The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla has finally been revealed, after many months of teasing and speculation. The Japanese hot hatch has everything we expected and more, including a tiny 1.6-liter turbo engine delivering an almost unbelievable 300 horsepower, permanent AWD, and angry looks.
Not everybody will agree, but the GR Corolla is one of Toyota’s greatest engineering achievements. Its G16E-GTS 1.6-liter turbocharged is a 3-cylinder yet manages to produce 300 horsepower at and 273 pound-feet (370 Newton-meters) from 3,000 to 5,500 rpm.
That is 1 hp less than the Toyota Camry TRD, which uses a 3.5-liter with twice the cylinders. Most MINIs have bigger engines. In fact, besides this, the only cool car with a small engine is the Abarth.
A six-speed manual will be standard (auto will never be added), and while Toyota won’t give us a 0 to 60 time, it’s probably around 5 seconds. Power is sent through the GR-Four AWD system, which has three permanent torque split levels for you to pick 60-40, 50-50, and 30-70 front-to-rear. So you can do slides in this thing, a bit like the defunct Focus RS.
Hot hatch rivals
Speaking of the blue Ford, this GR Corolla has a bit of its styling flair, with a splash of Civic Type R for good measure. This looks nothing like a regular Corolla hatchback, thanks to bulging fenders and added vents everywhere. In terms of power, the GR model makes double the hp of a normal Corolla. However, it comes short compared to the AWD Golf R and the Civic Type R, which means the drag races are going to be interesting.
Toyota probably could have made those 18-inch wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires (235/40 R18) fit inside a standard Corolla body. But they didn’t. Instead, the GR hot hatch has flared out front fenders and a body kit over the rear. It has a new hood with vents and a front grille that dwarfs the Supra’s. At the back, things get really weird thanks to the three exhaust tips which are spaced out across the whole bumper. It’s like they looked at a Type R and decided it wasn’t bizarre enough.
Toyota says that it’s tuned the suspension on the track. Thus, the GR Corolla has MacPherson struts at the front paired with new springs, stiffer shocks, and thicker stabilizer bars. Being AWD, the rear end had to be completely re-engineered with a double-wishbone multilink arrangement.
How much does the GR Corolla weigh?
It’s not just for show. The GR Corolla’s chassis has extra weld points for stiffness and makes extensive use of structural adhesive. It’s got a flat underfloor, exposed carbon roof, and numerous aluminum parts to save weight. Thanks to these measures, it tips the scales at 3,249 pounds (1,474 kilograms), which is still 190 lbs (86 kg) more than a base hatch.
Its 14-inch slotted and ventilated brakes are bigger than the WRX, but it’s not a bare-bones race car. You can have heated seats, wireless charging, and navigation as options. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but it should start at under $40,000. Expect deliveries to start towards the end of the year, probably in October if the dealer leaks are accurate.
Interestingly, the GR Corolla isn’t made in Mexico or Mississippi, but at the legendary Japanese factory in Motomachi, which is now GR-specific. It used to be the home of the Lexus LFA, arguably the most advanced supercar they’ve ever made.