Toyota last year said it planned to enter the hot hatch segment in the U.S., without providing any further details.
The automaker has however previously ruled out launching a hot hatch based on its subcompact Yaris here, so the newcomer is unlikely to be a version of the GR Yaris hot hatch sold overseas but rather something based on the compact Corolla Hatchback, something that's been rumored for years.
Now a Corolla hot hatch has been shown for the first time, albeit only briefly.
First spotted by Motor1, a recent promo video for the 2022 Toyota GR86 sports car posted to the Instagram page of Toyota's U.S. arm shows for a split second a camouflaged Corolla with a "GR" emblazoned on the side, the branding of Toyota's Gazoo Racing motorsport and tuning division.
An earlier version of the video showed the car in full but the current version only shows the front end. Fortunately Motor1 was able to take a screen shot of the full car, which is shown main.
The most potent powertrain in the Corolla at present is a 2.0-liter inline-4 good for 168 hp, but any GR Corolla will likely feature a serious step up in performance.
One possibility is the 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-3 that delivers 268 hp in the GR Yaris. The GR Yaris also features all-wheel drive and a 6-speed manual transmission, and with any luck we'll see these elements migrate into the GR Corolla as well.
Interestingly, Toyota engineer Naohiko Saito hinted at the possibility of the GR Yaris' all-wheel-drive setup making it into more models during an interview with Carsguide published in 2020.
"It’s wasting time to use a four-wheel-drive system and this 1.6-liter engine (for only the Yaris GR),” he said. “Personally, I’d like to use this powertrain for each of the other (GR) models."
Considering Toyota is now teasing the GR Corolla, the debut will likely happen next year.