Toyota Corolla Sport GRMN to get AWD, too

Jonathon Ramsey

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The WRC-inspired Toyota GR Yaris is one of the hot hatches nabbing lots of attention this year. The Japanese automaker has promised a version for the U.S., albeit on a different platform, and apparently with a different naming scheme. A report in Japan's Best Car magazine, via The Drive, says the potent Corolla rumored headed our way will be called the Corolla Sport GRMN, and it could debut for certain markets as soon as this fall. By any name, the hatch just got a lot more exciting if Best Car is right in saying the Corolla Sport GRMN will send some of its power to the rear axle, installing the "latest 4WD system that uses an electronically controlled coupling."

That sounds like a simpler setup to apportion torque than the 4WD system on the GR Yaris with its locking front and rear differentials. Depending on the tune and how much weight the machinery adds, having all tires contribute to forward progress could give Toyota's entry a sizable advantage over competition like the front-wheel drive Hyundai Veloster N and Volkswagen GTI. And ticking another vital box on the enthusiast's checklist, Toyota's six-speed manual transmission will be on tap for power transfer duty.

Best Car quotes output figures of 268 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque from the same 1.6-liter three-cylinder that propels the GR Yaris. If those numbers prove true, they could be specific to the Japanese market; the JDM GR Yaris achieves those numbers, while the European model makes 257 hp and 266 lb-ft. Our Corolla makes 168 hp and 151 lb-ft from a 2.0-liter "Dynamic Force" four-cylinder.

A previous report suggested the screamy Corolla should come in around $30,000, about $7,000 more than the current Corolla XSE and $2,000 more than the Veloster N, but that was before the news about AWD. Despite the prediction of a debut any time from later this year to spring of 2021, the five-door isn't due on the market here until 2022. It might be followed by a C-HR given the same powertrain transplant.

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