There are some key players in the hot hatch space, with the first names coming readily to mind being the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Golf R, Renault Megane RS, Clio RS, Ford Focus ST, Focus RS - the list can go on a bit.
More recently, though, the definition of hot hatch as evolved as it more power becomes more accessible via smaller displacement engines and the (often necessary) addition of all-wheel drive to manage the extra oomph. Cars like the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG A 45 continue to push performance envelopes into supercar territory and the Honda Civic Type R, contrarily, rethinks what is possible with just a pair of driven front wheels.
Even Hyundai is getting in the same with their i30 N and Veloster N, offering an establishment-beating alternative to the same cars mentioned above despite having so little of the pedigree and experience. Toyota has both, but has not offered such a car into contention. That might change very soon.
With the Gazoo Racing (GR) division’s foray into fettled versions of existing production models underway with the Yaris GRMN and development of the all-new A90 Supra nearing completion, it’s clear that sportiness is quickly becoming a priority with the Japanese automaker.
Perhaps most impactful of all their cars is the Corolla which, in its newest form, is a much more aggressive looking object than it has ever been. Infused with its new looks and a rather talented set of standard dynamics, any intervention by the GR division can only yield positive results.
A Corolla hot hatch is no longer something to be imagined by enthusiasts, however, as Toyota have already expressed interest on the development of an entire multi-tiered product strategy for the Corolla hatch’s most exciting evolution yet.
Examples of the 12th-generation Corolla are already populating roads globally, but during his visit to Australia during the final stage testing tour of the A90 Supra, chief engineer Tetsuya Tada was asked about the where the company stood on a potential rival to the Hyundai i30 N.
His response was measured and worded conservatively, according to Motoring, and quick to praise Hyundai for their sizeable investment in both resources and time into fully fleshing out the car and its sporty characteristics. It’s a corporate approach that would ideally suit the gestation of a hypothetical Corolla GR, of course, not compromising quality to meet an unreasonable deadline.
Having said that, his caution upon attempting to provide a status update on where the project stood intimated a long road ahead, and a statement that Toyota would first need to decide on an appropriate brand strategy around Gazoo Racing that would include a a Corolla GR as well as other cars all but confirmed it to yet be in its early stages.