With 300 HP, a manual transmission and AWD, the Corolla has been given the full Gazoo treatment, transforming it from a humble family car to an outright track weaponby Khris Bharath, on LISTEN 00:24
Toyota has finally taken the wraps off their highly anticipated GR Corolla, and boy are the specs on this thing impressive. The Japanese auto giant has finally answered the call for a hot hatch, that Toyota fans have been asking for years now.
The GR Corolla has been launched in two trims
- GR Corolla Core
- GR Corolla Circuit Limited Edition (coming in 2023)
2023 Toyota GR Corolla Finally Answers The Call For A Hot Hatch That Fans Have Yearned For Years
Horsepower @ RPM:300
Torque @ RPM:273
To understand more about the GR Corolla, we first need to look at its little brother, the GR Yaris. While it might share its name with a tiny five-door city car, that is quite popular overseas, the GR Yaris was a 3-door only AWD monster, and it was a new car from the ground up. Its 1.6-liter engine was good for 260 horsepower, in a car that weighed around 2800 lbs. It in fact has its origins in WRC and had Toyota President, Akio Toyoda a.k.a Morizo’s blessing.
As a result, when the GR Yaris debuted, it epitomized the definition of the pocket rocket once again, and it was definitely a breath of fresh air in this crossover/SUV-crazy world, that we live in. For the first time in years, buyers could have a lot of fun, for not much money, and the best part? It had the Toyota stamp of reliability. So it comes as no surprise that the GR Yaris was a smash hit and demand for the GR Yaris was rife, with some people having to wait it out for months.
Now, unfortunately, this global-best seller never made it State-side and it certainly left a void in the market for folks looking for an affordable high-performance Toyota with a small footprint.
2023 Toyota GR Corolla
Well, that wait has finally come to an end with the new GR Corolla. The Corolla is one of Toyota’s longest-running model lines and has evolved over decades to include a range of body styles including, sedans, wagons, and of course hatchbacks. Digging in on the Corolla name’s racing lineage from the early 70s and its first-ever WRC victory, Akio Toyoda wanted to create a Corolla that captivates its customers.
With its vast experience in developing race cars, Gazoo racing has gone to town making a lot of changes to the standard Corolla, which includes weight reduction measures and proper upgrades, that scream track weapon, from a mile away. Prototypes of the GR Corolla were put to the test not just on race circuits, but also on dirt roads and snow-covered roads.
The thing that is almost immediately obvious about the GR Corolla is that it retains the 5-door body of the standard car. Having said that, it is as you can clearly see wider, by how much? 20 mm upfront and 30 mm wider rear fenders. As a result, the GR Corolla has a very nice low-slung stance. As part of the aero upgrades, you’ve got a bigger air intake in the front bumper, air breathers on the hood, and a rear spoiler. You’ve also got a flat floor under the car, to further reduce drag.
The body of the Corolla, which uses a modified version of the GA-C platform has been strengthened considerably over the standard model with additional weld points and extensive use of structural adhesive, the use of CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic) roof (circuit edition only) that also helps with saving weight just like on the GR Yaris, the addition of braces between the rear wheel wells and the floor. The GR Corolla tips the scales at 3249 pounds.
- Supersonic Red
- Heavy Metal Gray (Circuit Edition)
The sporty theme continues onto the inside as well, thanks in part to a good dose of suede and synthetic leather on the sporty bucket seats. You’ve got the basics in terms of instrumentation. A full 12.3-inch TFT meter, inspired and developed exclusively for Gazoo race cars has been adopted along with turbo pressure, gear position indicator, and tachometer complete the kit.. An 8.0-inch infotainment screen takes handles stuff like your usual smartphone connectivity, etc. The tech pack includes a nav, wireless phone charging, and an upgraded stereo.
Being the GR variant, this car more than anything else is all about the drive. As a result, the short-stroke shift lever (with Morizo’s signature ) has been postponed so that it falls to hand easily from the steering wheel, which allows for quick gear shifts. To top it all off, you’ve got a traditional hand-operated parking brake that will allow you to drift the GR Corolla with ease. A cold weather package adds heated steering and heated front seats. The
Engine & Transmission
The GR Corolla features the same 1.6-Liter Turbo 3-cylinder engine that we’ve seen before on the GR Yaris, albeit this one has been beefed up to now produce 300 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox, with a rev-matching function, that is coupled to GR-Four’s electronic 4WD system, providing variable front and rear driving force, similar to what we’ve seen on the GR Yaris. You can summon the AWD to split torque front/rear with a 60-40 (Normal Mode), 50-50 (Track Mode), or 30-70 bias (Sport Mode), depending on driver preference.
A new valve-equipped triple exhaust system helps the GR Yaris not just achieve an even higher power output from the G16E-GTS 1.6, but it also helps to keep the boost exhaust pressure and noise in check.
Suspension & Handling
While the overall body of the standard Corolla hatch has been adopted here, the track has been widened by 60 mm upfront and 85 mm in the rear. The long wheelbase along with the use of pillow ball bushings optimized springs, shocks (MacPherson strut’s upfront, Double wishbone at the rear ), and Torsen Limited slip diffs (part of the circuit edition) on both axles will ensure that the GR Corolla offers an exhilarating drive.
In addition, you’ve got ventilated discs (4 piston calipers upfront and 2 pistons at the rear) and sticky 18-inch 235 section Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires at all four corners.
This video narrated by James Pumphrey from our friends over at Donut will give you a detailed rundown on everything you need to know about Gazoo Racing
In an SUV/crossover crazy market, the hot hatch space really is minuscule with only a handful of models that meet the criterion. Here are some of the GR Corolla’s main rivals. You’ve got the usual suspects of cars like the Honda Civic Type R (an all-new 2023 model is already in the works), VW Golf R, Hyundai Veloster N,, and the not so obvious ones like the Mini JCW GP. While the power output on most of these cars is in the same ballpark, only the Golf R offers a similar AWD manual setup found on the new GR Corolla.
The high-performance GR Corolla GR along with the GR Supra and the GR86 complete Gazoo racing’s lineup for 2022. Prices for the GR Corolla haven’t been announced yet. The Core edition will hit the road later this year, while the circuit edition will come in 2023. Now I’m sure that Toyota would have us believe that the GR Corolla is a riot on track, it still begs the question if the 3-pot powerplant is enough to lug around the extra weight of the bigger Corolla as opposed to the Yaris that it was originally designed for.
Those extra ponies sure should make up for added weight, but would that make the engine feel strained? Well, only a track day can really answer that. But you can’t take away from the fact that the GR Corolla with five doors and five seats is far more usable proposition, and for now is the next best thing to the GR Yaris.
|Height[mm]||1,480 mm including antenna; the roof height is 1,455 mm|
|Engine||1.6-liter in-line three-cylinder intercooler turbo engine|
|Bore x stroke[mm]||87.5 x 89.7|
|Maximum torque[N･m (kgf･m)/rpm]||370(37.7)/3,000~5,550|
|Transmission||iMT (6-speed manual transmission)|
|Reduction ratio1–4/5,6, 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[liters]||50|