Car News

2023 Toyota GR Corolla is a 300-HP, AWD Hot Hatch

Toyota heard the cries of driving enthusiasts to bring the GR Yaris hot hatch to Canada, but instead, we're getting something even hotter. This is the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla, a car from the same Gazoo Racing division responsible for the latest Supra and GR86. It pries incredible power from a tiny engine, offers all-wheel drive, and gets a widebody kit that would make 1980s tuners jealous.

1.6L Triple Monster

We'll start with that engine, because it's impossible to ignore. The 1.6L three-cylinder turbo engine from the GR Yaris has been tweaked by Gazoo Racing to make even more power. The tiny engine makes 300 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, which is 43 hp more than the GR Yaris, thanks to a new triple exhaust, and 131 hp more than the 2.0L four-cylinder in the Corolla SE.

Because sending that much power to just the front wheels would be madness, Toyota has added a rally-developed GR Four AWD drivetrain. Available with Torsen mechanical limited-slip differentials on both axles, the system will let the driver pick from a 60:50 front-rear power split, 50:50, or 30:70 to send more shove to the back axle.

The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla will only have one transmission, a six-speed manual that gets a short-shifter for tighter throws and has rev-matching to make every driver as smooth as the professionals.

Wider, Grippier, Meaner

Toyota has widened the standard Corolla by around 75 mm with big arches front and rear to help fit the 235-wide Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires on 18-inch wheels. There are structural changes to the body as well including extra welds and Toyota's use of more structural adhesive to make the shell as rigid as possible. Combine those changes with the multi-link rear suspension and Toyota has altered the GR Corolla so far from stock that it has to be built at the dedicated GR Factory instead of with every other Corolla.

Gaping vents in those wide front fenders add even more aggression to the GR Corolla's styling. A bulging hood, gloss-black grille and rear diffuser, and a healthy rear wing complete the look.

Interior Upgrades Match the Bodywork

The 2023 GR Corolla also debuts Toyota's latest infotainment system in the Corolla lineup. On an 8.0-inch screen, this is the same system found in the new Toyota Tundra pickup. It gets natural speech voice control with "Hey Toyota" activation to let you keep your hands on the wheel (or the gearstick), and supports wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Sports seats get GR badging and grey stitching, while a mechanical handbrake sits beside the driver replacing the electronic version on lesser models. A new 12.3-inch colour display that Toyota says was designed with the feedback of pro drivers has a GR meter display with a 4WD mode display, turbo pressure, gear indicator, and more of the details you'll need when hustling the hot hatch.

Toyota has updated Corolla's safety systems for the GR as well. Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 adds enhancements to its pre-collision system with pedestrian detection that lets it see motorcyclists and even guardrails in some conditions. Toyota says that lane departure alert with steering assist is also more refined in operation.

First-Year Special Edition

While the Core grade comes standard, a special Circuit Edition will be offered as a first-year exclusive. It gets the twin limited-slip differentials and a bare carbon fibre roof to lower weight. Inside, the Circuit model gets suede and synthetic leather seats and Toyota has added red contrast stitching to nearly every surface. The Circuit model will have heated front seats and a heated steering wheel along with navigation and a JBL audio system.

Pricing for the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla hasn't been unveiled yet, but the company will announce it in the next few months and the car will go on sale later this year.