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Big Toyota GR Corolla update! New automatic transmission set for highly anticipated hot hatch and its GR Yaris sibling alongside existing manual gearbox

The GR Corolla is set to get two transmission options. (Image credit: Best Car Web)

Toyota has confirmed it is developing a new automatic transmission option for its emerging GR performance sub-brand, with the stage set for sold-out GR Yaris and incoming GR Corolla hot hatches to soon offer the two-pedal set-up.

Speaking with Car Watch, Toyota vice-chairman of the board of directors Shigeru Hayakawa detailed the fresh eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission (8AT) for the GR Yaris, which complements its existing six-speed manual gearbox (6MT).

According to the Japanese publication, the “completely newly designed” two-pedal set-up isn’t a dual-clutch unit, like that of the rivalling Volkswagen Golf R. Nor is it a continuously variable transmission (CVT), as seen in the regular Corolla and Yaris line-ups.

Mr Hayakawa, who is one of the development drivers for the 8AT, said the program’s focus isn’t just on fuel efficiency, but also quick but smooth gear changes, with paddle-shifters available. That said, the quickest performance is set to be provided by its self-shifting D (Drive) mode.

Interesting, the Toyota executive is racing a GR Yaris with the 8AT in Japan’s Gazoo Racing Rally Challenge, with the entry-level motorsport series giving him the opportunity to push it to its limits.

The 8AT comes with paddle-shifters. (Image credit: Car Watch)

All of this bodes well for the yet-to-be-revealed GR Corolla, which will borrow the 200kW GR Yaris’ 1.6-litre turbo-petrol three-cylinder engine, albeit with a widely rumoured 221kW tune.

It’s all but confirmed the GR Corolla will, therefore, also get the GR Yaris’ 6MT and, now, 8AT options to appeal to even more buyers. Of note, the latter’s trick GR-Four all-wheel-drive system has also been locked in.

The GR Corolla has already been teased in light camouflage.

As reported, a recent leak confirmed the GR Corolla will be released in the US in October, pointing to an official debut in the coming months. It’s already subject to an extensive cryptic teaser campaign.

An Australian launch could occur as soon as the fourth quarter of this year, although early 2023 seems likelier. Stay tuned.

Justin Hilliard
Head of Editorial
Justin’s dad chose to miss his birth because he wanted to watch Peter Brock hopefully win Bathurst, so it figures Justin grew up to have a car obsession, too – and don’t worry, his dad did turn up in time after some stern words from his mum. That said, despite loving cars and writing, Justin chose to pursue career paths that didn’t lend themselves to automotive journalism, before eventually ending up working as a computer technician. But that car itch just couldn’t be scratched by his chipped Volkswagen Golf R (Mk7), so he finally decided to give into the inevitable and study a Master of Journalism at the same time. And even with the long odds, Justin was lucky enough to land a full-time job as a motoring journalist soon after graduating and the rest, as they say, is history. These days, Justin happily finds himself working at CarsGuide during the biggest period of change yet for the automotive industry, which is perhaps the most exciting part of all. In case you’re wondering, Justin begrudgingly sold the Golf R (sans chip) and still has plans to buy his dream car, an E46 BMW M3 coupe (manual, of course), but he is in desperate need of a second car space – or maybe a third.
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