Without the oversized rear wing, Toyota’s new GR Corolla almost looks subdued at first glance. But a keen eye that loves small cars and delights drivers will quickly find it no ordinary Corolla—far from it. With flared nostrils, an inline-three tornado, and protruding fenders that make it 2.3 inches wider than its smaller kin, this hot hatchback is the clearest manifestation of Toyota president Akio Toyoda’s vision to inject more excitement into his company’s products. .
Developed by Toyota’s motorsports and performance arm, Gazoo Racing, and built in a dedicated area of the company’s factory in Motomachi, Japan, the GR Corolla is a rally car-inspired race car that in its high-end specifications Morizo even bears the nickname Toyota boss. . Step into the Corolla’s familiar interior and you’ll find cushioned, cushioned sports seats and a satisfying short-throw shifter for the six-speed manual, the only transmission on offer. The configurable 12.3-inch gauge screen avoids funny animations for easy reading, with the gear selection indicator taking center stage. The pedals are spaced a bit apart for easy heel and toe ease, but the auto spin matching feature (which can be turned off) does better than most Nikes.
The GR wakes up to a dull blat reminiscent of a four-cylinder. Just under load, the triple-exit exhaust lets out the angry, offbeat thump of the turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-three that delivers a massive 25.2 psi of boost in standard tone. Horsepower is an even 300 at 6500 rpm — 185.4 pounds per liter — and torque is up to 273 pound-feet in most versions. Not much happens below 3000 rpm. But the close-ratio gearbox keeps the engine in the middle of its rev range, where it hits the hardest. With three cylinders at maximum snarl and the turbo chirping and whizzing loudly with every upshift, the 7000-rpm redline came fast. An estimated four-second run to 60 mph puts the GR in the hunt with the best of the sport-compact segment.
But this car does more than just generate speed—it pushes the pilot to regulate it. The standard GR-Four all-wheel-drive system can vary the front/rear torque split from 60/40 to 30/70 percent at the driver’s behest, although the Track mode 50/50 split is our preferred setting for the best balance. Torsen front and rear limited-slip differentials—optional on the base Core model, standard on the top trims—further increase traction, which, through tight corners, is stronger. Combined with fanatical turn-in response, a reinforced unibody and a slightly streamlined body, the GR Corolla feels solid yet very easy to throw on the front strut and multilink rear suspension. The recline to the brake pedals is firm and linear, and the four-piston front and two-piston rear stoppers lend themselves to the three-turbo rage.
Like the best hot hatches, the GR Corolla can also be quite civilian—after all, it’s still a Corolla, and retains many of the model’s practicalities and features, including adaptive cruise control. Its tight ride doesn’t put too much strain on your spine, thanks in part to the sidewalls of Michelin Pilot Sport 4’s 235/40R-18 summer tires (Morizo gets 245-wide Cup 2s). Factor in the lightweight, easily modulated clutch pedal and the amount of pop and bangs it retains from the exhaust, and there’s little wear on us after hours in the saddle of the Morizo example.
The GR will compete with the Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen Golf R when it goes on sale later this year. Toyota will import about 5,000 Core models for $36,995 annually. The Circuit Edition, with its protruding hood, carbon fiber roof, and larger rear spoiler, will cost over $7000 and add 1500 units. The Morizo, arriving late next year, will be priced at an exclusive $50,995.
The GR Corolla joins the GR86 and GR Supra in Toyota’s lineup of performance cars in the US. But unlike the two models, which Toyota co-developed with Subaru and BMW, the GR Corolla is an in-house endeavor. What Toyota has created is one of the most attractive driving cars ever.
The Morizo GR Corolla edition, so named for the alias Akio Toyoda used during the races, underwent strict modifications. Its 300-hp triple gets a 1.1 psi boost for 22 pound-feet of torque (295 total). The shorter gearing helps it slide off corners. To shave about 100 pounds off the 3300 pound GR, the trim replaced the rear seat with a pair of chassis supports. Rear door speakers, window adjusters and rear wipers are missing. Below that, the suspension is reset, and the wider Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s are mounted on 18-inch forged BBS wheels. Microsuede trim covers the interior, and larger brake lines adorn the front bumper. Morizos will be a rare sight, as only 200 will initially be built.
Toyota GR Corolla 2023
Vehicle Type: front engine, all wheel drive, 2 or 5 passengers, 4 door hatchback
turbocharged and inline-3 12-valve DOHC intercooler, aluminum block and head, ports and direct fuel injection
Displacement: 99 inches31618 cm3
Power: 300 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 273 or 295 lb-ft
6 speed manual
Wheelbase: 103.9 inches
Length: 173.6 inches
Width: 72.8 inches
Height: 57.2 inches
Restraint Weight (CD approximate): 3200–3300 lb
SHOW (CD EST)
60 mph: 4.6–4.7 seconds
100 mph: 11.7–11.8 seconds
1/4-Mile: 13.3–13.4 seconds
Top Speed: 143 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMICS (CD EST)
Combined/City/Highway: 24/21/28 mpg
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