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2023 Toyota GR Corolla Is Real, U.S.-Bound and Manual-Only

New rally-inspired Corolla has enthusiasts excited

  • Rally-inspired performance model based on the standard Corolla hatchback
  • Standard all-wheel drive, manual transmission and 300-horsepower engine
  • Available later this year as a base Core model or Circuit Edition
  • Part of the 12th Corolla generation introduced in 2020

What is the GR Corolla?

Is it appropriate to rejoice over a car? If you ask rally enthusiasts, they will point to the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla and proclaim "Hallelujah!" The GR Corolla is a beefed-up and sporty variant of the standard Corolla hatchback, complete with numerous performance upgrades, a six-speed manual as the sole available transmission, and aggressive styling that ties into the rally pedigree of Toyota's Gazoo Racing motorsport sub-brand. When the GR Corolla goes on sale later in 2022, it will include performance driving instruction and a one-year membership to the National Auto Sport Association. In short, the GR Corolla is for real.

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What's under the GR Corolla's hood?

The GR Corolla is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine making 300 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. It borrows the motor from the overseas darling GR Yaris, but it's upgraded to achieve additional power thanks to a three-piece muffler ending in stainless steel exhaust tips.

Just as important, the GR Corolla comes standard with an advanced all-wheel-drive system, which drivers can adjust to send 40%, 50% or 70% of its power to the rear wheels. The short-throw manual transmission comes with automatic rev-matching to provide interrupted power during gear shifts. Front and rear limited-slip differentials are also available to replace the standard open diffs, and they enhance the GR Corolla's cornering performance even further. This hot hatch is shaping up to be a rally driver's dream.

How's the GR Corolla's interior?

There are two GR Corolla models: the base Core and the more premium Circuit Edition, which will only be sold for the vehicle's launch year. Both include push-button start, aluminum pedals and a six-way-adjustable driver's seat. There is also a 12.3-inch digital information display and an 8-inch center touchscreen run by the latest Toyota operating system. Standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring prove that the GR Corolla has the tech to back up its performance credentials.

Core models offer a fabric interior, while the Circuit Edition has striking red accents and leather trim. Circuit Editions also have additional comfort features, some of which are available on the Core as options. On the whole, the GR Corolla interior is an upgraded and highly stylized version of the standard Corolla cabin.

Edmunds says

This is an "all hands on deck" moment for driving enthusiasts. Based on its high-strung engine and aggressive all-wheel-drive system alone, the GR Corolla seems primed for attacking corners on asphalt or sliding sideways around a dirt course. Such affordable, smile-inducing unicorns rarely make it to U.S. shores. This time, though, the rally gods smile on us.