The last time when we were so excited about hatchbacks was in the 90s. We thought we never had the chance to go ga-ga over a small capacity hatchback ever again but here we are, looking at this new pocket rocket, the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla.
OK. To be fair, we did kind of went ga-ga over the GR Yaris. But as far as Corolla goes, when was the last time it actually excites? I know, that was the distant past. And when was the last time we hear about a 1.6L, 3-cylinder turbocharged hatchback that makes 300 horses (!) and 273 lb-ft (370 Nm) of torque. Hardly ever. Not even in the age of Civic SiR.
That’s right, folks, there is going to be a Corolla hatchback with that much power to offer. Crazy, I know. It kind of brings back the glorious days of Japanese performance hatchbacks. Remember the Swift GTi? The Pulsar GTiR? The Mazda 323 GTX? And the E80 Corolla hatchbacks with 4A-GE DOHC engine? Those were the days huh? It is awesome that Toyota is reigniting the performance hatchback segment.
The new 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is powered by the lightweight G16E-GTS turbocharged, direct/port-injected three-cylinder engine that puts out the aforementioned 300-horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque which peaks out at 3,000-5,500 RPM. The compact-yet-powerful engine is paired exclusively to a purist-approved manual gearbox (yay!).
Built on Toyota’s GA-C platform, the new Corolla is wide and sits low – as a sports car should, and boasts enhanced frame reinforcements developed specifically for GR Corolla. It has functional exterior air vents – unlike, you know, some cars, erhmmm, *cough* Civic.
A few other notables include a race-inspired interior, 18-inch wheels wrapped in 235/40R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubbers, fixed-caliper disc brakes with 14×1.1-inch ventilated and slotted rotors with 4—piston aluminum calipers, a unique triple exhaust and GR-Four All-Wheel-Drive drivetrain that offers a choice of 60-40, 50-50, or 30-70 power distribution to the front and rear wheels at the twist of a dial.
The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla will be offered in two grades: Core and Circuit Edition, and it will go on sale later this year. Pricing will be announced in the coming months.
All images courtesy of Toyota.