Toyota Thinks It Needs To Build The GR Corolla Of SUVs

Photo: Toyota
Photo: Toyota

Ask 100 people, and we’d be surprised if more than one of them had any idea what Gazoo Racing was or how it is related to Toyota. And yet, from the GR 86 to the GR Corolla, Toyota’s GR division has been turning out some incredible performance cars lately. We’re big fans even if the GR Supra has BMW DNA. So what’s next for GR now? According to Australia’s CarExpert, it sounds like GR has its eyes on a performance SUV.

Tomoya Takahashi, Toyota’s head of tuning and motorsports, told Australian journalists, “In the future, from my point of view we need a GR SUV. Some people can only use SUVs because they have a family or need space. To expand our brand, maybe an SUV is needed.”

He didn’t say when the GR SUV would happen or what vehicle would be the first to get the full GR treatment, but as CarExpert points out, Toyota certainly has no shortage of options. If we had to guess, we’d probably put our money on the Corolla Cross or RAV4 since those are sold in the U.S., as well as Europe and Australia, but as we saw with the GR Yaris, Toyota doesn’t necessarily need U.S. sales to justify building a performance car, so it’s entirely possible that other markets will get a GR C-HR while we get nothing.


With emissions laws tightening, we’d love to see Toyota offer an alternative to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, but the bZ4X doesn’t exactly strike us as the best starting point for Toyota’s first performance EV. We also can’t imagine GR has much interest in hot-rodding the Land Cruiser or 4Runner since they’re body-on-frame off-roaders that would require considerable resources to make them any good on a track.

And resources are definitely a concern, with Takahashi saying, “The GR company only has limited resources, so we need to prioritize.” So don’t expect a slew of new high-performance Toyota’s next year, but hey, maybe when Toyota redesigns the RAV4, we’ll get a GR version, too. And in light of what GR did to the Corolla, if that does happen, it’ll probably be an absolute blast to drive. Just don’t think too hard about what a GR RAV4 will probably cost because we’re probably not going to like it.

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