autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 

Toyota Corolla T Sport Is the Lotus of 2000s Hot Hatchbacks

The 9th-generation Toyota Corolla arrived in Japan in August 2000 and came to America almost two years later. It's the definition of bland, a simple white microwave with wheels. Yet it was available as a hot hatch that few know about, the Corolla T Sport.
Toyota Corolla T Sport Is the Lotus of 2000s Hot Hatchbacks 4 photos
Toyota Corolla T Sport Is the Lotus of 2000s Hot HatchbacksToyota Corolla T Sport Is the Lotus of 2000s Hot HatchbacksToyota Corolla T Sport Is the Lotus of 2000s Hot Hatchbacks
Hot hatchbacks were absurdly popular in Europe back in the 1990s and early 2000s. Every manufacturer had at least one or two, most of which have been discontinued and forgotten. Rumors talk of an all-new Toyota GR Corolla with AWD and a 300-hp turbo engine. But it wouldn't exactly be the first such hatch.

Between 2001 and 2005, the Corolla T Sport was offered in select markets with the 2ZZ-GE, a naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter with 16 valves that produced 190 hp and 180 Nm (133 lb-ft) of torque.

That doesn't exactly sound amazing, but hot hatches were very cheap and fun back in those days. To sample the experience of Toyota from 20 years ago, we turned to the videos by Dutch YouTube channel AutoTopNL. They let us experience everything, from the 8,000 rpm redline to what it's like to reach top speed on the Autobahn.

It's definitely like a shopping car from that era, with no steering wheel buttons, silver trim on the dash, and simple dials. She screams like an old Civic Type R, and that's because Toyota has its own VTEC—VVT-i, or Variable Valve Timing with intelligence.

In case the 2ZZ-GE engine code or sound sounds familiar, know that this is the famous Lotus Elise engine. The sports car used it until this 2011 special edition. The Toyota Corolla supposedly also had the supercharged version of the engine in the TTE Compressor, but it's super-rare. The more modern Yaris GRMN also used a supercharged 1.8-liter, but that was the 2ZR variety.

There were many more honest little toys like the T Sport in the 2000s. Ford was coming out with the first Fiesta ST, powered by a 2.0-liter. The MG ZR 160, the Golf V6 4Motion with a 2.8-liter, or the BMW 325ti Compact were also available. But the Clio RS and Civic Type R were considered kings of fun. Just check out young Richard Hammond's review to see how the Corolla compared.

Video thumbnail
Video thumbnail
Video thumbnail
Video thumbnail


 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories