2023 Toyota GR Corolla First Drive Video in OLIVE BRANCH, MS

Build-A-Brand's Blog | 2023 Toyota GR Corolla First Drive Video

Check out Kelley Blue Book's 2023 Toyota GR Corolla First Drive video!

Toyota’s put their money where their mouth is with the GR Corolla and then done us a solid by offering it here in the US. The GR Corolla gets powered by the G16E 1.6-liter 3-cylinder single scroll turbo charged engine that makes 300 horsepower and cranks out 273 lb-ft torque.

There are three different versions of the GR Corolla available. The Core, Circuit Edition, which is only available in the launch year and the newly announced Morizo edition. There will only be 200 of those slated for US production.

But let’s talk about the “normal” one first. The Core grade is basically the base model. It gets a back rear spoiler, fender flares and cloth sport seats. The Circuit Edition gets those wide fenders, plus a hood bulge, and carbon fiber roof, suede-trimmed sport seats and red accents and a Morizo shift knob. All the GR Corollas get Toyota’s all-new Audio Multimedia 8-inch touchscreen that supports wireless CarPlay, Android Auto and over-the-air update capability. The GR Corolla gets equipped with the GR-FOUR AWD system that the driver can customize for different torque distribution, 60:40 for normal driving, 50:50 for maximum stability either on a track or in inclement weather or 30:70 for when you’re on twisty roads. The Circuit Edition gets a Torsen Limited Slip differential for better cornering. You can upgrade the Core edition to get this, too, otherwise you’ve got 4WD open diffs standard. You can also get the cold weather package on the Core trim for heated seats and steering wheel. The throttle feels responsive and the turbo spools up quickly, so you don’t notice a ton of lag. 3-cylinders and 300 horses feel like plenty out here. The GR Corolla gets an intelligent manual 6-speed transmission with rev-matching capabilities. Throws on this gearbox are short, they feel super smooth. If we’re splitting hairs, I’m still of the mind that the gearbox on the Mazda MX-5 Miata is the best you can get on an affordable sports car. But I like how the gearing is set up on the GR Corolla. It’s a bit of a goldilocks scenario, not too long, but not too short, especially for normal driving. In that 30:70 spilt you do come up against some understeer if you’re trying to get a little sideways, but for an AWD car, you can definitely have a blast. With that adjustable AWD system setting the power up the way you want it feels like a game changer.

When it comes to the suspension, you get a Macpherson front set up and double wishbone in the rear. It feels well tuned, on a smooth track it’s tough to judge, but I’m plenty comfortable, not too harsh sport mode. I’ll have to save more judgement for when I get it in more normal driving conditions. This is going to get a ton of comparisons with the Honda Civic Type R, which gets a little more horsepower and torque with a 4-cylinder engine (315 hp/310 lb-ft torque) it’s a bit lighter (~3,150 lbs) but it’s front wheel drive verses AWD. It’s going to make for a fun comparison.

Overall, the story with the GR Corolla is that adjustable AWD system. It’s awesome, it’s what’s makes the GR Corolla stand out and it’s impressive. I think that’s going to win over a lot of folks looking for a fun hot hatch because it makes it so customizable for the type of driving you’re doing. Visibility isn’t stellar because the C-pillar is a bit thick. But again, you’ve got safety features to help you stay out of trouble.

For a first crack at this car, after having spent about an hour in it my verdict, I want one. Even in this short a time, it feels like a complete package. I can’t wait to get more seat time and maybe even to a comparison with the forthcoming Civic Type R. Base

Core starts at $35,900, the Circuit Edition is $42,900 and if you’re one of the lucky ones, the special Morizo Edition goes for ($49,900) closer to 50. That Morizo edition ratchets up the sport performance and gets more torque (295 lb-ft), deletes the rear seats and it gets wider Michelin Pilot Sport Cut 2 tires for max grip as well as an even stiffer chassis and mono-tube shocks. Bonus lap in the Morizo edition and I couldn’t say no. More torque, shorter gears, 100 lighter. Drives like a totally different car. Mega amounts of fun. One of the most fun things I’ve driven in a while. It’s amazing how different it feels even from the Circuit Edition. That’s fun.

Competitors include the Honda Civic Si and Type R, Volkswagen GTI and R and the Hyundai Veloster N. Super fun on the track. Super fun to drive as a daily. Manual transmission. Great dynamics, tech and standard features. Another Hot hatch! Okay, Toyota GR Corolla, awesome.

00:00 2023 Toyota GR Corolla

0:25 Engine

1:20 Exterior

1:34 Interior

3:02 Driving Impressions

9:10 Competitors

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