When it comes to hot hatches, the 2023 Toyota Corolla GR is making waves, offering a fresh perspective on the well-known nameplate. In this review, we dive deep into what sets the GR apart and whether this turbocharged powerhouse truly stands up to its competitors.

Performance: Small but Mighty

Despite housing a 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, the GR Corolla packs quite a punch. It delivers an impressive 221kW of power and 370Nm of torque, guaranteeing exhilarating acceleration and agile cornering. All this power is transferred to all four wheels, and it comes with a 6-speed manual transmission – a nod to driving purists.

Toyota also offers the limited Morizo Edition, named after Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda’s racing alias. This special edition ramps up the torque by an additional 30Nm and features a unique final drive gear ratio for enhanced acceleration.

Breaking the Corolla Mould

The 2023 Corolla GR isn’t just another version of Toyota’s popular compact sedan. This car has thrown off the proverbial shackles, incorporating a turbocharger, a body kit and an attitude that demands attention. Designed to stand out, its aggressive air ducts, raised hood, 18-inch alloy wheels, and three chunky exhausts add a sporty edge to the well-loved Corolla silhouette.

However, while these design enhancements are aesthetically pleasing, they also play a vital functional role. The air ducts cool the turbocharged engine, while the raised hood shelters the top-mount intercooler. This Corolla is a perfect blend of form and function, although some have argued that its familiar design may cause it to blend into the crowd.

toyota corolla gr

Handling: Poised and Composed

The GR Corolla shines when it comes to handling, navigating corners with finesse and maintaining composure even under pressure. The GR-Four all-wheel-drive system keeps the car grounded, while the sport-tuned suspension ensures a smooth ride. Drivers can adjust the front/rear torque split according to their driving needs, making the GR Corolla a versatile performer.

However, the GR Corolla’s engine note may disappoint those seeking the pops and splutters of more traditional hot hatches, generating a more subdued whooshing sound.

Inside the Cabin:

The interior of the GR Corolla strikes a balance between simplicity and sportiness. It retains the Corolla’s classic layout but adds a few sporty elements, including aluminum pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a 8-inch touchscreen display equipped with Android Auto™ and wireless Apple CarPlay®. There are also custom sports seats with GR badging that ensure both comfort and support.

Toyota Corolla GR Pricing

(Driveaway Pricing)


Inside the Cabin:

Toyota’s commitment to safety is evident in the GR Corolla. Besides carrying over Toyota Safety Sense™ features, the GR model incorporates a hand-finished frame reinforced with additional spot welds for improved body rigidity. This stiffness is enhanced by underfloor and center floor metal braces, coupled with high-rigidity front suspension members, delivering a thrilling driving experience without compromising on safety.

However, all these features come at a cost. With a driveaway price of $67,329, the GR Corolla may be a significant investment. But for the driving enthusiast seeking a sophisticated performance vehicle with the potential for aftermarket customization, it may just be worth every penny.

The 2023 Toyota Corolla GR is a bold step away from the traditional Corolla lineage, appealing to driving purists and serious performance drivers. While it may not turn heads like some of its competitors, it boasts solid performance, a functional design, and a slew of safety features