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Toyota has turned its performance-vehicle skunkworks division, Gazoo Racing, loose to apply the tuner treatment to the compact Corolla hatchback. And what a good bit of work they’ve done: the end result is the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla—and it’s a little terror. Toyota has already unleashed a GR-tuned version of its Yaris subcompact car in global markets, from which the GR Corolla borrows its turbocharged 1.6-liter, three-cylinder engine.

The little triple is amped up here to 300 high-strung horsepower and comes only with a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive. Toyota’s been on a crusade in recent years to add excitement to its lineup with sportier offerings—witness the revived Supra sports car—and more stylish designs and this rally-racer-inspired hot hatchback should help that effort. We expect to see the GR Corolla in Toyota showrooms before the end of 2022.


Under the hood of the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is a turbocharged three-cylinder engine plucked from the GR Yaris—a hatchback that the Japanese automaker sells in global markets outside of the United States. For the GR Corolla it was tuned up to make 300 horsepower—an eye-opening 185.4 horsepower per liter, and 43 horsepower more than it makes in the GR Yaris. A six-speed manual is the only transmission available, and all models come with Toyota’s GR-Four all-wheel drive system.

The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla-Four system allows the driver to choose between different power-distribution modes, starting with a 60/40 front-to-rear split for everyday driving to up to 30/70 to allow for drifting antics; a 50/50 split option is intended to provide maximum traction for racing. Current examples of the Corolla, even sporty SE and XSE models, don’t offer remotely racy handling or performance, but upgrades to the GR’s suspension and powertrain make it a legitimate contender in the sport compact car segment. The Circuit Edition trim comes standard with front and rear limited slip differentials; the base Core model offers those as an option.


While the current 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is both one of the more fuel-efficient options in its class and thoroughly somnambulant in its driving character, the high-performance GR variant is aimed purely at maximum performance. Thanks to its small 1.6-liter, three-cylinder engine, it should still deliver relatively decent fuel economy. We expect an EPA highway rating of around 30 mpg, which falls right between the Veloster N (29 mpg highway) and the Golf GTI (32 mpg highway). For more information about the GR Corolla’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.


The GR Corolla shares most of its cabin with the standard Corolla hatchback, which means good build quality, soft-touch materials, and plenty of features, but with racier trim and sport seats. Standard equipment includes ambient interior lighting, a six-way adjustable driver’s seat, push-button start, and aluminum pedal covers. Automatic climate control, heated seats, and a heated steering wheel are all standard on the Circuit Edition, which also wears suede and faux-leather upholstery in place of the base model’s cloth.

The Morizo Edition promises an even higher level of excitement but at the cost of practicality; Toyota has removed the rear seat, rear speakers, and even the hatchback-mounted window wiper to save as much weight as possible. Less weight equals quicker lap times. The front seats are treated to an exclusive red-and-black upholstery scheme and there’s racy faux-suede on the shift knob, parking brake lever, and steering wheel rim.


An 8.0-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be standard and also includes Amazon Alexa capability and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot. The Technology package on Core models adds an eight-speaker JBL stereo system, a wireless smartphone charging pad, and in-dash navigation; these items are all standard on the Circuit Edition.


Toyota currently offers much of its driver-assistance technology as standard on most of its lineup, and the GR Corolla is no different. A host of desirable tech features are bundled together across the lineup and include adaptive cruise control, pedestrian and cyclist detection, and automatic high-beam headlamps. For more information about the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla‘s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.


2023 Toyota GR Corolla

2023 Toyota GR Corolla

2023 Toyota GR Corolla

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