2023 Toyota GR Corolla - Performance, Price and Photos
The AWD GR Corolla blends everyday practicality with rally-bred performance and a manual gearboxby Khris Bharath, on
The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla made headlines when it finally broke cover a couple of months ago. This is because, for years, the enthusiast crowd has yearned for its little brother the GR Yaris, but that car was never sold here.
However, Toyota has come full circle and has launched the GR Corolla for 2023. Designed specifically for the U.S. market, it packs more power to compensate for the extra weight, all-wheel drive, and crucially, this one is stick-shift only for that proper analog driving experience inspired by Toyota’s roots in rallying.
2023 Toyota GR Corolla Performance and Capability
Gazoo Racing has worked its magic on the practical Corolla. Compared to the standard Corolla, the GR features a purpose-built GA-C platform that includes a more rigid chassis with more welds and adhesive, upgraded independent suspension, and better brakes, all in a bid to create a hatchback that feels just as at home on a track as it does on your way to the mall. There are two trims available: the base model Core and the fully kitted out Circuit Edition, the latter of which will be a limited run model.
It's amazing how Toyota has managed to squeeze so much power from a tiny displacement engine
Let’s address the elephant in the room, the engine. Under the hood lies the tiny 1.6-liter G16E-GTS turbo 3-pot engine that produces 300 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. This is in fact the same engine that is also featured in the Yaris, where it packs just 270 horses. Multi-oil jet piston cooling, larger-diameter exhaust valves, along with a single-scroll turbo help with maximizing power output.
The mark of a true performance car, just like in the old days, the GR packs a six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching. The circuit edition gets a limited-slip differential on both axles as standard while you can get it as an option on the Core trim as part of the Performance Package. However, every GR Corolla gets a sweet triple exhaust system with brushed stainless pipes, that not only sounds good but also looks the part.
As for the electronic AWD system (Toyota’s first sports AWD in nearly two decades), you can select the front/rear bias on the fly. You can toggle between
- 60-40 (Normal Mode)
- 50-50 (Track Mode)
- 30-70 (Sport Mode)
Developed with Toyota Gazoo Racing’s World Rally Team, the AWD system has been fine-tuned to perfection in a variety of conditions including dirt, rain, snow, and some pretty challenging race circuits, including Suzuka and Fuji Speedway.
|Engine Type||1.6-liter in-line three-cylinder intercooler turbo engine|
|Bore x Stroke||87.5 mm x 89.7 mm|
|Total displacement||1.618 Liters|
|Maximum output||300 hp|
|Maximum torque||273 lb-ft|
|Transmission||iMT (6-speed manual transmission)|
|Reduction ratio||1–4/5,6, Reverse 4.058／3.45|
|Rear||Ventilated disk (16-inch aluminum opposed 2-pot calipers)|
|Wheels||18-inch, Gloss Black, 15-spoke, cast alloy|
|Tires (front/rear)||235/40R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4|
|Fuel tank capacity||50 liters|
Perhaps the easiest way to tell a GR Corolla hatchback apart from a normal one is with the aggressive styling. Starting up-front you have this massive grille that pretty much makes up the front facia. The flared fenders and the aggressive body kit with the scoops, vents, and aero-bits are easy giveaways. The ones on the rear are reminiscent of some cool old-school Subaru’s from the late 90s and early 2000s.
The changes made to the bodywork have transformed the humble Corolla into quite a dramatic-looking thing, and it sure does qualify as a pocket rocket
But the flared fenders aren’t just for show and allow the GR to wear fatter Michelin Pilot Sport 235 section rubber on 18" rims along with slotted rotors. You also get red-painted GR calipers on the circuit edition as standard. Certainly a nice touch. You also have GR Four embossed on the rocker panels in pretty bold font, to leave nobody in doubt about what they’re looking at.
The triple exhaust system lives in an aggressive-looking rear diffuser, which is overkill for such a hatchback. But hey, this is a hot-hatch after all. There are some extras that you just can’t get on the core model. They include stuff like the power bulge and vents on the hood and the forged carbon-fiber roof (circuit edition only) which helps save about 22 pounds in weight.
The Core edition gets a body-colored roof with a regular hood. For improved aerodynamics, you also have rally-inspired canards, a flat floor, and a rear spoiler that help to reduce drag and improve downforce.
