Toyota’s GR performance world domination! Here’s what’s coming for Corolla, Land Cruiser, HiLux, RAV4
Toyota’s performance revolution is under way, with the brand having at last pulled the covers off (and let us get behind the wheel of) its first hot hatch in decades, the GR Yaris. But with plans to give the go-fast treatment to every core model in its range, now is the perfect time to take a closer look at just what will come next in the GR family, including the Toyota HiLux, Corolla, RAV4 and LandCruiser.
So without further ado, here’s everything we know so far about Toyota’s plan for global performance domination.
There’s little doubt the GR HiLux is the car Australian shoppers are waiting for more than any other, with the regular version topping this country’s best-seller list year after year.
But while other countries have already received GR HiLux products with varying levels of performance, Toyota in Australia has remained mostly quiet on its plans for our top-selling ute.
Toyota Gazoo Racing president Shigeki Tomoyama told media attending Le Mans that he wanted a road-going performance HiLux bred off the brand’s Dakar-winning tough truck.
Combine that with the fact Toyota in Australia has officially submitted a trademark application for a “GR HiLux” with the Government’s IP (intellectual property) office, it seems a it’s a matter of if, not when, for a hardcore HiLux.
Toyota had previously promised that any car given the GR badge would benefit from “noticeable” performance upgrades from its regular counterparts, and the brand here has continuously confirmed how eager it is to give its most popular vehicle the go-fast treatment.
“We have nothing announce. But like we’ve said in the past, we are not ruling truly out any model from GR modification,” a spokesperson has told CarsGuide. “We race the HiLux in Dakar, so it’s definitely not out of the question that we could see a vehicle like that some time in the future.”
In a lot of ways, Toyota’s decision to turn its GR torch to the Yaris ahead of the Corolla was a bit of a head-scratcher. The Corolla, after all, is the more popular passenger car, plus its size puts in the more traditional hot hatch category than the bite-sized Yaris.
But Yaris was first, and it appears the Corolla won’t even be second, with the rumours now swirling around the RAV4 (but more on that win a moment).
We do know that, as recently as February this year, a GR Corolla was in the planning stage, with Toyota’s deputy chief designer, Toshio Kanei, confirming a go-fast Corolla was being worked on.
“We are currently investigating what would be most effective for the European market, but a Corolla GRMN is certainly realistic,” he told Dutch publication AutoRAI.
“We are already working on that. This department has included the Corolla GRMN in the future plan, but for now the project is still in the planning stage.”
Since then, though, the company has gone a little quiet on the project, which isn’t to say it isn’t happening, just that it’s keeping its cards close to its chest on the subject.
Toyota Australia’s vice-president of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, has said there are “no plans at this stage” for a GR Corolla, but quickly followed up with “we would never rule it out”.
There are solid whispers out of Japan that a GR RAV4 is in the works, with the performance-focused SUV expected to break cover soon ahead of a 2021-2022 on-sale date.
The details are thin for now, but we do know that the GR Yaris’ chief engineer, Mr Naohiko Saito, has us that the the hot hatch’s powertrain would feed future GR product.
“It’s wasting time to 4WD system and 1.6-litre engine (for one car),” he said. “And so personally I’d like to use this powertrain for the other models.”
The most powerful RAV4 in Australia at present is the 163kW AWD hybrid, with Toyota here already saying no to the RAV4 Prime plug-on hybrid, which ups the power to 225kW and 228Nm, and drops the zero to 60mph (96.5km/h) sprint to just 5.8 seconds.
Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series
Details are finally starting to emerge about the hotly anticipated LandCruiser 300 Series, with reports from Japan suggesting the new model will debut in August packing a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 hybrid engine.
While that engine already sounds plenty punchy, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the LandCruiser will get some sort of performance makeover, though it’s very possible it will be restricted to cosmetic upgrades rather than a performance boost.
In fact, the brand’s sales and marketing boss, Matthew Harrison, has confirmed a GR Sport model would come to each of Toyota’s “core models”, and it doesn’t get much more core than the iconic LandCruiser.
“We are trying to build more of an obvious link to the GR brand, which is why we are establishing for each of our core models a GR Sport derivative. Some of the hybrid models will have a GR grade,” Harrison told Automotive News.
Now, it must be pointed out that not all GRs will be built equal. The brand has already confirmed that there will be GR Sport models (which we’re referring to with the LandCruiser), which will be cosmetic upgrades, then GR cars (like the Yaris), which will get a noticeable performance boost, and finally, full-fat GRMN cars, which will be the hardest, fastest vehicles in the Toyota stable.
Article Source: Cars Guide MagazineJanuary 30, 2020 9:02 am