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The Next Toyota-Subaru Collab Might Be an AWD Hot Hatch

Automaker collaborations can lead to interesting vehicles. The modern Supra, for example, is the result of BMW and Toyota working together. And it’s because Toyota joined forces with Subaru that we have the 86 and BRZ. But new rumors suggest the two Japanese automakers aren’t done with their partnership. We’re hearing whispers that Toyota and Subaru are jointly developing an AWD hot hatch.

After the 86 and BRZ, Toyota and Subaru could release an AWD hot hatch

These rumors of a joint Toyota-Subaru hot hatch are courtesy of Japanese Best Car Web, Road & Track reports.

According to the Japanese site, the automakers are planning on making “an Impreza-sized” hot hatch with a “horizontally-opposed engine” and AWD. This sounds a lot like a hatchback version of the WRX, Autoblog points out, right down to the boxer (‘horizontally-opposed’) engine. And The Drive reports that the specific engine mentioned, a 2.4-liter flat-four, matches the 2022 BRZ’s engine. However, unlike the RWD sports car, this new Toyota/Subaru hot hatch will be turbocharged.

A red 2021 Toyota GR Yaris slides on a track
2021 Toyota GR Yaris | Toyota

Initially, it was believed that this planned hot hatch would use the same AWD system as the Toyota GR Yaris, MotorAuthority reports. However, according to information received by Australia’s Cars Guide, it appears Subaru is providing the hot hatch’s AWD system. What’s more, Cars Guide reports that this hatchback will slot in-between the WRX and WRX STI.

Could this be the return of the Toyota Celica GT-Four and Subaru WRX hatchback?

A black 1994 Toyota Celica GT-Four
1994 Toyota Celica GT-Four | Bring a Trailer

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We already know Toyota is planning on bringing in a hot hatch version of the Corolla in the style of the GR Yaris. It’s possible, R&T muses, that this upcoming Toyota-Subaru project will become that Corolla. However, there is another possibility.

Back in the ‘90s, the AWD Toyota Celica GT-Four was a dominating force in rallying. US fans, though, never got the last and best version, though it’s now import-eligible. Bringing back the Celica name on an AWD hot hatch makes a lot of sense, historically speaking. And what’s more, Toyota renewed the Celica trademark earlier in 2021, The Drive reports. So, it’s not an impossibility.

A black 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX hatch on a backcountry road
2009 Subaru Impreza WRX hatch | Subaru

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Subaru also has a historical precedent for offering an AWD hot hatch. Although the WRX was briefly available as a wagon, after 2007 that body-style was replaced with a hatchback, Motor1 reports. It disappeared after the 2014 model year, Driving.ca reports, though it still has plenty of die-hard fans. Since the next-gen 2022 WRX is set to debut at the end of 2021, Car and Driver reports, it’s perfect timing to bring the hatch back.

What’s still uncertain

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Given how much Subaru tech there seems to be in this planned AWD hot hatch, it’s unclear what, if anything, Toyota is contributing. Which, admittedly, isn’t too different from the initial situation with the Supra. The Drive speculates that it could be a way of giving US customers a ‘GR Corolla’ without heavy investment. Or, Autoblog muses, it could be a way for Subaru to make up to European customers for them not getting the 2022 BRZ.

There’s also the matter of hard numbers and specs. We don’t know how much horsepower this Toyota-Subaru hot hatch could have, or how much it might cost. There’s also no official release date, though Cars Guide reports that it could be as soon as September 2022.

Hopefully, one or both automakers will release a statement soon. But consider us cautiously excited about this collab.

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