- Supersonic Red
- Heavy Metal Gray (Circuit Edition Only)
|Height||1,480 mm including antenna; the roof height is 1,455 mm|
|Vehicle weight||3249 lbs|
Interior Quality and Technology
This is very much a standard Corolla interior, in that everything is logically laid out and it will last you a lifetime. But maybe that’s a good thing. After all, this GR is all about the drive. Having said that, there are subtle touches that’ll remind you that this is something special.
Other highlights include the racey metallic pedals and the signature of Morizo (circuit edition only), the current Toyota CEO on the gear selector knob. You also get a proper mechanical handbrake, just what you need to get that tail-end out like the good old days.
Unlike some performance divisions, Toyota hasn't gone crazy with GR badges in the interior, which is a nice thing
The circuit model adds 6-way adjustable suede performance seats with red accent stitching in place of the cloth seats. In fact, red trim is what distinguishes the Circuit edition’s cabin from the base model, that’ll be a combination of black and silver trim. One big advantage that the GR Corolla has over the GR Yaris is the usable space with an extra row of seats. With seating for five, two extra doors, and a usable trunk, this could be a genuine daily driver, despite the insane performance on tap.
As for tech, you get a 12.3" digital driver’s display across both trims. It’ll feature three distinctive layout’s depending on what driving mode you’re in. Also standard is an 8" infotainment screen that handles typical stuff like smartphone connectivity, etc. Qi-wireless smartphone charging is standard on the Circuit edition and will be available as part of the Technology package on the Core model.
Here are the optional packages available for the core trim
|Performance package||Includes front and rear Torsen Limited Slip Differentials (LSD)|
|4-piston aluminum fixed-caliper disc brakes with red-painted calipers and GR logo|
|4-in. x 1.1-in. ventilated and slotted rotors (front)|
|-piston aluminum fixed-caliper disc brakes with red-painted calipers and GR logo|
|11.7-in. x 0.7-in. ventilated rotors (rear)|
|Technology package||Includes JBL® Premium Audio system with Clar-Fi®|
|Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging|
|Cold Weather Package||Includes heated front seats and heated steering wheel|
2023 Toyota GR Corolla Price and Availability
|Core Edition||$ 32,000 (est)|
|Circuit Edition||$ 40,000 (est)|
Toyota thinks that the base model Core will be more popular, which is why they’ll be building around 5100 examples as opposed to just 1500 units of the Circuit. Also, the Core will hit the road first, sometime in late 2022 while expect to see the Circuit make it here in early 2023.
Expect pricing to be pretty competitive. The 2023 Toyota GR Circuit edition is expected to cost $40,000 for the top-spec Circuit edition, while the Core edition could carry an estimated price of $32,000 This would make it very desirable and could end up giving its primary rivals a tough time.
Now although this GR Corolla is a performance hatchback through and through, it’s also a Corolla, which means you can expect it to be just as rational and safe as the regular variant. The Toyota Corolla has received the maximum five stars in the NHTSA testing. Apart from stuff like airbags, ABS, TCS, and ESC the GR Corolla comes with the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 suite of features. It includes the following features:
- Pre-collision warning
- Lane keep assist
- Lane departure warning
- Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Road sign assist
- Automatic High Beam Assist
- Hill Start Assist
The main rivals for the Toyota GR Corolla purely based on expected pricing, have to be the VW Golf R and the Honda Civic Type R. However, the GR Corolla might have it easy under the current circumstances. While the Golf R packs more power, it has come under some criticism for having clunky tech. The Civic on the other hand is a mid-life cycle and the next type-R won’t be here for a while. Plus with cars like the Ford Focus RS gone for good and Subaru cutting back its STi line, this leaves a sweet spot in the market for the GR Corolla to exploit.
With two trims to choose from, Toyota could attack the competition on two fronts. The base Core edition could take on the likes of the Hyundai Veloster N, the lower trim of the Civic Type R, and slightly less powerful, but equally potent Golf GTI, while the Circuit edition will tackle the Golf R and the Top-Spec Civic Type R.
The Toyota GR Corolla is so much more than your regular run-of-the-mill airport rental Corolla. It is in fact Gazoo Racings’ first-ever model designed and built from the ground up for North America. You know this GR is special when you realize that production will take place at the same plant where legends like the Lexus LFA and Supra A80 were born.
You can catch the GR Corolla in action in the video below