2023 Toyota GR Corolla Preview

Chris Teague | Mar 31, 2022

Performance editions of everyday cars are all the rage right now. It’s easy to find hotted-up SUVssedans, and pickup trucks from several manufacturers, but we can’t forget the hot hatchback. The prospect of a functional, practical car that can go fast around corners is attractive on multiple levels, but Toyota is about to take the category to new heights in the United States. The GR Corolla is a rally-bred hatchback with an advanced all-wheel-drive (AWD) system and aggressive styling.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Core Red Front Quarter View

The car shares much of its underlying engineering with the smaller GR Yaris hatchback available in other markets worldwide. The small turbocharged 3-cylinder engine makes a massive 300 horsepower, and the car’s AWD system can shift power around to the wheels that need it most.

Unlike the standard Corolla, which is mass-produced on an assembly line, technicians at the Gazoo Racing Factory in Motomachi, Japan, build the GR. The facility turned out the Lexus LFA and new Supra and now houses a production line for the GR Corolla and Yaris. Think of the GR Factory as sort of an all-star production facility for Toyota, and the automaker notes that the GR cars take longer to build due to the level of attention each one requires. The GR Corolla will land later in 2022 as a 2023 model. A first-year Circuit Edition will debut in 2023.

What’s New for the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla?

  • Brand-new performance hot hatchback for the United States
  • 300-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter 3-cylinder engine
  • Standard AWD with power distribution settings
  • GR Corolla Core trim debuts first, later in 2022
  • Limited-production Circuit Edition will be available in 2023

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Exterior

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Core Red Rear Quarter View

The 2023 GR Corolla shares a platform with the standard Corolla, so its exterior dimensions are likely to be very similar to the “normal” car. Large fender flares and aggressive vents accent the hatchback’s shape, and Toyota fitted the car with a gaping front fascia that exposes the intercooler. The GR rides on 18-inch gloss-black wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires; the Circuit Edition gets red brake calipers with the GR logo.

Looking at the GR, there are a few main differences between it and its more pedestrian counterpart. Large fender flares accent all four corners, and gloss-black accents adorn the side mirrors and rear spoiler. The Circuit Edition gets a carbon-fiber roof and a unique hood with a prominent power bulge.

Toyota formed the GR Corolla’s shape with an eye on aerodynamics, and unlike many cars, the vents and shapely bodywork all have a legitimate purpose. The car’s hood, roofline, and rear spoiler direct air around the body to create better downforce, and canards (small aerodynamic accents) send air down the sides of the vehicle.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Interior

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Circuit Edition Interior Dashboard

The GR Corolla Core trim comes with fabric upholstery with gray stitching and GR badges on the headrests. Black and silver accents adorn the cabin. The Circuit Edition’s interior features upgraded suede and synthetic leather upholstery, with black/red accents and GR badging on the headrests. Both trims get aluminum sport pedals and lighted footwells.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Specs

Like the GR Yaris before it, the GR Corolla aims to bring some rally magic to the streets. It shares the Yaris’ turbocharged 1.6-liter 3-cylinder engine, but there’s a big difference: Toyota boosted the engine’s output from 257 hp and 265 pound-feet of torque in the Yaris to 300 hp and 273 pound-feet for use in the larger GR Corolla. The engine features a single-scroll turbo mounted to the exhaust manifold, which Toyota says reduces weight and makes more efficient use of exhaust gases.

The GR gets a 6-speed manual transmission as its only gearbox choice; it sends power to all four wheels. The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team helped develop the car’s GR-Four AWD system, which offers settings for various driving conditions across dirt, snow, and wet. The driver can select between torque distribution settings that allow the car to send up to 70 percent of power to the rear wheels. Circuit Edition cars get a Torsen limited-slip differential (LSD) at both ends, which helps get the power to the ground. The Core model comes standard with open differentials but is available with the LSDs as part of a Performance package.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Safety

The 2022 Corolla earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Though it is unlikely that the IIHS will test the low-volume GR Corolla, the two models are structurally similar, so the GR will likely perform similarly to the standard Corolla in terms of crash protection. Both GR trims will come standard with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0—the automaker’s latest suite of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS)—along with blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic warning. A one-year trial of Toyota’s Safety Connect system is also standard, bringing emergency assistance, roadside assistance, and a stolen-vehicle locator.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Technology

The GR Corolla comes standard with an 8-inch touchscreen that runs Toyota’s new infotainment interface, which the automaker says features more intuitive and responsive operation than the previous software. Users can interact with the system using voice, touch, and sight, and simple voice commands can do everything from entering a navigation destination to changing climate settings. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and Toyota promises over-the-air updates to improve map data and keep it current.

The Core trim is available with a Technology package that brings a JBL sound system, Qi wireless charging, and navigation. Circuit Edition cars come standard with an 8-speaker JBL stereo and navigation. Both trims come with a trial subscription to a Wi-Fi hotspot service using the AT&T network.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Competitors

The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla competes with the Honda Civic SiHyundai Veloster N, and Volkswagen Golf R. Depending on its price tag, buyers may also cross-shop the Audi S3/RS 3 or Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 with the Toyota.

Toyota is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of March 31, 2022, but it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker’s website or your local dealership.

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