Toyota's US division's Instagram post subtly hints at a major rival to the VW Golf GTI, likely to arrive in 2023 and use the power of the GR Yaris
The first official images about the new Toyota GR Corolla Hot Hatch landed in a cryptic social media post – so subtle it went unnoticed for nearly a month.
The image, which was posted to Toyota USA's Instagram account on October 26, appears to be an innocent press shot of the interior of the standard Corolla. However, users of the Toyota enthusiast forums noticed a number of details that show that it is actually a teaser of the second hot hatch of the Gazoo Racing sub-brand.
Key details that almost went unnoticed include a message on the instrument panel saying “G: 16” where the time would normally be shown. This is understood to be a reference to the GR Yaris' G16E-GTS engine code for its turbocharged three-cylinder unit.
The GR Corolla – expected to go on sale in 2023 – is expected to be powered by the same 1.6-litre petrol engine, which produces 268 hp in the Japanese market GR Yaris. This power figure is also hinted at in the Instagram post, which shows the numbers 2, 6, and 8 displayed on the Corolla's climate control buttons.
The biggest hint, however, is visible through the car's passenger window in the image. It appears to be a test prototype for the GR Corolla, using the same camouflage pattern used by the GR Yaris and GR86 during development. The image is too far away to distinguish any detail, however.
Another clue is the Corolla's satellite navigation system, which shows the car next to a road called "GR Four". That's Toyota's nickname for its performance all-wheel drive system, again used on the GR Yaris. The configuration uses limited-slip differentials on the front and rear axles, combined with an electronically controlled center differential.
It's the first time Toyota has apparently referenced the GR Corolla through official channels. However, the brand registered a trademark name for 'GR Corolla' in March 2020.