2023 Toyota GR Corolla: Everything We Know So Far

The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is an example of the brand's continued promise of making exciting cars, though while shedding the brand's reputation for tepid, sane motoring. Toyota unveiled the GR Yaris hot hatch in Europe and the rest of the world in 2020, and the motoring planet has never been the same. While the GR Yaris remains a sacred fruit among potential American buyers, Uncle Sam got the new BMW Z4-based MkV GR Supra and the updated GR 86 sports car. Still, there's a problem: The GR Yaris has standard all-wheel-drive, and it's about time America got a taste of a genuine rally-bred pocket rocket that won't break the bank.

Toyota started teasing us with the GR Corolla in 2021, and it immediately got the approval of American enthusiasts pining for the latest hot Toyota. The Japanese automaker has yet to unveil all the juicy deets about its latest American-bound hot hatch. However, we know enough about the 2023 GR Corolla to declare it the most highly anticipated sporty Toyota to arrive after the Supra's debut in 2019.

Turbocharged three-cylinder engine

The best thing about the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is the hardware. It's essentially a GR Yaris trapped in a more considerable hatchback body, particularly a Corolla Hatchback with strengthened GA-C underpinnings. Under the hood lies the same G16E-GTS three-cylinder turbocharged 1.6L gas engine as the GR Yaris, but there's a twist: The GR Corolla's engine pumps out 300 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, 32 more horses, and seven more torques than in a GR Yaris. The power hike is a welcome addition since the GR Corolla is 430 pounds heavier than the smaller three-door Yaris.

According to Toyota, the GR Corolla's blown three-cylinder mill delivers instant acceleration with peak torque at 3,000 to 5,500 rpm. Meanwhile, max horsepower is yours at 6,500 rpm. The engine breathes through an innovative triple exhaust system like a Honda Civic Type R. Toyota claims the all-aluminum exhaust construction saves weight and reduces engine backpressure significantly to maximize power delivery.

GR-Four AWD and manual gearbox

The new Toyota GR Corolla's potent three-cylinder engine sends power to all four wheels using a rally-derived GR-Four all-wheel drivetrain, which gives the driver control over the power distribution between the front and rear wheels. You can shift between Normal, Sport, and Track mode to adjust the front/rear torque split to 60:40, 30:70, or 50:50, respectively.

In addition, the GR Corolla will arrive exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox like the GR Yaris. However, you can't get a sport-tuned CVT or a dual-clutch automatic like in a Hyundai Veloster N. If you want an automatic transmission, try the Corolla Apex Edition with lowered suspension and a naturally-aspirated 169-horsepower 2.0-liter four-banger. But with the new GR Corolla, it's manual or bust.

All that luscious hardware lies beneath a 2.6-inch widebody kit to give the GR Corolla a more aggressive and planted stance. Suspension duties are courtesy of MacPherson front and double-wishbones in the rear with unique Gazoo Racing coil springs, dampers, and stabilizer bars.

Toyota GR Corolla Core and Circuit Edition

The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla will arrive in two grades: Core and Circuit Edition. The GR Corolla Core trim is first to come in the latter part of 2022 and is available in black, white, or red paint. Other features include a color-keyed roof, fender flares, GR side rockers, a rear lip spoiler, and GR fabric sports seats.

On the other hand, the GR Corolla Circuit Edition is a limited-run model arriving in 2023 and is only available during the 2023 model year. The Circuit Edition has a forged carbon-fiber roof, vented hood bulges, a more prominent rear spoiler, and suede sport seats with red accents. Additionally, the Circuit Edition gets Torsen front and rear limited-slip differentials and an exclusive shift knob signed by Toyota CEO and master driver Akio Toyoda. The available paint colors for the GR Corolla Circuit Edition include red, white, or heavy metal gray.

Standard across the Core and Circuit Editions are 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires and four-piston front with four-piston rear brakes. Other goodies include a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, Apple CarPlay and Android connectivity, and a mechanical parking brake, an essential tool that allows you to engage in fantastic power slides.

The Morizo Edition trim is pretty limited

Only 200 Toyota GR Corolla Morizo Editions will be produced for 2023, which makes it a pretty limited run by almost anyone's standard. So what does the special trim get you? More torque for a start. The special trim comes with 295 pound-feet in total, which is 22 more than the standard Corolla GR. Owners of a Morizo Edition will also get out of giving their friends rides pretty easily, as this version has no rear seats. You'll also be lacking speakers, rear window regulators, and a rear windscreen wiper — but the cuts have been made for a good reason. 

The Morizo Edition is over 100 pounds lighter than the Circuit model of the Corolla GR, so the power-to-weight ratio should be improved somewhat. In terms of grip, the included Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires should ensure you stay firmly attached to the road, and the special front brake ducts should keep your disks from glowing if you're not giving your brakes an easy time.

