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Toyota planning hybrid Corolla hot hatch?

by Ronan Glon

It could get all-wheel drive, too.

In April, Toyota hinted its performance push could include a hot-rodded version of the Corolla Hatch (pictured) it introduced for the 2019 model year. One of the company's top officials recently suggested the Volkswagen GTI-fighting model could arrive as a hybrid.

Yasushi Ueda, the Corolla's chief engineer, told Australian website Drive the idea of a hot hatch powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain "sounds very good." While that's far from a confirmation, it's not a flat-out denial, either. The model would fit Toyota's push to build more enthusiast-friendly cars while channeling its decades-long expertise in the realm of hybrid cars.

"We don't have any detailed plans yet. Of course, in the future the idea of a hot hybrid sounds very good," he summed up. While he didn't provide specific technical details, he added a hot-rodded Corolla Hatch could arrive with all-wheel drive because it's built on Toyota's modular TNGA platform. In this configuration, the four-cylinder engine would spin the front wheels while the electric motor would zap the rear wheels into motion.

The model hasn't received the green light for production yet. If it does, it won't arrive until 2020 at the very earliest, according to an earlier report. It wouldn't be Toyota's only high-performance hybrid. Eager to capitalize on its recent win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the company is busily developing a hybrid variant of the born-again Supra it designed jointly with BMW.

Photography by Ronan Glon.