The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla Is a Hot Hatch with Everything We Want

The GR Corolla's 300-horsepower turbo three-cylinder engine, six-speed manual transmission, and all-wheel drive make it easy to forgive Toyota for not offering the GR Yaris.

  • The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is a 300-horsepower, all-wheel-drive hot hatchback.
  • Both the Core model and the Circuit Edition come standard with a six-speed manual transmission.
  • The GR Corolla will go on sale later this year in the United States.

Are we experiencing a hot-hatch revival? Let us say yes, because that is what we desire. Toyota appears to want it as well, as it has finally revealed the much-anticipated 2023 GR Corolla.

We've been watching with envy as Gazoo Racing—performance Toyota's and motorsports division—releases tuned-up versions of vehicles that are not available in the United States, most recently the Yaris GR. Fortunately, it appears as though the GR Corolla will offer us everything we liked about the previous model and more.

The GR Corolla will be available in two trim levels: Core and Circuit. The latter adds a carbon-fiber roof, hood bulge, and larger rear spoiler to the base model. Both trim levels are rally-car wide and RC-car silly in the best possible way, with chunky, vented fenders and a tweaked version of the Corolla's large frowning grille that gives the GR the appearance of laughing.

Why would it not be content? It's powered by a beefed-up version of the Yaris GR's turbocharged 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine. The engine in the Yaris produces 257 horsepower. The G16E-GTS engine produces an astounding 300 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque in the Corolla. That equates to 100 horsepower per cylinder. The Corolla exhaust system utilizes three exhaust exits for reduced backpressure in order to increase power output. Additionally, it looks cool when exiting through the back. To keep the direct-injected engine together at its maximum power output of 6500 rpm, the three cylinders utilize oil jets to cool the pistons, large exhaust valves to quickly vent spent gasses, and a machined intake port to improve flow.

If three exhaust tips and three oil-cooled pistons are insufficient to pique your interest, how about six gears, as in a manual transmission? The GR Corolla is aimed squarely at purists, offering only a six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching capability.

Additionally, the Corolla is Toyota's first sporty all-wheel-drive vehicle in decades. The system is dubbed GR-Four—and is embossed on the door sills in a nice little nod to the GT-Four rally cars of the 1980s—and is designed for use on a variety of terrains and quick adjustment. The default torque distribution is 60:40 front to rear, but it can be as rear-wheel biased as 30:70 or as even as 50:50. Regardless of how you split it, power is routed to open differentials as standard, with front and rear Torsen limited-slip differentials available as part of the Core's Performance package (the Torsen diffs are standard on the Circuit Edition).

To prepare for the gravel-spewing, rise-jumping life that your GR Corolla will undoubtedly lead, the frame has been strengthened with additional welds and structural adhesive has been used between glued components. The front suspension features tuned struts, while the rear suspension features a multilink design that is optimized for the AWD system. The GR is 2.4 inches wider than a standard Corolla, and those extra-large fenders accommodate Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires in the 235/40R-18 size mounted on gloss-black 15-spoke alloy wheels. Behind the wheels are slotted 14.0-inch front brake rotors and 11.7-inch rear brake rotors. The Circuit Edition uses red calipers emblazoned with the GR logo to bring them to a halt.

While the interior of the GR is not as dramatically different from a standard Corolla as the exterior is, there are still some racy touches to distinguish it. This is especially true for the Circuit Edition, which includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a signed shifter, suede and faux leather sports seats with red accents, and headrest badges. The Core model features cloth seats without red accents, but both models feature a 12.3-inch gauge cluster with a GR-exclusive performance readout, a short-throw shifter, and a mechanical parking brake. Hello, shenanigans in the parking lot.

The infotainment software and comfort features are identical to those found on the standard Corolla, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, multiple USB ports, and optional wireless charging. While safety and driver assistance features may seem out of place in a vehicle designed for hooliganism, if your parking lot shenanigans lead you toward a light pole or a pedestrian, both GR Corolla models come standard with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0.

Pricing has not been announced, but we anticipate it to be in the low $30,000 range. The GR Corolla will go on sale later in 2022, and we'll be eager to arrange a hot-hatch shootout.

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