corolla.
The two cars even both have tall fender vents behind the front wheels. This in and of itself is not all that humorous. After all, making a 300-HP hot hatchback is not endemic to Subaru. There are plenty of VWs and Fords that have been doing the exact same job for years, with AWD and not, looking all about the same, going about as fast, costing as much, on and on.
What’s funny is that just a few weeks ago Subaru told the world it would not be making a new STI for this current generation of WRX. And what’s so funny about that? Subaru and Toyota are partners!
The two companies have been working on sister cars for years now. They have gone through two generations of BRZ/86 twins and now have the wonderfully-named Solterra/bZ4X electric crossovers in their respective dealerships. I’m not saying that Toyota leaned on Subaru to keep the door open for the GR Corolla and not make a new STI. It wouldn’t make any sense, anyway. This genre of rally-ready car thrives off of intra-market competition. The STI is what it is because of the Mitsubishi Evo. It’s just a coincidence. I’m sure. At least, I’m pretty sure I’m sure.