Toyota: No plans for GR SUVs

Toyota is saving its Gazoo Racing sub-brand for passenger cars, at least for now, and has ruled out any GR SUVs.

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William Stopford
William Stopford
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Don’t expect to see a Gazoo Racing SUV anytime soon.

While Toyota is rolling out softer GR Sport versions of some of its SUVs, the high-octane GR sub-brand is being reserved for passenger cars.

Bob Carter, Toyota North America’s executive vice president of sales, told Motor Trend the sub-brand will expand to include more cars.

“We have some Supra news coming, we have 86 news coming, but we have other models also coming. Come see me in a year from now,” Carter said.

On the prospect of a GR SUV, Carter said, “I don’t want to eliminate anything, but initially no.”

“The importance is exhilarating driving. When you go to SUVs you have higher center of gravities and it’s just not conducive. Nothing is off the table, but initially you can expect it to be a car-based vehicle. There’s still a market for that.”

With the GR Yaris off the table for North America, Carter’s remarks continue to telegraph Toyota’s intention to offer a GR Corolla.

“While GR Yaris isn’t hitting the states… perhaps it’s time the U.S. got a hot hatch to call its own,” Toyota USA said last year on Twitter.

Given the Corolla is now the only hatchback sold by Toyota in the US, it’s pretty clear what Toyota was implying.

Around the same time, Toyota also applied to trademark the GR Corolla, C-HR GR-Sport, and C-HR GR-S names in Australia, with the C-HR GR Sport launching locally at the end of 2020.

What will power the GR Corolla isn’t yet clear, but it’s likely to follow in the GR Yaris’s footsteps with a 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive.

In the GR Yaris, the engine outputs 200kW and 370Nm, good for a 100km/h sprint time of 5.5 seconds. Only a manual transmission is offered.

The GR sub-brand currently includes the Supra, with the upcoming, second-generation 86 adopting GR 86 branding.

Those seeking a sportier-looking Toyota SUV will have to settle for the C-HR GR Sport, which offers styling tweaks and a firmer suspension tune but no extra power.

The upcoming LandCruiser 300 Series will also offer a GR Sport variant, albeit with more of an off-road focus.

While it won’t offer any extra power, a leak out of South Africa suggests it’ll be the only model in the range with front and rear differential locks plus Toyota’s Electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (E-KDSS).

Toyota’s decision to thus far limit the GR name to passenger cars stands in contrast with the likes of Hyundai and Volkswagen.

Hyundai has revealed its first N-branded SUV, the front-wheel drive Kona N, while Volkswagen plans to introduce its T-Roc R and Tiguan R in Australia in 2022.

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William Stopford
William Stopford
William Stopford is a Journalist at CarExpert.
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