The Toyota Corolla has already been wearing the company’s GR Sport badge alongside the accompanying semi-sport aesthetic in multiple markets, including Thailand where the C-segment saloon is still known as the Altis (reminds us of simpler times).
Earlier this year, too, the Corolla GR Sport had been introduced in Taiwan of all places, making us wonder even more how hard UMW Toyota Malaysia might be lobbying for its arrival (or not) to our shores. With the rumours swirling of a new Vios variant fitted with some TRD-like touches, it would be nice to see the automaker surprise us with a duo of sporty new members to the local line-up.
It would certainly give both would-be Vios and Corolla buyers a little extra push in their direction, given that both cars are a little on the tame side. Particularly obvious is on the side of the larger model where the car’s natural proportions and athletic build give it so much potential to look properly aggressive given the right visual enhancements.
Other markets such as North America and Australia already have the Corolla in more varied and aggressive trim, though they contrast the exterior with a powertrain (usually hybrid) that’s more interested in fuel efficiency with dynamics to match.
For example, the Altis GR Sport in Thailand is powered by the same 1.8-litre naturally aspirated 2ZR-FBE - producing 140PS and 177Nm - that’s found in the Malaysian-spec Corolla. Paired to a CVT that drives the front wheels, it’s far from an autocross stormer but decent nonetheless. Most importantly, it’s a car that’s worthy of more imposing looks.
Onto the Vios GR Sport. Even its name is a point of heated conjecture as some contend it will be labelled TRD (at least in some markets) like past Vios generations. The leaked partly concealed red car spotted by RiderAth had its most important bits covered up but did expose its gloss black alloy wheels wearing a set of Toyo tyres. Very apt.
Aside from the cosmetic enhancements (over the recent facelift) that litter the exterior and interior, we do wonder if there will be any alterations made to endow the car with tighter driving characteristics over the standard Vios. Under the bonnet, expect to find the same 2NR-FE 1.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder with 107PS and 140Nm, mated to a CVT (with 7 virtual pre-set ratios) with paddle shifters in a front-wheel drive configuration.
Given the near-finished condition of the car, a Vios GR Sport hitting Malaysian showrooms looks to be on the cards for the near future. Our only hope here is that UMW Toyota chooses to include the Corolla GR Sport. Fingers crossed!
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