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Is the Toyota GR Corolla getting an automatic transmission? A self-shifting rival to the Hyundai i30N and VW Golf GTI could be on the cards now

Toyota announced that the GR Yaris would be available with an automatic transmission but will the GR Corolla get one, too?

Last week Toyota used the Tokyo Auto Salon to reveal its updated GR Yaris scolding hot hatch complete with more grunt and - finally - an automatic transmission for those who don't practise the magical art of driving a manual.

Now the question is: will we see the same updates and the auto appear on its big sibling - the GR Corolla?

Like the GR Yaris, the GR Corolla was originally only built and sold with a six-speed manual gearbox

Toyota’s announcement last week that the GR Yaris would soon be available with an auto makes good business sense in a world where fewer people are choosing to change gears themselves.

“The GR Yaris now offers broader appeal for driving enthusiasts with the introduction of the automatic option which has been developed through hardcore use in professional motorsport,” Toyota’s press statement reads.

A Toyota spokesperson told CarsGuide that it’s too early to say if the auto will make it into the GR Corolla, too, but we think it’s a logical step given that it shares the same 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine as GR Yaris.

The current entry grade GR Corolla GTS starts at ,190.

As for the increase in grunt, well, the GR Corolla currently makes 221kW and 370Nm and the Morizo Edition produces even more torque at 400Nm.

The updated and incoming GR Yaris has been given a 24kW increase of 224kW and an extra 30Nm of torque at 400Nm.

Could the GR Corolla be given even more mumbo than the new GR Yaris from that same engine? Instinct says yes, but how much more is yet to be determined.

The GR Corolla currently makes 221kW and 370Nm.

Rumour has it that this G16E-GTS engine, in stock form, has a maximum ceiling of 500Nm, although Toyota would avoid doing anything that could compromise the reliability of any of its models.

Even if Toyota didn't increase the GR Corolla's engine output, it would still have more grunt that its Hyundai i30N rival that has a four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine making 202kW and 353Nm.

The i30N was also initially offered only with a manual gearbox before Hyundai introduced a dual-clutch automatic.

The updated GR Yaris has power and torque outputs of 224kW/400Nm.

The eight-speed auto given to the GR Yaris isn't a dual-clutch transmission, but a regular torque convertor auto that Toyota says has been developed by race engineers.

Interestingly, Lexus debuted its LBX Morizo RR Concept at Auto Salon this year. This uses the same G16E-GTS engine and makes an identical 224kW and 400Nm as the GR Yaris and has the eight-speed automatic.

The GR Corolla will almost certainly be offered with the auto too, then - but when? Well, given the super hot Corolla was only introduced two years ago and it’s taken four years since the GR Yaris launched for the updated version to be announced, then we could be waiting some time - like 2025 - before we see it.

The GR Corolla shares the same 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine as GR Yaris.

One thing the Toyota spokesperson assured us of is that neither the GR Yaris nor GR Corolla would lose their manual gearboxes.

Whether an updated GR Corolla would get the cabin tweaks and safety update is also way too early to say, but seeing as tech and taste moves so quickly in the car world we would expect improvements in line with the times.

As for the price, well you are absolutely likely to see an increase. The current entry grade GR Corolla GTS starts at $64,190 and steps up to $76,427 for the Morizo Edition.    

Richard Berry
Senior Journalist
Richard had wanted to be an astrophysicist since he was a small child. He was so determined that he made it through two years of a physics degree, despite zero mathematical ability. Unable to build a laser in an exam and failing to solve the theoretical challenge of keeping a satellite in orbit, his professor noted the success Richard was enjoying in the drama and writing courses he had been doing on the side. Even though Richard couldn’t see how a degree in story-telling and pretending would ever get him a job, he completed one anyway. Richard has since been a best-selling author and a journalist for 20 years, writing about science, music, finance, cars, TV, art, film, cars, theatre, architecture, food, and cars. He also really likes cars, and has owned an HQ ute, Citroen 2CV, XW Falcon, CV8 Monaro and currently, a 1951 Ford Tudor. A husband and dad, Richard’s hobbies also include astronomy.
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