Sub-$40K GR Corolla tells Golf R to bring it


A sub-$40K, all-wheel-drive hot hatch with a World Rally Championship-winning engine … in this economy? Bless the wonderful wizards at Toyota, but they made it happen.

The manual-only, five-seat 2023 GR Corolla “Core” costs $36,995 with zero options and destination included. Want the fancy set of limited-slip Torsen diffs to go with that 300-hp three-cylinder? That’ll be just $1180, still $7K below a six-speed Golf R. Let’s be fair to the German, however, and add comparable creature comforts to the Toyota via the Cold Weather package ($500, heated front seats and wheel) and Technology Pack ($770, premium audio, in-board navigation, and wireless charging pad). You’re still under $40K.

Toyota does, of course, capitalize on the hype around this car with a few kitted-out, limited-run specials. Each costs a premium: The Circuit Edition, a first-year celebration with all the optional Core hardware plus a forged carbon-fiber roof, an even-larger rear spoiler, a smattering of suede on the seats, and a few extra hood vents—all for $43,995. (Expect the 1500 2023MY units bound for our shores not to go for sticker.)

2023 GR Corolla Circuit Edition drift track

The Morizo Edition ditches the rear seats and adds 22 additional pound feet of torque a bit higher in the rev range (295, between 3250 and 4600 rpm, vs 273 lb-ft between 3000 and 5500). It also gets a rubber upgrade from the 235-width Michelin PS4s found on the Core and Circuit cars: 245-width Pilot Sport Cup 2s. This salute to Akio Toyoda will be appropriately exclusive—only 200 units—and expensive, at $50,995.

Core-spec GR Corollas will arrive in the U.S. from Japan beginning in November of this year. Too bad it’s not a month earlier, because this WRC-engined upstart just might spook the venerable Golf R.

2023 GR Corolla Circuit Edition interior dash cabin
Circuit Edition interior Toyota

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