Car and Driver (USA)



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.

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