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A close-up of the wheel of a grey 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is shown in the rain.

Corolla + Sports Car: Can it Be Done?

The Toyota Corolla is a sports car. Words you never thought you would see in the same sentence, right? Well, earlier this year, we all learned of Toyota’s upcoming all-new 2023 Toyota GR Corolla and how a family and commuter car got amped up for the racetrack. This isn’t the Toyota Corolla you currently see at a Toyota dealer, but it carries the Corolla roots everyone loves. Here’s what we know about the 2023 GR Corolla as it plans to make waves this fall.

How Did the Corolla Get Here?

Toyota has been in the racing game for a while now, thanks to the GAZOO racing team. You have the Toyota GR86 and the Toyota GR Supra, which are models engineered specifically for racing. The Toyota Corolla has a long history, yet you wouldn’t guess the Corolla model would be the foundation for a sports car. So, why Corolla?

Other competitors of the traditional Toyota Corolla are also in the sports car market, like the Honda Civic Si, Honda Civic Type R, and Volkswagen Jetta GLI. So, it makes sense that Toyota takes a stab at revving up one of its best-selling cars. The GR Corolla also comes with incredible name recognition and a beyond-reliable reputation. For active drivers looking for a sports car that doesn’t have huge maintenance costs, the GR Corolla should be at the top of the list.

The Toyota Corolla has been around for decades, three to be exact. It’s gone through countless upgrades over the years, and while the GR Corolla is an entirely different vehicle, we would say this is the most powerful upgrade yet. The Corolla brings years of reliability, efficiency, and affordability, so why not make it a sports car too?! With the high-quality Toyota foundation, the minds behind the Toyota GAZOO Racing Team engineered a special sports car that will surely make waves in the industry.

A grey 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is shown from the front in the pits in the rain after leaving a Toyota Dealer.

Unique Design

This isn’t the first sports car in Toyota’s lineup, but it might be the most unique sports car Toyota’s GAZOO Racing created. The Toyota GR Corolla is a hatchback, playing off the traditional Corolla Hatchback. While we’ve seen hatchback sports cars in the industry, this one is special for many reasons.

Lovingly known as a “hot hatch,” the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla has a unique design. Some of the design features are a large front grille, exterior air vents, wide fenders, and more aerodynamic features that enhance its performance abilities. Each model has its own flashy color options that will stand out just as much as the performance.

While the Core model of the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is fantastic itself, the Circuit model adds more design features that an enthusiast will truly appreciate. This model features a forged carbon fiber roof, 18-inch gloss black wheels, and a vented hood. You can even go a step further with the newly-announced MORIZO Edition, but that deserves its own section, so more on that below.

Of course, all of these unique design features in the GR Corolla do more than just look pretty. They greatly impact the driving experience in the 2023 GR Corolla. So, will this new Toyota sports car live up to the hype where it matters?

Driving the GR Corolla

So, how does the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla drive? Well, for now, we know that this hot hatch packs a big punch. It’s a compact 1.6L engine, but it’s turbocharged with 300 horsepower and a 6-speed manual transmission. Additionally, the GR Corolla features 273 lb-ft of torque.

The standard manual transmission is not your traditional manual transmission either. Toyota calls it an “Intelligent Manual Transmission,” and it includes rev-matching engineered to handle high torque levels. The GR Corolla also drives with a GR-FOUR AWD system that gives incredible traction by automatically distributing power to the front and rear wheels, from 50/50 to 30/70!

Whether you’re on the back road or the track, there are drive modes designed for the perfect experience in the GR Corolla. There are Normal, Sport, and Track modes ready to make the most of any road ahead. This makes it easy to use the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla as a weekday work car and a weekend adventure sports car.

With all of this impressive performance, the GR Corolla must carry swift handling as well. The GR Corolla suspension is designed to be lightweight yet also offer sturdy handling. The result is ultimate tire grip for a handling experience that you expect with sports cars. Speaking of tires, the GR Corolla comes with sport tires that help drivers experience all this sports car has to offer.

Inside the GR Corolla

The inside of a sports car counts too. The design and convenience features can all enhance the overall experience that Toyota delivers. Drivers can expect a 12.3-inch color multi-information display, push-button ignition, and automatic climate control. The Circuit model features a black interior with red trim and a host of standard features like heated seats, a heated steering wheel, and suede and synthetic leather-trimmed seating.

The GR Corolla’s interior is built to impress, just like its performance. It comes with a sleek design but also the necessary convenience and technology features drivers need for today’s driving experience. However, sport car fanatics looking for the ultimate performance ability along with a sleek interior got a fun surprise recently with Toyota’s latest edition to the GR Corolla family.

A grey 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is shown from the rear at an angle while sliding around a corner on a rainy day.

The MORIZO Edition

Earlier this year, when Toyota announced the all-new 2023 GR Corolla, it was with two models, the Core and the Circuit. Recently Toyota revealed another edition of the GR Corolla coming out that is quite impressive. The GR Corolla MORIZO Edition offers exclusive features that take the GR Corolla experience to the next level.

One of the major differences between the MORIZO Edition and the other GR Corolla models is the MORIZO is just a two-seater, whereas the other GR Corollas offer two rows of seating for five passengers. This keeps the MORIZO Edition more lightweight and intensifies the performance. Engineers intentionally removed weight from the rear seats and in other areas to increase the handling, performance, and stability.

More was adjusted under the hood of the MORIZO Edition to make it even better. Some features drivers will only find in the GR Corolla MORIZO Edition include 295 lb-ft of torque, shorter differential gears, close gear ratio, intelligent manual transmission, stiffened chassis, front brake ducts, and mono-tube shock absorbers. All of this translates to more power and increased handling, both on the road and race track.

The features aren’t the only exclusive thing about the MORIZO Edition. According to Toyota, there will only be 200 GR Corolla MORIZO Editions for the 2023 model year. This is largely due to the amount of precision it takes to engineer this over-the-top sports car. The true sports car enthusiasts, or Toyota enthusiasts who turn into sports car enthusiasts, will appreciate every mile in the MORIZO Edition.

The Standout Power of the GR Corolla

The competition is fierce in the sports car segment, and Toyota already holds its own with its other race cars. However, the GR Corolla marks a new era for Toyota in this segment. Toyota took a reliable, fan-favorite car and intensified it while keeping its affordability. Time will tell about the cost of the GR Corolla, but it’s expected to be an affordable option in the sports car market. Regardless, the GR Corolla is one that can’t be missed and one that will surely stand out in the 2023 model year.

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