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GR Corolla is the most exciting new Toyota in years and it will be coming to South Africa. Toyota has said that its latest hot hatch will arrive in the local market this year and will surely excite fans of the Japanese brand.
Although the hot hatch market is narrowing, in both consumer demand and available models, Toyota is unconcerned about the business case for its most potent Corolla. Its interest is selling low-volume, overengineered hot hatchbacks. Something which has proven viable with GR Yaris.
For those who need a bit more space, and additional doors, the GR Corolla offers all the driver feedback and thrill of a GR Yaris, with more power, five-doors and a lot more passenger space.
Toyota’s larger platform GR hot hatch is powered by the same G16E-GTS used in GR Yaris. But the 1.6-litre turbocharged triple makes more power in Corolla application, boosting 224kW. That’s 26kW than you get in GR Yaris. Peak torque is 370Nm.
The Toyota for very keen drivers
Illustrating the purity of purpose with GR Corolla, is the only available gearbox choice: a six-speed manual. Unlike most of its German hot hatch rivals, the GR Corolla does not offer a dual-clutch transmission. Toyota believes that its GR hot hatch customers value the driver engagement of a manual gearbox.
Kerb weight is 55kg more than a standard Corolla, at 1475kg. But the go-faster version does contain more sophisticated components. And additional structural bracing. Toyota’s most potent Corolla should have excellent driver appeal. Much of that concerns the available mechanical grip and trick all-wheel drive system.
Clever all-wheel drive
Toyota has extensive experience with all-wheel and four-wheel drive racing vehicles. Its enormous success with the South African built Hilux V8 racing bakkies in Dakar rally raids, complemented by participation in WRC with Yaris, has given Toyota engineers a keen understanding of how to harness the benefits of all-wheel drive, without inducing unnecessary understeer.
With GR Corolla, a multi-clucth system interacts with the limited-slip differential to offer various torque splits. Drivers can select a torque distribution of 60:40, 50:50 or 30:70, front-to-rear. Depending on prevailing road surface and weather conditions. Or how they wish the GR Corolla to interpret their driver inputs and intentions.
GR Corolla has trick tyre options
Tyres are a crucial enabler for driver feedback and confidence with any high-performance car. To this end, Toyota will offer two tyre options with the GR Corolla. Depending on market, owners will either be rolling 235/40 series Yokohama Advan Apex V601s, or Michelin’s highly regarded Pilot Sport 4s.
Pricing and exact volume allocation are to be confirmed, but when GR Corolla does arrive in South Africa later this year, it will continue a proud legacy.
A legacy established by cars like the Avante RSi and 1.6-litre sixteen-valve Conquest RSi of the late 1980s and early 1990s.