The world’s top-selling automotive isn’t significantly synonymous with excessive efficiency regardless of some profitable stints. Toyota’s Gazoo Racing engineers are altering that.

The Toyota GR Corolla is without doubt one of the 12 months’s most anticipated sizzling hatches, set to hit Australia in early 2023 in restricted numbers as an enormous brother to the mechanically associated GR Yaris.

Just 500 items are slated to come back in its first 12 months, a fraction of what is going to be wanted to satisfy preliminary demand, that means this factor will in all probability turn into fodder for speculators as a lot as true fanatics.

But that is no limited-edition automotive, and is slated for a number of years of collection manufacturing at the least.

This track-honed, manual-only, all-wheel drive (AWD) pocket rocket is fiercely uncompromising, having all of the attributes to drag folks out of their Honda Civic Type R, Hyundai i30 N, or Subaru WRX.

This isn’t only a tweaked Corolla ZR, both. The GR Corolla is assembled on the similar skunkwork part of Toyota’s Motomachi plant because the GR Yaris and (previously) Lexus LFA, with extra handbook meeting methods and slower construct instances – therefore the low manufacturing numbers.

While the GR Corolla makes use of the donor automotive’s GA-C platform, the physique has 349 extra spot welds, and as much as 20 ft of added structural adhesive.

Weight has been stripped out because of a solid carbon roof and aluminium bonnet, whereas an much more hardcore Morizo version loses its again seats and provides bracing and a boot sufficiently big for a full tyre set – match for goal certainly.

Wider entrance and rear fender flares give the GR Corolla a greater stance. There are bonnet, boot and fender ducts; stamped facet skits; a brand new grille; flatter underfloor; and a brand new rear diffuser with three exhaust shops.

It possesses exactly zero subtlety, and is something however a sleeper. If you need to fly underneath the radar, get a VW Golf R or Audi S3.

Bigger image, the GR Corolla matches into Toyota’s rising Gazoo Racing household of sporty highway automobiles; alongside not simply the WRC-inspired GR Yaris, however the GR86 and GR Supra coupes. Toyota’s chief Akio Toyoda is himself a eager racing driver, and that trickles down.

We had been lucky to attend the GR Corolla’s world launch within the United States, at a baking sizzling circuit on the perimeter of Salt Lake City, Utah – becoming for the reason that USA is its major market.

How a lot does the Toyota GR Corolla price?

We don’t know but, with Toyota Australia preserving its playing cards near its chest, although one thing within the common $60,000 ballpark would make sense – since a GR Yaris retails for between $49,500 and $54,500 earlier than on-road prices.

Don’t anticipate Toyota’s native division to pull the same stunt as it did with the primary 1000 items of the GR Yaris, which it offered at an enormous low cost ($39,500) to drive followers right into a frenzy and switch them into GR ambassadors.

That advertising tactic labored, maybe too properly given the ongoing wait lists, and isn’t going to be repeated with the larger and much more supply-restricted GR Corolla.

The GR Corolla’s chief Australian opponents will embrace the Hyundai i30 N ($46,200 to $53,700), Volkswagen Golf R ($65,990), and Subaru WRX ($44,990 to $57,990). The previous-generation Civic Type R was $54,990.

One information now we have to make use of is a USA-market beginning worth for the GR Corolla Core of $35,900 (a tick over A$52,000 with a direct conversion), climbing to $42,900 (A$62,300) for the Circuit Edition, and as much as $49,900 (A$72,500) for the extra honed, two-seat Morizo Edition.

That makes the bottom GR Corolla Corolla US$2000 cheaper within the US than the outgoing Civic Type R there, and the mid-range GR Corolla Circuit US$1200 cheaper than a Golf R within the US.

This would counsel probably Toyota Australia pricing within the mid-$50,000 vary for a GR Corolla Core and mid-$60,000 vary for the GR Corolla Circuit – assuming each variants come, that’s. The GR Corolla Morizo will probably arrive in strictly area of interest numbers and can price extra once more.

What is the Toyota GR Corolla like on the within?

Toyota has solely modified these elements of the inside most required for a high-performance spinoff: seats, stick, wheel and gauges. The normal ergonomic format and construct high quality are typical of a Corolla, as are most of the supplies and trims.

A brand new and information-rich 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster helps you monitor the 4WD system, turbo strain, gear indicator, G-forces, and revs (by way of a centrally-mounted tacho).

The grade-specific leather-wrapped wheel with round hub and GR branding has been borrowed from the GR Yaris. It adjusts for rake and attain and feels nice within the hand, with easy spoke-mounted controls for the audio, cellphone and energetic security capabilities.

Other modifications over the common Corolla cabin embrace the short-shift gearstick and pull-up handbook handbrake (versus {an electrical} change), which greater than something reveals this automotive’s rally roots.

