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2023 Toyota GR Corolla front three-quarters view

The Best Car I Drove in 2022: Toyota GR Corolla

My friends, we've reached hot hatch nirvana

  • We here at Edmunds are taking a look back at everything we drove in 2022.
  • As part of a series, each of our writers is picking a favorite.
  • At the buzzer, the GR Corolla snuck its way in as my top pick.

I wasn't even supposed to drive this car. At the office the other day, one of our editors was kind enough to dangle the keys in front of my face and ask if I wanted to take the GR Corolla to lunch. I slammed my laptop shut, snatched them from his hand, and fast-walked down to the garage to find the hunky hatchback waiting for me. Best Chipotle run of the year.

In a short 15-minute drive, the GR Corolla put an absolute spell on me. So much so that I begged to take it home from work that day, and my generous co-workers said yes. On my long commute home, the GRolla came alive even more. This pint-sized performer has more personality than cars that cost three times its price.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla rear 3/4

Many wise people before me have said that one of the key components of any good performance car is that it must be fun even at low speeds. I've reviewed cars full time for five years now, and the GR Corolla is the most fun car I've ever driven around a city. It sings and shouts, it wooshes and growls — when you put your foot down it all grows more intense. Who knew that three cylinders could make such a ruckus?

The gearing is hilariously short, so off-the-line acceleration is considerable, especially as the boost comes into play. While the transmission isn't quite Civic Type R-good, it's still satisfying to throw into gear, and the clutch bites at exactly the right moment for quick shifts. Complementing the transmission is excellent steering, with firm weight and quick movement.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla engine

At higher speeds, the car feels poised and confident, both in a straight line and around corners. A small caveat to add: We tested the Morizo with ridiculous Michelin Cup 2 tires, which obviously added more grip. But even with less aggressive rubber, the Corolla can fly through turns with its sophisticated all-wheel-drive system.

After reading and watching so much content on the related but overseas-only GR Yaris, I had a feeling that this Corolla would be something special, but even that was an underestimation. The GR Corolla is without a doubt the best thing I've driven this year, and it's up there with the best cars I've ever driven. Best wishes to all of you who want one because my goodness is it going to be difficult to get one at a decent price.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla profile

Edmunds says

Like the Supra and MR2 that came before it, the GR Corolla will go down as a Toyota sports car legend.