After a long wait and lots of teasing, the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is finally here. It gives the brand a hot hatch to sell in the United States for the first time in ages.
Under the hood, there’s the G16E-GTS 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine making 300 horsepower (224 kilowatts) at 6,500 rpm and 273 pound-feet (370 Newton-meters) from 3,000 to 5,500 rpm. The power runs through a six-speed manual gearbox with rev-matching functionality. The GR-Four all-wheel-drive system has selectable 60-40, 50-50, and 30-70 front-rear torque split settings, depending on the driver’s preference.
Toyota’s announcement doesn’t offer any performance estimates, so we don’t know how quickly the GR Corolla gets to 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) or what its top speed is.
As a rough point of comparison, the European-market Toyota GR Yaris reaches 62 mph (100 kph) in less than 5.5 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 143 mph (230 km/h). While it shares the 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder with the Corolla, that version of the mill makes 257 hp (192 kW) and 266 lb-ft (360 Nm). Also, the GR Yaris weighs 2,822 pounds (1,280 kilograms), versus 3,249 pounds (1,474 kilograms) for the new GR Corolla.
What Makes It Special?
The GR Corolla uses a modified version of the GA-C platform that has additional weld points for the frame to strengthen joints and extensive use of structural adhesive. The hood and front door panels are aluminum to save weight. The body gains ducks on the corners to channel air down the flanks and widened fenders. The underfloor is flat to reduce drag.
The hot hatch’s suspension consists of MacPherson-type struts for the front and a double-wishbone design at the back. The meaner Corolla rides on 18-inch, 15-spoke wheels with a gloss-black finish that have Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires in size 235/40R18.
For braking, the hot hatch has 14 x 1.1-inch ventilated and slotted rotors with four-piston calipers in front. At the back, there are 11.7 x 0.7-inch ventilated discs with two-piston calipers.
The GR Corolla’s interior features a 12.3-inch digital infotainment display. The screen includes views of the selected all-wheel-drive mode, turbo pressure, gear position indicator, and tachometer. The driver operates a short-throw shifter that Toyota says has a position “where the driver’s arm is naturally lowered from steering.” There’s also an 8.0-inch infotainment screen on the center of the dashboard.
Core Or Circuit Edition?
The GR Corolla will launch in the US with two trim levels: the base Core model that arrives later in 2022 or the first-model-year exclusive Circuit Edition that’s coming in 2023.
The GR Corolla Core is available in white, black, and Supersonic Red. Inside, there are fabric-covered sport seats and a black and silver color scheme. As an option, there’s a Cold Weather package that adds heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. The Technology package includes navigation, an upgraded stereo, and wireless smartphone charging.
The Circuit Edition offers a performance upgrade, including having a forged carbon-fiber roof. This trim is available in white, Supersonic Red, and Heavy Metal. The brake calipers are red and have the GR logo.
The Circuit comes with Torsen limited-slip differentials for the front and rear axle. These parts are an optional upgrade as part of the Core model’s Performance Package.
For an aesthetic upgrade, the Circuit has a hood bulge with functional vents. The nose wears a gloss black grille. It also has a matte-black rear spoiler, rather than a gloss finish for the Core model.
Inside, it has a Brin Naub faux suede and synthetic leather upholstery throughout the cabin in a black and red color scheme. Navigation and an eight-speaker stereo are part of the package. The Circuit also has automatic climate control, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.
Pricing isn’t yet available for either grade of the GR Corolla. Buyers get a complimentary one-year membership in the National Auto Sport Association.