Beyond this are metallic pedal caps, purple stitching, and manually adjustable GR-branded bucket seats completed in both material or Ultrasuede relying on the spec you purchase.

They’re grippy and look the half, and proved helmet-friendly on the circuit. For slightly background, I’m 194cm (2m give-or-take carrying a lid), and didn’t discover myself quick on headroom, nor did I must contort myself to clamber in.

The GR Corollas we drove had a North American-market 8.0-inch touchscreen with conversational voice controls activated by a “Hey Toyota” greeting, cloud-based navigation, and over-the-air compatibility.

It’s not totally clear what system Australian fashions will use, however Toyota has stated it’ll be updating the dated infotainment in its Corolla fashions for subsequent 12 months.

Features comparable to cellphone mirroring, embedded navigation, and rear digicam are all a given, and we’d financial institution on an uprated JBL sound system making the minimize too.

While the GR Corolla Morizo is a two-seater, the principle vary has related ranges of back-seat house as regular Corollas, and rear occupants don’t want to fret about hitting their knees on hard-shell seat backs since they aren’t fitted.

The boot appears to be like about the identical as a daily Corolla’s too, and the again seats fold 60:40. US fashions at the least use a tyre restore package fairly than a space-saver or full-size spare wheel.

What’s underneath the bonnet?

The similar 12-valve ‘G16E-GTS’ 1.6-litre three-cylinder (single-scroll ball-bearing) turbo as used within the GR Yaris, however pushing out an additional 20kW of energy.

Outputs are 220kW at 6500rpm, and torque is an unchanged 370Nm between 3000 and 5550rpm – aside from specialised Morizo Editions which supply 220kW and 400Nm.

The rear diffuser has three tailpipes, with the bigger centre outlet saved open at idle and underneath 30km/h to stress the donk’s rumble, earlier than closing off. Above 4500rpm it reopens to scale back back-pressure.

That further 20kW is tasked with hauling an additional (roughly) 150kg kerb weight. GR Corolla figures are nonetheless labeled as preliminary, however the goal kerb weight is 1475kg. By distinction the GR Yaris vary weighs between 1280 and 1320kg.

Toyota USA claims the GR Corolla will do a 4.99-second 0-60mph (0-96km/h) sprint, though this feels a smidgen formidable given we pulled a 5.4s within the GR Yaris – albeit in the true world with a restricted variety of runs.

More vital is its user-engagement ensured by the six-speed handbook gearbox with switchable rev-matching operate on downshifts, variable AWD with three totally different entrance/rear torque splits, and varied totally different driving modes.

The gasoline tank is listed as storing 50 litres.

Toyota GR Corolla tech specs:

  • Engine: 1.6-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder
  • Power: 220kW at 6500rpm
  • Torque: 370Nm at 3000-5550rpm (400Nm at 3250-4600rpm for Morizo)
  • Gearbox: Six-speed handbook with rev-match operate
  • Driveline: Variable AWD with three torque-split settings
  • 0-96km/h declare: 4.99s
  • Fuel tank: 50L

How does the Toyota GR Corolla drive?

Press the clutch and the starter button, and the little engine fires into life behind a begin sequence within the cluster. It sounds fairly bassy at idle thanks largely to the centre pipe, and like all balance-challenged three-bangers, has a particular chatter.

Now consider our launch drive happened totally on monitor, and never a circuit of the calibre of Laguna Seca or related. With this in thoughts we actually must mood our preliminary observations and anticipate a highway drive on native soil to get a extra rounded view.

But first impressions are nice, beginning with the correct and decisive shift motion in addition to a well-weighted clutch pedal with predictable take-up, paired to an engine that sounds fairly in contrast to different sizzling hatches – gruff and fizzy and something however faux.

You need to keep away from falling too low within the rev band, preserving it above 3000rpm the place it sings and affords near-instant pull. Heel-and-toe fanatics can change off the rev-matching operate, however don’t be too proud to lean on it both.

Being pushed back-to-back with a GR Supra handbook, it’s clear that the GR Corolla isn’t the identical degree of straight-line hero. But that’s not what this beast is basically about.

There are two distinct methods to configure the automotive: a rocker change forward of the gearstick modifications issues comparable to accelerator response and electrical steering weight, whereas the rotary dial behind the shifter is the place you alter the GR-Four 4WD system’s behaviour.

The engine rotates the longitudinal driveshaft which hooks as much as the rear wheels by means of an digital multi-plate clutch pack and management module, liable for creating the varied theoretical torque splits.

The default is a front-to-rear torque break up of round 60:40, however you may set it to a track-friendly 50:50 by pushing the centre part, or a 30:70 distribution for a barely extra full of life and rear-biased highway really feel that goes simpler on the entrance tyres as a bonus.

