Toyota is demonstrating that affordable performance vehicles aren’t extinct
Toyota has released official pricing for the much awaited 2023 GR Corolla, and while the hot hatchback is remarkable for a number of reasons, like being a 300-hp Corolla powered by an odd three-cylinder engine, there’s one more: it’s cheap!
In “Core” specification, the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla will start at a very reasonable $36,995. The one-year-only GR Corolla Circuit Edition costs $43,995, followed by the outrageous GR Corolla Morizo Edition for $50,995. Okay, so those latter two costs sound a little high, especially for a Corolla, but consider the following: This is a 300-hp, all-wheel-drive performance automobile with a manual transmission.
GR Corolla Core | $36,995 (Really!)
Every GR Corolla allows drivers to modify the AWD system’s fore-aft torque distribution, from 60% front to 40% rear to 50/50 and even 70/30—as in, it gets rear-biased! What else is included? A 12.3-inch digital gauge display, automated temperature control, aluminium pedals, and full-LED exterior illumination are all standard features. The Core and Circuit Edition both have 18-inch wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.
Buyers may personalise their Cores with the $1,180 Performance package, which includes front and rear Torsen limited-slip differentials as well as red-painted brake callipers, as well as the $500 Cold Weather package (heated front seats and steering wheel) and Technology package (Qi wireless phone charger, JBL audio system, and navigation). Even with everything included, the GR Corolla Core costs a modest $39,375. There are just three paint colours available: black, ice cap, and supersonic red.
Circuit Edition GR Corolla | $43,995
Toyota also stuffs the limited-edition GR Corolla Circuit with extras, such as a bulging bonnet with elegant louvred slats, a forged carbon-fiber top, functioning brake ducts up front, and a slew of Core-exclusive features. A Qi wireless phone charger, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated side mirrors, and different seat fabric with red stitching are among the features. The Circuit’s Torsen limited-slip front and rear differentials, as well as the Core’s red-painted brake callipers, are also included with the Performance package. Three paint colours are available, like on the Core, however they differ slightly: Supersonic Red and Ice Cap remain, while Heavy Metal replaces black (glossy dark grey).
Morizo Edition GR Corolla | $50,995
When you go up to the very limited-production GR Corolla Morizo Edition, what it takes away is just as significant as what it adds: the rear seat. Yes, this is a two-seat Toyota Corolla, and it’s the greatest kind. With the back seat removed, a full-width body brace runs behind the front seats, acting as a type of barrier for any baggage or luggage you place on the flat space where the seat used to be. Toyota also removes the window lift mechanisms, so the glass in the back is fixed, but each rear door opens and locks correctly. Weight loss of around 100 pounds.
If you couldn’t tell from the unusual seating configuration, the Morizo is all about performance. Tweaks to its engine management software result in an additional pound of boost, raising peak torque from 273 lb-ft to a powerful 295 lb-ft. A shorter-ratio six-speed manual gearbox, new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 performance tyres (normal GR Corollas use Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber), forged-aluminum 18-inch wheels, stronger springs, and harder monotube dampers are also featured. The Morizo, named after Toyota President Akio Toyoda’s racing alter ego, is likewise 0.2 inch lower than the other GR Corollas and is only available in Smoke (matte grey) and Wind Chill Pearl (bright white).
Toyota GR Corolla 2023 Pricing:
Core GR Corolla: $36,995
$43,995 for the GR Corolla Circuit Edition
$50,995 for the GR Corolla Morizo Edition
Yes, the Circuit and Morizo Editions are expensive, but we’d argue that it doesn’t really matter. If you want the Morizo, $50,000 isn’t out of line for something certain to be unusual, and its performance upgrades almost assure it’s the best-performing GR Corolla of the group. The Circuit Edition is no longer available after the 2023 model year, and unless you really must have its fancy carbon top and muscular hood design, it appears that an entry-level GR Corolla Core with the Performance pack gives you the same hardware (roof and hood aside).
To that end, an equipped Core at just under $40,000 (plus dealer markups) appears to be the way to go. Even though it costs about twice as much as the cheapest Corolla available today, it’s a steal for what it is. It also puts the figurative pressure on Honda, which is set to release its yet-to-be-priced Civic Type R, a direct rival, soon. While the original Type R was priced similarly to the Core, the new version has more power (315 ponies and a lot more torque than any GR Corolla)
It is still front-wheel drive. The GR Corolla is just $100 more expensive than the six-speed manual version of Acura’s new Integra—a 200-hp hatch that shares mechanicals with the Type R’s inferior Civic Si sister.
What’s interesting about the GR Corolla’s cost is that it positions Toyota as an outlier in terms of not just delivering inexpensive performance cars, but also extending their availability. This is the same business that updated the GR86 sports car for a new generation last year and is now adding a manual transmission to the more powerful Supra sports vehicle. Toyota, keep it up.