Car and Driver (USA)
TOYOTA GR COROLLA
Are we in the midst of a hot-hatch revival? Let’s say yes, because we want to manifest that. Apparently Toyota has seen our vision board, as the eagerly awaited GR Corolla looks like it’s going to reinvigorate the segment by giving us everything we liked about the forbidden-fruit GR Yaris and more.
The GR Corolla is flared fendered and RC-car silly in the best way, with a chunky, vented body and a modified version of the Corolla’s big frown of a grille that makes the GR look like it’s laughing. It certainly has a lot to be happy about. Under the hood is a version of the turbocharged 1.6-liter DOHC inline-three from the Yaris GR. In the Corolla, the G16E-GTS engine makes 300 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, up from the Yaris’s 257 and 266, respectively. The Corolla has a unique exhaust with three outlets to reduce backpressure. A ball-bearing turbo and exhaust manifold are integral with the DOHC 12-valve head, while oil jets cool the pistons, and a machined intake port improves flow.
The GR Corolla aims for our hearts by coming exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission (with a rev-match function), and it also has Toyota’s first sporty all-wheel-drive system in decades. Dubbed GR-Four, the name is embossed on the doorsills as a salute to the GT-Four rally cars of the ’80s.
The default setting is a 60:40 front-torear torque split, but the clutch-pack coupling can send as much as 70 percent to the rear. Track mode locks the split at 50:50. However you cut it, the torque feeds two open differentials as standard with the option of front and rear Torsen limited-slip diffs.
To prepare for the gravel-spewing, airborne life the GR Corolla will live, the unibody gets additional welds and more structural adhesive. The GR is wider than a standard Corolla by 2.4 inches, and those chonky fenders house 235/40R-18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires. Grooved 14.0-inch brake rotors up front and 11.7-inch rotors in the rear fill the 18-inch wheels.
Inside, there’s a racy steering wheel, more aggressive seats, and a performance readout in the digital gauge cluster. There’s even a proper hand brake. Pricing is likely to be in the low $30Ks when it hits later this year.