The base GR Corolla Core grade has open differentials, however just like the GR Yaris Rallye will be optioned with entrance and rear Torsen limited-slip diffs to ship energy to whichever corners can finest use it. The Torsen LSDs are customary in GR Corolla Circuit and Morizo grades.

Suspension is a MacPherson strut entrance format with newly circuit-tuned springs, shocks and stabiliser bars. At the rear is a double-wishbone-type multi-link meeting. Morizo variations add a stiffer spring price alongside the stiffer physique, lighter weight, and the aforementioned added engine torque.

It’s a blast actually, with exact electrical steering (2.4 turns lock-to-lock), an engine that wishes to be saved on the boil and rewards you with an totally distinctive soundtrack, a super-stiff physique, and grip all over the place that encourages you to push more durable and more durable with every passing minute.

It feels steady, however nimble sufficient to rotate into corners regardless of being a bit longer between the wheels than the GR Yaris, with the AWD system enabling slightly extra slip on the rear within the requisite mode with out triggering the digital aids.

I additionally discovered the driving place a smidgen much less compromised than the GR Yaris.

It’s straightforward to ease off the brake pedal simply the correct amount to start out including steering, and the stoppers (355mm rotors up entrance and 297mm on the rear) with four-piston and two-piston calipers respectively, confirmed so indicators of fade after a full monitor day in 40-degree celsius warmth.

While the automobiles we drove used US-spec Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, the variations we’re getting are anticipated to come back with Japan-spec 235/40 Yokohama Advan Apex V601s.

I can’t inform you a lot about how the GR Corolla performs on-road, save to say that there are clearly going to be extra comfy and under-the-radar dailies on the market.

But the place it counts, I reckon this issues ticks the identical bins as its much less sensible little sibling.

What do you get?

We don’t have remaining Australian specs, however it is a fast breakdown of the US-market vary to present slightly context.

GR Corolla Core highlights:

  • 18-inch solid alloy wheels
  • Functional air ducts alongside physique
  • Widened entrance and rear fender flares
  • Aluminum bonnet
  • Various GR badges and skirt imprints
  • Blacked-out grille and diffuser
  • Three brushed chrome steel exhaust shops
  • Roof mounted shark fin antenna
  • Auto LED headlights, DRLs, tail lights
  • Smart Key System distant keyless entry
  • Fabric seats with gray stitching and GR-badged headrests
  • 12.3-inch instrument cluster, bespoke
  • GR leather-trimmed, tilt and telescopic wheel
  • GR-badged begin/cease button, shift knob
  • Aluminum sport pedals
  • Single-zone local weather management
  • 8.0-inch touchscreen
  • Rear-view digicam with parking help traces

GR Corolla Core Performance pack provides

  • Front and rear Torsen LSDs
  • Red-painted brake calipers

GR Corolla Circuit provides

  • Front and rear Torsen LSDs
  • Red-painted brake calipers
  • Functional bonnet vents
  • Forged carbon-fibre roof
  • Synthetic leather-based and suede seats
  • Red inside stitching
  • 8-speaker JBL audio

GR Corolla Morizo provides

  • 18-inch solid alloy wheels
  • Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres
  • 30Nm extra torque
  • Two seats solely
  • Rear strut bracing

Is the Toyota GR Corolla protected?

The GR Corolla affords a lot the identical security gear because the common Corolla.

That means entrance, front-side, and curtain airbags, and prime tethers and ISOFIX factors for rear baby seats – not that the GR is probably the most family-oriented machine on the earth.

Standard help options will embrace:

  • Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
    • Pedestrian, Cyclist detection
  • Lane preserve help
  • Lane Trace Assist (centring)
  • Adaptive cruise management
  • Auto high-beam
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Speed-sign recognition
  • Reversing digicam

How a lot does the Toyota GR Corolla price to run?

Toyota Australia supplies a five-year and limitless kilometre guarantee.

The virtually mechanically-identical GR Yaris requires servicing each six months or 10,000km, with every of the primary six visits capped at a really cheap $260 per go to.

Expect the Corolla’s servicing scheme to be priced equally.

CarExpert’s Take on the Toyota GR Corolla

From the seat of the pants the GR Corolla doesn’t really feel just like the quickest sizzling hatch I’ve pushed.

But relating to sheer driver engagement, it delivers on its promise, feeling very cohesive in the identical approach different track-honed, handbook mega hatches just like the Civic Type R and i30 N handle to.

Of course the GR Corolla has a serious benefit over this pair within the type of its difficult AWD system shared with the GR Yaris – packaged on this incarnation into a way more sensible, straightforward to dwell with automobile.

We’re going to want to have a correct drive on roads, at residence, in opposition to some opponents, to present you a real perception into precisely the place the GR Corolla sits on the new hatch podium.

But let’s within the meantime commend Toyota for committing to a spread of efficiency automobiles – even one which’ll be extremely tight on provide wth assured lengthy wait lists.

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MORE: Everything Toyota Corolla

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