Toyota on Tuesday introduced two new trims of Corolla, the GR Sport and Trek, both of which will make their formal debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show next week. One is mostly an aesthetics package, while the other makes a play for the heart of a growing segment. Let's take a look at both.
Corolla GR Sport
The Corolla is the second Toyota to pick up the new GR Sport trim, following the Yaris. Whereas the GRMN trims actually give Toyota's vehicles a dose of added performance, the GR Sport lineup is all about sporty aesthetics without any of the underlying bits that might compromise the otherwise sedate ride quality.
Exterior tweaks on the Corolla GR Sport include a new grille with dark chrome accents. There's also a sportier set of side skirts, rocker panels and a new rear diffuser out back. Special 18-inch alloy wheels come along for the ride, while LED headlights and tinted rear windows round things out. Inside, there are sportier seats wrapped in black fabric, and leather is optional. There's black and red stitching on the instrument panel, steering wheel and shifter, as well.
The GR Sport upgrade isn't limited to a single Corolla trim. It's available in both hatchback and Touring Sports wagon body styles, and both 1.8-liter and 2.0-liter hybrid powertrains are on offer. It goes on sale in Jan. 2020, but it's unclear if there's any chance of it coming to the US.
Subaru was the first modern automaker (AMC isn't modern, folks) to lift a wagon and give it some crossover-y credentials. The Outback proved popular, and other, similar vehicles have popped up in its wake, like the VW Golf Alltrack. Now, it's Toyota's turn to enter this segment.
The Corolla Trek is based on the Touring Sports wagon body, but it's been raised by about three-quarters of an inch. Like the Alltrack, it has additional body cladding around the wheel wells and lower parts of the body panels. It also wears a set of unique 17-inch wheels. Inside, it gets two-tone fabric seats and wood trim. Like the GR Sport trim, it's available with both 1.8-liter and 2.0-liter hybrid engine options.
While this variant would likely do pretty well in the US -- the Alltrack has, in short order, obliterated sales figures for the non-lifted Golf SportWagen -- there's a problem. Toyota doesn't actually sell the Corolla Touring Sports in the US, just the five-door hatchback. That means Toyota would either have to adapt the Trek to the hatchback for sale in the US, or it would have to introduce the Touring Sports wagon over here. I'd consider both situations a win, but it's unclear if Toyota is even thinking about this. Nevertheless, Roadshow will be on the ground in Geneva next week, so we'll see what sort of info we can wring from Toyota's executives at that time.