Stylistically, you can expect a lot of red and black on the vehicle's interior, with Ultrasuede adding a bit of texture to the steering wheel and six-speed gear shift. The vehicle's seats, of which there are two, are clad in leather. On the exterior, you have a choice: Windchill Pearl or matte gray, the latter of which is an exclusive that's heading to Toyota dealerships in 2023 (via Car and Driver).

The prices, like the models, vary greatly

You can get your hands on one of Toyota's most highly anticipated vehicles ever for as little as $36,995 — but that's just the core model of the GR Corolla. At the other end of the scale, those lucky enough to get one of the 200 Toyota GR Corolla Morizo Editions available will be parting with $50,995. In the middle of the two is the Circuit edition, which isn't as strictly limited and retails for $43,995. Then there are the extras you can bolt on to the Core model to make it a bit closer to its flashy siblings. However, things aren't that simple. Due to limited availability and a lack of a lottery system, you could find yourself paying a dealership something like $15,000 more than the MSRP (via The Truth About Cars).

For $1,180, your Core edition will get the Torsen limited-slip differentials and red calipers the Circuit edition sports as standard. The Technology Package is priced at $770 and nets you a JBL audio system and wireless smartphone charger. If you want to fight off the cold weather with heated seats and a heated steering wheel, you can expect another $500 on the price tag. The only add-on for the Circuit edition is an extended range of paint options for $425. Similarly, the prices vary with the Morizo Edition's colors. Windchill Pearl is the cheap option at $425, while the matte gray or "smoke" paint will set you back $1,645. All versions of the car pack the same turbocharged 1.3-liter three-cylinder engine that Toyota somehow managed to wrangle 300 horsepower out of.

Its driver-assistance technology is Toyota's best

The GR Corolla also comes with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, which is the company's advanced driver assistance system. Safety Sense 3.0 comes with a collision detection system that is capable of picking up other vehicles, motorcycles, cyclists, and pedestrians. The system will warn you if your car is in danger of hitting something, and automatically apply the brakes if it looks like an accident is imminent. Alongside the collision detection system is dynamic radar cruise control, which attempts to maintain a set speed but will also keep a set distance between your vehicle and any vehicles in front of you. Couple this with the lane departure alert, which will let you know if you're leaving your lane and keep you on track if you don't take action, and you have a vehicle that almost drives itself on highways.

Lane tracing assist takes things a step further still, and should keep the vehicle centered in its lane. Road sign assist automatically detects things like speed signs, stop signs, and yield signs, then turns them into alerts for the driver. Finally, automatic high beams come on when they're needed and dip again if the headlights or tail lights of another driver are detected. While Safety Sense 3.0 appears on many Toyotas, the GR Corolla is also fitted with a blind spot monitor which will alert the driver to other vehicles in their blind spots by playing a warning tone.

The standard warranty may cause some concerns

The GR Corolla is covered by Toyota's standard 36-month/36,000-mile vehicle warranty along with a number of other guarantees. The standard coverage applies to every part for three years, or 36,000 miles of travel — but does not apply in cases of standard wear and tear or to maintenance items like oil filters. The powertrain, which includes the engine, transmission/transaxle, front-wheel-drive system, rear-wheel drive, seatbelts, and airbags, benefits from longer coverage: it's all guaranteed for five years or 60,000 miles. The vehicle also comes with five years of rust-through coverage. This kind of coverage isn't affected or nullified by mileage and relates to holes caused by rust in the vehicle's sheet metal.

Beyond the standard warranty, Toyota has acknowledged that the GR Corolla may see use beyond regular roads and highways. However, the automaker failed to confirm whether the stresses caused by putting a car around a racetrack will not invalidate the warranty. When The Drive made an inquiry into the matter, the best they got was a statement saying Toyota's warranty will cover "responsible driving" on track days. The Drive also refers to the trouble a GR86 owner had getting Toyota to cover his engine rebuild after it failed following a performance driving event. As things stand, Toyota owners should be very wary of what the standard warranty covers, especially if they want to take their GR Corolla to a track.

The GR Corolla is pretty hard to get hold of

On paper, the Core version of the GR Corolla is out now and you can put in an order for one on Toyota's website. In reality, they're pretty hard to get hold of. According to The Truth About Cars, you can get a deposit down on a Core model if you're prepared to pay significantly more than the sticker price. The two other editions of the GR Corolla are set to be released in 2023, with the Circuit edition coming out in the spring and the Morizo Edition scheduled to arrive in the winter. 

The Circuit and Morizo Editions are significantly rarer than the core model, so it's fair to expect they'll be even harder to find. Toyota has hinted that more vehicles will be produced if demand justifies it, so the Core model may be slightly easier to get next year. The introduction of a lottery system, similar to the one prospective Japanese buyers took part in, might also be a way to stop dealers from rinsing customers for close to an extra 50% over the MSRP. As things stand, enthusiasts desperate to get behind the wheel of one of Toyota's most exciting vehicles should probably start crossing their fingers.