All you need to know

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Photo: Toyota

Auto enthusiasts are dying for some new entrants in the hot sedan market, and one company has delivered. Check out the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla. We’re going to talk about everything you might need to know about this new machine.

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Photo: Toyota

Specifications to know

  • 6-speed manual transmission
  • GR-FOUR all-wheel drive
  • 300 horsepower
  • 372 lb-ft of torque
  • 1.6-litre 3-cylinder turbo engine
  • Two grades: Core (standard) and Circuit (limited edition)

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Photo: Toyota

What does GR mean?

If you’re new to Toyota performance, you might be wondering what the “GR” in the name means. Basically, GR stands for Gazoo Racing, which is one of Toyota’s performance offshoots (the other being Toyota Racing Development, or TRD).

Where TRD focuses more on off-road performance, GR is the race track ready designation that has grown to include a legitimate racing program in the endurance and rally programs.

The GR editions of Toyota’s vehicles will be more powerful than their base competitors and will also feature sportier suspension and aggressive styling cues.

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What is the GR FOUR AWD?

Totoya’s GR Four all-wheel-drive system was designed for rally competition, so it’s been rigorously tested in all conditions, from dirt to tarmac, rain to snow.

Here’s a bit more from Toyota’s press release, which outlines exactly what you can expect:

With the twist of a dial, GR Corolla can adjust four-wheel drive performance to meet the driver’s needs. For everyday situations, drivers can set a 60:40 front/rear torque split; for a sportier setting, the balance can be tilted rearward, with a 30/70 split for pleasant ride quality on twisty roads and circuits; and for maximum stability, a 50:50 setting can be used for fast, competitive driving on circuits or special stages. In each mode, the torque balance will automatically adjust in response to driver inputs, vehicle behavior and road or track conditions.

You’ll also have the option to upgrade to front and rear limited-slip differentials with the Performance Pack.

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G16E-GTS turbocharged engine

Like the GR Yaris, the Toyota GR Corolla is powered by a 1.361-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine – but unlike the GR Yaris, Toyota has found a way to give this larger vehicle more power and more torque to combat the extra weight added by a heavier vehicle.

The engine also drew inspiration from the world of motorsport, including multi-oil jet piston cooling, large diameter exhaust valves and a partially machined intake port. It features a single-scroll ball-bearing turbo, while combustion is fed through a D-4S port and direct fuel injection system.

These extra horsepower and torque figures come with some exhaust refinement.

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Manual transmission and suspension

The GR Corolla isn’t for the faint-hearted – your only transmission option is a six-speed manual with rev-matching, so get ready to start working that third pedal.

Other suspension components included:

  • A stiffer platform with more spot welds and structural adhesive
  • MacPherson strut front suspension and double wishbone rear suspension
  • Improved springs, shocks and stabilizer bars
  • 18-inch cast alloy wheels with gloss black finish
  • Michelin Pilot Sport 4 235/40R18 tires
  • 14-inch, four-piston front brakes; 11.7-inch twin-piston rear brakes

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Aggressive styling

GR versions of Toyota’s machines come with a widebody makeover – meaning the Corolla GR is 2.5 inches wider than the Corolla hatchback and a 1.5-inch increase in length. The appearance is sharp and pointed, with a planted and muscular stance, and a large rear spoiler. The 103.9-inch wheelbase is unchanged.

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Let’s talk technology

You probably don’t buy the Toyota GR Corolla specifically because it has a good infotainment system, but we’ll talk about technology anyway.

The 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster will tell you turbo pressure, selected AWD mode, gear position indicator and tachometer. You’ll also get an eight-inch infotainment screen in the center of the dash (unless you upgrade to the Technology Pack).

Other technical features include:

  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Multiple charging ports
  • Optional Qi wireless charging
  • Toyota SafetySense 3.0

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Basic model VS. Track Edition

Our aforementioned descriptions are all based on the Core model, which will be the standard model for the Toyota GR Corolla, with cloth-wrapped sports seats and a black and silver color scheme. The technical components of both cars are the same as the GR Corolla with the added Performance Pack, but there are some improvements on the Circuit Edition.

The limited-run Circuit Edition offers performance features like a forged carbon fiber roof that’s lighter than the standard roof, vented hoods and a larger spoiler than the Core model. It also includes suede-trimmed sports seats with red accents, brake calipers painted with GR logos, an exclusive shift knob and an exclusive Heavy Metal tint.

You’ll also have the option of adding a Cold Weather package for heated front seats and a heated steering wheel; the Technology Pack for navigation, enhanced stereo and wireless charging; and the Performance Package, which adds Torsen limited-slip differentials to the front and rear axles.

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What we don’t know

At the moment, we don’t have an exact release date or price. We know the Core model will be released later this year (with the Circuit Edition releasing in 2023), and pricing should be released closer to that date. Many estimates peg the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla between $37,000 and $43,000 — but with today’s market, just about anything goes.

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