While we won't get the GR Yaris in America, there is the possibility of its powertrain making it here in a different car, like the CH-R or Corolla. After speaking to sources familiar with Toyota retail operations, it sounds like we may see a vehicle that is a combination of both. According to a retailer source that wished to remain anonymous, Toyota will be adding a crossover in the same category as the Subaru Crosstrek.
This Corolla crossover should appear sometime next year and, according to our source, is likely to replace the CH-R. And like some earlier trademark filings, it is likely that this new vehicle will be called the Corolla Cross. It's slated to be built at the Toyota-Mazda plant in Alabama and is probably the "new SUV model" for that facility referred to last summer. Our source also stated that the Corolla Cross will be counted as part of the "Corolla family," which means that sales of the sedan, hatchback, and crossover would be lumped together.
This car could be how the GR Yaris's powertrain comes to America. It gives Toyota a reason to offer the Corolla with all-wheel-drive and allows for more of the components to transfer, effectively spreading out the cost.
It is still too early to tell exactly how much of the powertrain would transfer over and if it would retain the manual transmission but the possibility of a GR Corolla hatchback or crossover seems a little more promising now based on the source we spoke to.
Replacing the CH-R with a Corolla crossover could make sense since the Corolla name is more recognizable, and if Toyota is able to add all-wheel-drive, it will make it a better competitor. While both the Corolla and CH-R are built on similar variants of the TNGA platform, moving the crossover to the Corolla line could offer more interior space; the Corolla rides on a wheelbase that is almost three inches longer.
Making it more rugged should not be an issue either. The CH-R only has 0.8 inches more ground clearance than the Corolla hatchback. While another crossover may not be what enthusiasts are looking for, it may help bring some rally-bred components to our shores and possibly even allow them to end up in a hatchback. We’ll be following along to see how this develops.