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Toyota GR Corolla 2023 Review: Impressive Design & High-Performance Engine

Image Source: Miro Vrlik Photography / Shutterstock
We felt disheartened when Toyota confirmed that the GR Yaris wouldn’t make it to the US. However, all hope was not lost as the 2023 GR Corolla made its debut. The Corolla has long been known for its reliability as a compact car, though it has never been considered thrilling since the days of the AE86. Toyota has now transformed the Corolla into an exciting hot hatch with the introduction of the GR Corolla.

The GR Corolla has been highly anticipated, with Toyota releasing teasers to build excitement. Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, a race driver himself, meticulously oversaw every aspect of the GR Corolla to ensure its quality.

Initially expected to feature the same 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine as the GR Yaris, Toyota surprised everyone by increasing the power of the GR Corolla to 300 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, surpassing the GR Yaris by 43 hp and 8 lb-ft of torque. Some of this enhancement is credited to a more efficient exhaust system with a three-part muffler and three exhaust tips, featuring a unique setup with two round outlets on the sides and a central oval outlet.

The GR Corolla is exclusively available with a six-speed manual transmission, although Toyota has hinted at the possibility of offering an automatic option in response to market demand in the future. For now, the GR Corolla upholds the tradition of manual transmission. The highlight is the GR-Four all-wheel-drive system with adjustable torque distribution options of 60/40, 50/50, or 30/70. The Circuit Edition includes front and rear Torsen mechanical limited-slip differentials, available in the Performance package for the base Core trim level.

While the 0-60 mph time for the GR Corolla has not been revealed by Toyota, it is expected to be quicker than the GR Yaris, which achieves it in 5.5 seconds.

In terms of performance, the GR Corolla features 18-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires for optimal grip and utilizes four-piston fixed calipers with 14-inch vented and slotted front rotors, along with two-piston fixed calipers with 11.7-inch vented rear rotors for braking. Additionally, it includes a traditional mechanical handbrake.

Externally, the GR Corolla sets itself apart from the standard Corolla hatchback with its distinctive widebody design, making it longer, wider, and slightly taller. The aggressive styling not only looks good but also serves a functional purpose. The weight of the GR Corolla is 3,249 pounds, with the Circuit Edition boasting a unique carbon fiber roof to trim some weight and additional features like a larger rear spoiler, hood vents, and faux suede seats.

Inside, the GR Corolla is equipped with sporty seats and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster displaying essential information like all-wheel-drive mode and turbo pressure. The 8.0-inch touchscreen at the center runs on Toyota’s latest and improved infotainment system, including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The rear seating area may feel a bit snug.

For safety, the GR Corolla comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, incorporating features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, lane centering, blind-spot monitoring, and collision warning.

The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is expected to hit the market this fall, with pricing yet to be disclosed by Toyota. The initial release will be the Core model, with the limited edition Circuit Edition scheduled for 2023. Toyota aims to sell approximately 6,000 units in the first year.

Image Source: Miro Vrlik Photography / Shutterstock

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