2023 Toyota GR Corolla Quick Spin: A Rowdy Runabout

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Quick Spin: A Rowdy Runabout Verdict: With the all-new 2023 GR Corolla, Toyota comes into the hot hatchback category with feisty performance, making it a blast to fling around the racetrack.

Against the competition: The GR Corolla has all-wheel drive like the Volkswagen Golf R, but it’s more similar to the now-discontinued Subaru WRX STI. While the Golf R is elegant and polished, the GR Corolla has the kind of raw, unfiltered character that’s becoming more and more popular — even among high-performance cars.

Toyota’s other GR models, the GR Supra and GR86, are the result of partnerships with BMW and Subaru, respectively, but the new GR Corolla is based on Toyota’s Corolla four-door hatchback. This platform is a solid starting point for a high-performance car, and Toyota’s Gazoo Racing used it to create a car in the GR Corolla that’s very different from a regular hatchback. At the invitation of Toyota, we first drove the GR Corolla on the Utah Motorsports campus near Salt Lake City. ( pays for its airfare and accommodation when attending manufacturer-sponsored events.)

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Quick Spin: A Rowdy Runabout

How is the GR Corolla on the right track?

The eastern track at Utah Motorsports Campus is a fun little track with a mix of sweeping and tight corners plus a bit of elevation change. The direct paths the track has are not particularly long, which makes it a perfect fit for the capabilities of the GR Corolla – and those capabilities are great. Instead of the 2.0-liter inhaled four-cylinder that powers the regular Corolla hatchback, the GR Corolla gets a turbocharged 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine that makes nearly twice the horsepower and torque: 300 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 273 lb-ft of torque from 3,000 to 5,500 rpm. In the limited-range Morizo ​​Edition trim level, the engine generates 295 pound-feet of torque from 3250 to 4600 rpm.

A turbocharged three-cylinder is a powerful, fast-revving engine that makes the kind of sounds you want to hear from a performance engine, like the sound of the turbo on acceleration and the exhaust note that doesn’t rely on the electronic boost to roar. . The Morizo ​​version, which has different gears and a total weight of 3,186 pounds is the lightest trim, and pulls a little harder on acceleration, but that doesn’t translate to dramatically different times from 0 to 60 mph: Toyota says Base base and 2023 model year only Circuit Edition rims can hit 60 mph in 4.99 seconds, while the Morizo ​​takes 4.92 seconds.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Quick Spin: A Rowdy Runabout

All versions of the GR Corolla have a six-speed manual transmission (automatic is not offered), and include a rev matching feature that worked great on the track; It automatically clears the throttle when downshifting to get an angle to match the engine speed to the lower gear.

Another unique characteristic of the GR Corolla is how the power of its three-cylinder turbo engine reaches the wheels. The car’s standard AWD system has three driver-selectable sections of front-to-rear torque – 60:40, 50:50 and 30:70 – engaged by the console knob. The Circuit and Morizo ​​versions also have a limited-slip front and rear differential, which is optional for the Core.

All-wheel drive (AWD) helps the GR Corolla effectively lower its power on the track, as do the tires – especially those in the Morizo ​​Edition. The Morizo ​​is fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires on 18-inch alloy wheels, while the Core and Circuit Edition rims are fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires on 18-inch alloy wheels. Sport Cup 2 tires are high-performance summer tires with a tread wear rating of 240, while Pilot Sport 4 tires are high-performance summer tires with a tread wear rating of 320. With a low wear rating, Sport Cup 2 tires may not last as long, but sticky rubber It helps give the GR Corolla plenty of grip when cornering. While the Circuit Edition didn’t slip on the track with Pilot Sport 4 tires, there was a distinct difference between them and Morizo’s Sport Cup 2 tires, which were more willing to pit and roll into corners. All models have MacPherson struts up front and double wishbone rear suspension, but Morizo ​​gets stiffer springs and single-tube shocks.

The GR Corolla’s braking performance was also impressed. All versions have 14-inch front discs with four-piston calipers and 11.7-inch rear discs with two-piston calipers, and the setup worked well on the track: Stab the brake pedal before turning into a corner and bite hard enough to throw you against the seat belt. As a result, you can take on more speed and brake later before entering a corner thanks to the strong stopping power.

Does the GR Corolla still have practical features in a hatchback?

The GR Corolla hatchback’s body design means it’s more convenient and versatile than your average performance car. The manually adjustable front sports seats are comfortable, and there’s enough headroom for taller drivers to sit comfortably – even when wearing a helmet. The back seat can be used for adults, but there is not much extra space; My lower leg was touching the back of the front seat. The Morizo ​​version omits the rear seat entirely, making it two-seater, but adds a cross-bolster where the rear seat would normally be for additional structural support. The bracket is also designed to accommodate an extra set of everyday track tires.

The regular GR Corolla has 17.8 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seat, as measured by Toyota, the same luggage space as the regular Corolla Hatchback but less than the 24.3 cubic feet offered by the small AWD Corolla Cross SUV. The 60/40 split rear backrest folds flat with the cargo floor, but the cargo floor itself is relatively high for a small hatchback. However, there are some storage areas underneath.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Quick Spin: A Rowdy Runabout

Should you buy a GR Corolla?

Most of my seat time on the GR Corolla was on track, so we’ll need to spend more time with it to see how it handles daily duties on the regular streets. But it’s clear from our time to have an interesting time if you get one with the intention of taking it to keep track of the days. It’s fast, responsive, has a good feel for steering and provides an overall unfiltered driving experience.

Starting at $36,995 (including destination), the GR Corolla Core is significantly more expensive than the regular 2022 Corolla Hatchback, which starts at $22,260, but its performance capabilities are also significantly greater. Compared to other high-performance hatchbacks, the base price of GR Corolla is significantly less From the starting price of the $45,185 well-equipped Golf R, it’s also slightly less expensive than the previous front-only model of the 2021 Honda Civic Type R, which had a starting price of $38,910. (The redesigned Civic Type R recently appeared as the 2023 model.)

For decades, Toyota Corolla has represented an efficient and affordable means of transportation. The debut of the 2019 Corolla hatchback has improved the car’s driving dynamics, and now with the GR Corolla, Toyota has an impressive high-performance hatchback. It’s not the kind of car you’d expect from Toyota, but it’s one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed driving.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button