The Right Spec: 2023 Toyota GR Corolla

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
the right spec 2023 toyota gr corolla

Say what? A generation of drivers generally knows the Corolla as a beige sedan acting as a rolling roadblock in afternoon traffic. But as part of a continuing example of how having a true gearhead – Akio Toyoda – at the head of a car company can do wonders for entertaining product development, the three hundred horsepower GR Corolla has rolled out and dragged the nameplate into conversations with machines like the Civic Type R and other hot hatchbacks.

There are three trims of the GR Corolla. Out of the gate is the Core trim, powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline three-cylinder making the aforementioned triple-century ponies at 6,500 rpm. Every GR Corolla, regardless of the amount you spend, is good for the same amount of horsepower. The brakes are equal across the trim line as well, save for a splash of red paint on the aluminum calipers on the top two trims. 

All-wheel drive is onboard with a trio of power settings including ones with 50/50 or 30/70 splits. That’s a six-speed manual, of course. Tires on the $35,900 Core and $42,900 Circuit trims are 235/40R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 high-performance summer hoops. Also part of the deal? Complimentary 1-year National Auto Sport Association (NASA) membership which includes a free High Performance Driving Experience (HPDE). Good stuff.

A major variance between the Core and Circuit is the latter’s standard front/rear Torsen limited-slip diffs, able to expertly claw for traction whether the driver is at Laguna Seca or simply Exit 12 on the interstate. An available $1,200 performance package corrects that omission on the Core and we’d wager most enthusiasts would (rightly) check that option box without hesitation. Whether they go for some of the optional luxuries like heated seats and wireless phone charging is up to them.

Plenty of digital ink has been spilled on the top-spec Morizo Edition, a trim that sheds weight and bumps torque to 295 lb-ft of twist from 273. It ditches the back seat and most of its audio speakers in a quest for lightness, plus gear like the rear wiper blade and motor. This slim-fast regimen drops about 100 lbs to tip the scales at a listed 3186 pounds. Tires are upgraded to sticky Cup 2s.

So what’s the pick? Perhaps predictably, we’d select the Core with optional limited-slip diffs, pushing the MSRP to $37,080 – provided you can find one not marked up by greedy dealers. This author will also splash out $425 on Supersonic Red paint because he is an irritating extrovert.

Still, pour one out for the Morizo. That $49,900 track weapon was designed to meet specifications desired by Toyoda himself – tight handling, a high power-to-weight ratio, and a highly rigid body – proving that having a gearhead at the helm is the right call for waking up an entire car company.

[Image: Toyota]

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3 of 23 comments
  • Sid SB Sid SB on Dec 28, 2022

    Local dealers in Arkansas do not seem to be able to say they will get a Core, let alone a Circuit. Feels like the Golf R again, generate demand but very limited supply :(. Toyota in Japan is running a lottery for the GR Corollas, seems a good idea.

    • Mike-NB2 Mike-NB2 on Dec 31, 2022

      Agreed. I put a deposit on a Golf R back in October 2021 (not 2022) and there isn't even a VIN generated yet. 14 months and it'll likely be much, much longer.

  • El scotto El scotto on Dec 28, 2022

    Wait, wait! Did Toyota build a boy racer with normal Corolla dependability?

  • Probert It's worth pointing out that this car gets this great range due to its very low cd rating. It ha a relatively small 77kw battery. This aero efficiency gives it about 50 more miles relative to the ioniq 5, which uses the same powertrain. KIA/Hyundai make really good EVs. Hopefully this becomes more common.
  • ToolGuy My Author has a high level of self-absorption (nothing wrong with that, maybe).Corey you are a Lexus buyer. Told you already but you are pacing yourself (nothing wrong with that, maybe). Keep scratching off non-Lexi from your list and you'll be fine (maybe).Congrats on the new job/new industry.
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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy can't solve all the issues raised here tonight, but this does remind me that I have some very excellent strawberry jam direct from Paris in the fridge.
  • ToolGuy Cool.(ToolGuy supports technology advancement, as well as third-person references)