So you think Toyota Corollas are dull?
Think again, because while the mainstream offerings have usually been pretty vanilla, Toyota has unleashed its crazy on a few versions of the Corolla over the years. Leaving aside the obviously cool Corollas, like the classic AE86, we look at five of the more interesting versions.
RunX Z Aero Tourer
While the E120 Corolla of 2000-07 could arguably be called the most boring Corolla of all times, it did feature a couple of brilliantly mad members in its family tree, one of which was the RunX Z Aero Tourer (also known as the RunX RSi in South Africa). The SA version was also sold in limited numbers as the Corolla GT in New Zealand.
The Aero Tourer packed the Yamaha-designed 2ZZ-GE 1.8-litre engine found in the Celica that pumped out 141kW, which was more than double the power of entry-level Corolla of the time. Strangely enough, however, the Aero Tourer wasn't the top of the tree in Corolla terms. That honour went to our next entry...
Corolla T-Sport Compressor
While the Aero Tourer doubled the base Corolla's power output, the European-only T-Sport Compressor wound up the mental by getting Yamaha to add a supercharger to the 2ZZ-GE engine. The result was a four-cylinder engine that pumped 162kW through the three-door hatchback Corolla's front wheels.
Only 250 were ever produced, so they are rather rare and sought after these days. Not something we ever thought we would write about a Corolla E120 hatch.
Blade Master G
In 2006 the Corolla hatch became known as the Auris, except in Australia and New Zealand. In Japan, the upscale version of the Auris was called the Blade and packed Lexus levels of interior trim and a 2.4-litre engine. But we're not interested in that, because there was also the Blade Master.
The Blade Master jammed the 206kW 3.5-litre 2GR-FE V6 engine out of the Aurion into the small Corolla body and it was every bit as silly as that sounds. Sure, it was a lead-tipped arrow when it came to corners, but it could fly in a straight line!
The 4A-GE four-cylinder petrol engine was a Yamaha-developed legend that powered the equally legendary AE86 Corolla, but slap a supercharger on a legend and what do you get? The 4A-GZE, that's what. Originally in the first MR-2 from 1986, Toyota also saw fit to jam it into the AE-92 Corolla. Just not all of them. It's complicated.
The AE-92 was the sporty off-shoot of the AE-90 from 1987 and was made up of the Sprinter GT liftback, the SE Limited and GT sedan, the Levin and Trueno two-door coupes and the FX, FX16, FX-GT and FX-ZS hatchbacks. There's quite a few legends in that lineup, too.
Yeah, okay, so you couldn't exactly rock up to your local Toyota dealer and buy one of these, but it is undoubtedly the ultimate Corolla.
Making its debut in 1997, the Corolla WRC was powered by a somewhat modified version of the 188kW (in standard form) 3S-GTE engine from the Celica GT-Four ST205, as well as that car's 4WD running gear. It won four rallies and one manufacturers' championship at the hands of Carlos Sainz and Didier Auriol before Toyota pulled out of the WRC to focus on Formula 1. Which didn't turn out to be such a great idea.
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