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Toyota Hints GR Corolla with Automatic Gearbox Is Coming

It would seem Toyota wants to be a people-pleaser by giving customers what they want, which is a GR Corolla with an automatic transmission. The all-wheel-drive hot hatch is currently offered strictly with a stick shift but that could change since the auto is proving to be the more popular transmission among GR86 and Supra buyers.

Australian magazine Drive cites Sean Hanley, head of Toyota’s local sales and marketing, saying more than half of GR86 and Supra buyers have opted for the automatic. He added: “the data would indicate that people [would] gravitate to an auto if it was available.” Toyota Gazoo Racing President Tomoya Takahashi alluded an automatic GR Corolla is coming: “If there is customer demand, maybe.”

At the beginning of the year, we asked Toyota USA how many people got the GR models with a manual in 2023. Only 48 percent of buyers ordered a GR86 with three pedals last year when the GR Supra’s manual take rate was even lower, at 43 percent. The GR Corolla-rivaling Volkswagen Golf R was at 50/50 but the manual is going away with the upcoming facelift. The GTI is also going auto-only.

While Toyota stopped short of confirming the GR Corolla is getting an automatic, it likely wouldn’t be much of an effort to launch a two-pedal variant. The updated GR Yaris introduced at the beginning of the year paired the same turbocharged 1.6-liter, three-cylinder engine with a new torque-converter, eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The feisty supermini now even has an identical 300 hp and 295 lb-ft as its bigger brother. The auto ‘box added only about 40 pounds over the equivalent manual-equipped GR Yaris. This new automatic didn’t come at the expense of the manual, which soldiers on with the facelifted model. Hopefully, it’ll be the same story with the GR Corolla by allowing people to choose their preferred number of pedals.

An automatic-equipped GR Corolla might not be the only addition to the Gazoo Racing garage. Toyota’s go-faster division claims a GR-branded SUV is necessary. The argument is people in need of a larger, more spacious vehicle have to buy an SUV, so why not throw some extra performance on the side?

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