It’s no secret the 2018 Toyota Corolla is a fan favorite. It’s always been a bread and butter car for the brand, but last year Toyota put some love into the little hatchback and gave it exceptional handling, performance and a price tag everyone can enjoy. No wonder it racked up a few accolades last year, including J.D Power’s award for highest Initial Quality. It also landed a spot in the GP100, our picks for the best products of the year. Moreover, it’s the second best-selling car in the world. Well, now Toyota is upgrading the pint-sized hero and leaning into the Corolla’s best attributes.
Gazoo Racing, the same Toyota skunkworks outfit that developed the new Supra let loose on the Corolla hatchback. Not much is known about the GR Sport Corolla other than it’ll get more aggressive bodywork, a two-tone paint job, sport seats and most importantly, tuned suspension.
It’s nice to see Toyota recognizing the Corolla’s strong points and further refining them. One of the most surprising aspects of the little front-wheel-drive hatchback is its handling, its balance and stability through corners. Prioritizing and amplifying the handling over power is the smart move for the next-level hatchback and keeps in line with what makes the car so good in the first place.
Besides, this is just the GR Sport version, alluding to an inevitable full-fledged Gazoo Racing trim later down the line. That top-spec Corolla will probably get a power boost. Who knows, maybe it’ll also get AWD to channel the World Rally Championship team and to take on the VW Golf R.
More will be revealed at next week’s Geneva Motor Show including pricing. For now, we know the 2020 Toyota Corolla is priced at $19,500 to start with the XSE at $25,450. The GR Sport will certainly sit above that but by how much? It’s a safe bet the GR Sport will go after the VW GTI (~$27,000) and save room for the full-flavor Corolla GR model to go above $30,000. Watch this space.