Subaru and Toyota could join forces on rally-inspired AWD hot hatch

Ben Hsu
·2-min read



A report out of Japan states that Subaru and Toyota might be working jointly on an all-wheel-drive high-performance car. The rumored hot hatch is said take inspiration from the rally machines both companies fielded from their 1990s heydays.

According to Japan's Best Car magazine, the car fits in the footprint of an Impreza Sport, what we know in the US as the Impreza hatchback. Power allegedly comes from a 2.4-liter horizontally-opposed, turbocharged four-cylinder, and the AWD system is not the one found in the fire-breathing GR Yaris. Rather, the report says, it will feature symmetrical all-wheel-drive, a signature Subaru technology.

Reading between the lines, it would seem that this will be a largely Subaru-developed project, akin to the BRZ/86 twins. The size and engine hint at a WRX or WRX STI on the Subaru side using the FA24 that powers everything from the BRZ (in naturally aspirated form) to the Ascent (with a turbo for 260-horsepower).

While this sounds like the proper formula for a WRX, we're putting on our skeptic's hat for a moment. Subaru has stated that it sees the rally-bred WRX STI as the pinnacle of its performance philosophy, even above a purer sports car like the BRZ, and that's something it might be reluctant to rebadge as a Toyota.

From the Toyota side of the equation, it's exciting to imagine a version of this car wearing a sleek coupe body. After all, Toyota did re-file for trademark of the Celica name last month, and an all-wheel-drive variant would fall in line perfectly with the Celica GT-Four's (known as the Celica All-Trac in the U.S.) success in the World Rally Championship. A Toyota-badged version might also help get Subaru performance cars into the European market, where Subaru is withdrawing the BRZ while Toyota will continue to offer the second-generation 86.

On the other hand, Toyota already has an AWD, WRC-homlogated hot hatch in the GR Yaris, so why add another car that might steal its thunder? Of course, the car may not be badged as a Celica. Perhaps it's the hot hatch destined for the U.S. that was promised last year.

We could spin our wheels forever speculating, but for now we'll just say that while it seems unlikely, we wouldn't be mad if we were wrong.

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