- With major components developed in conjunction with Gazoo Racing’s race team, the first-ever 2023 GR Corolla is built at Toyota’s GR Factory in Japan has been designed for the North American market.
- Similar to the powertrain from the GR Yaris, the GR Corolla uses a 1.6-liter G16E-GTS turbocharged direct/port-injected 3-cylinder engine making 300hp and 273 lb-ft of torque.
- A rally-developed all-wheel-drive system allows the power distribution of the front and rear wheels to be adjusted from 60-40 to 50-50 and 30-70.
- Available only in a six-speed manual, the Core Grade GR Corolla is slated to hit U.S. dealerships this year, while the limited-edition Circuit Edition with forged carbon fiber roof, vented hood, rear spoiler, and sport seats will be available in 2023.
Developed from Racing
Well, duh, right? Like the GR Supra and the GR 86 before it, the GR Corolla isn’t just a tuned version of the standard Corolla hatchback, but it’s been developed where it counts – on the road course! According to Toyota, the GR Corolla was tested repeatedly at Fuji Speedway, Suzuka, and Tsukuba Circuits to ensure the hot hatch lived up to the GR nameplate. However, unlike the Supra and 86, the GR Corolla shares the same soul as the homologated GR Yaris, so we’re told pro rally drivers were enlisted to evaluate the ‘Rolla in the dirt and snow.
Manufactured in Japan
The Toyota faithful can quit their bitchin’. You’ll like the GR Corolla because it doesn’t share BMW or Subaru components like the Supra or 86. The GR Corolla is built in the GR Factory in Motomachi, Japan. It’s not just whipped together by a bunch of automated machines, either. Hundreds of highly skilled technicians oversee the assembly and pay close attention to body/suspension alignment and welding.
A 1.6-liter 3-cylinder might sound puny, but the G16E-GTS powerplant (also found in the GR Yaris) is a compact and lightweight 12-valve engine that benefits from a single-scroll ball-bearing turbo. The result is a peak of 300 horsepower that comes in at 6,500rpm, while 273 lb-ft of usable torque is available between 3,000-5,500rpm.
The GR-FOUR all-wheel-drive is a system that was developed in conjunction with Gazoo Racing’s WRC team and designed to provide maximum traction at each corner. Adjustable driver settings at your fingers tips to tackle dirt, rain, and snow; however, adjusting the front/rear torque distribution is even cooler with the ability to switch between 60:40, 50:50, and our personal favorite 30:70.
There will be no “does it come with a manual?” questions. Like the Civic Type R and WRX STI, the GR Corolla comes only with a six-speed transmission with a togglable rev-matching feature.
Looks Still Kill
When Toyota launched the 2019 Corolla hatchback, it already looked like one of the best five-doors money could buy (in fact, I built one for the 2018 SEMA Show). The GR Corolla is the yolked-out big brother of the standard hatch with wider front and rear fender flares, functional air ducts and aerodynamics, and lightweight metals/materials used throughout.
A big selling point of the GR Yaris is its AWD system and ability to handle extreme driving conditions such as the ones faced in rally racing. To get to this point, Toyota has paid extra attention to strengthening the body and making it more rigid. The suspension made up of MacPherson front struts and a double-wishbone multilink rear is also “circuit-tuned,” as Toyota calls it. 18-inch wheels are standard with 235-series Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires. As for the brakes, 14-inch vented and slotted rotors with 4-piston calipers are up front, while 11.7-inch vented rotors with dual-piston calipers make up the rear. Checks all the boxes, and we can’t wait to test drive one!
Core Grade Is Coming First
The Core Grade, aka base model, will be available later this year in three colors: white, black, and red.
Circuit Edition Next Year
But what you really want is the Circuit Edition slated for 2023. This model features front and rear Torsen limited-slip differentials, forged carbon fiber roof, vented ‘n bulged hood, rear spoiler, and suede-trimmed seats. The Circuit Edition will also be offered in the Heavy Metal paint pictured here.
The GR Yaris goes for $44K in the UK, while in Japan, it sells for $60K. We can only imagine the price tag of the bigger and better GR Corolla will be somewhere close to $50K, but hopefully Toyota USA proves us wrong!