If you think the Toyota Corolla is all about reliability and fuel economy—your “first car” kind of car—think again.
The Corolla can be all about performance, design and handling—a sports car enthusiast’s kind of car—as well, especially if you’re behind the wheel of a first-ever 2023 GR Corolla.
The GR Corolla is one of Toyota’s growing number of high-performance vehicles that have been available in Japan only. Judging from early reviews, it’s likely to take the world by storm.
A Corolla for Enthusiasts
Launched in March of this year, the first-ever 2023 GR Corolla is a hot hatch developed by the famed TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team with company president Akio Toyoda in the driver’s seat—literally.
The 2023 GR Corolla packs a 1.6L, 3-cylinder direct/port injected turbo engine that delivers 300 hp and 273 pound-feet of torque. It offers a GR-Four AWD system with customizable front-rear power settings.
The GR Corolla’s hot hatch body rests on Toyota’s GA-C platform. The GR Corolla is available in manual transmission only. Frame reinforcements developed specifically for the GR Corolla bolster steering ability, as do exterior air vents and aerodynamic features. In short, the GR Corolla is designed for sports car enthusiasts through and through.
Core and Circuit Edition
The GR Corolla will be available in two grades—the Core and launch-year-exclusive Circuit Edition. The Core model will be available at the end of the year in white, black and Supersonic Red with color-keyed roof and a black rear lip spoiler, GR-Four stamped side rockers and wide-fender flares. Seating for five will come with GR logo-ed fabric sport seats.
The Circuit Edition, available in 2023, comes in white, Supersonic Red and Heavy Metal. It features a forged carbon fiber roof, vented bulge hood and a sporty rear spoiler, Brin Naub® suede-trimmed sport seats with red accents and a launch-year-exclusive “Morizo”-signed shift knob, Morizo being the alias of Akio Toyoda. The GR Corolla will come equipped with the all-new touchscreen Toyota Audio Multimedia system. Pricing will be announced later this year.
GAZOO Racing—The Startup Within Toyota
The GR in GR Corolla stands for GAZOO Racing, a team comprised of hyper-competitive Toyota employees. With a limited budget and an entrepreneurial spirit, the team began developing cars in a skunkworks fashion. The GR Corolla is the first GR model developed by the GR team for the North American market.
The GR Corolla was tested repeatedly at some of Japan’s leading circuits as well as in dirt and snow to ensure the GR delivered on its promise of remarkable performance and handling.
Toyota has established a dedicated GR Factory at its Motomachi facility in Japan—the same facility that produced the Lexus LFA and Supra A80. The manufacturing process employs many manual assembly techniques, enabling precise body and suspension alignment, with variations in vehicle dimensions and weight kept to a minimum.
Built with meticulous care and attention, the GR Corolla takes longer to build than most cars, though the GR Corolla’s performance, design and handling make the wait worthwhile.
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