Toyota USA drops huge GR Corolla hint: Why the new 200kW Hyundai i30 N rival is guaranteed at this point

Toyota in the USA just can’t stop dropping hints about the incoming GR Corolla, with the 200kW, AWD Hyundai i30 N rival guaranteed at this point.

In the USA, Toyota has just pulled the covers off a Corolla hatchback special edition, with a bright red paint job, 18-inch alloys and a blacked-out body kit. Under the bonnet, though, is the same 2.0-litre petrol engine. 

But as always, the devil is in the detail, with Toyota promising “even more excitement still to come in the hatchback segment.”

This hint followed a similar revelation last week, when Toyota USA tweeted “While GR Yaris isn’t hitting the States…perhaps it’s time the U.S. got a hot hatch to call its own,” the tweet read. Before the brand followed up with “(A hot hatch) that continues to push the boundaries of performance. And one that can only come from Toyota Gazoo Racing. Are you with us?”

The car they’re referring to is GR Corolla, intially tipped for production in 2023, but, given the pre-launch hype machine has already swung into action, is now more likely to arrive even sooner. 

The GR Corolla will use the same 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine – good for 200kW and 370Nm – that powers the GR Yaris. It will get 4WD, wight-saving body panels and Toyota’s TNGA platform as standard.

Those outputs would be enough to propel the Corolla GR towards the top of the hot hatch podium, out-punching the Golf GTI (180kW and 370Nm) and the Hyundai i30 N (202kW and 353Nm), and even pushing it close to Golf R territory (213kW and 380Nm).

And how do we know, you might ask? Because the Toyota Yaris GR’s chief engineer, Naohiko Saito, told us.

“It’s wasting time to use a four-wheel drive system and this 1.6-litre engine (for one car). Personally, I’d like to use this powertrain for each of the other (GR) models,” he told CarsGuide at the launch of the GR Yaris in Portugal.

Toyota in Australia is yet to confirm the model, but has told CarsGuide that if such a vehicle were to become available, the brand would be first in the queue for it.

“We have always said that if international GR product were to become available, we would have our hand up for it,” a Toyota spokesperson told CarsGuide.