Toyota likes to brag that the Corolla is the best-selling nameplate in the world, having surpassed the illustrious Volkswagen Beetle. Ho-hum. But Toyota has just announced pricing for the 2023 Corolla GR, a 6-speed AWD hatchback that has 300 horsepower from a 1.6-liter inline-three.
So, this is what the world has come down to: an engine with fewer cylinders than I’d consider acceptable (aside of a Deux Chevaux) that puts out almost as much horsepower as a Mustang Cobra from 20 years ago. The cost of entry is $36,995 and ranges up to $50,995.
Indeed, you read right — 50 grand for a Corolla.
So, yes, we currently live in a different world these days, where up means down and an econo-hatch costs 50 grand (though one with 187.5 horses per liter). Rather than fret about getting old, let’s look at what makes the upcoming 2023 Corolla GR models seem so exciting for enthusiasts.
The Core is the cheap one of the bunch and the first to arrive at dealerships. The AWD system is capable of splitting power 60-40, 50-50 or 30-70 between the front and rear wheels. Available colors will be white, black and Supersonic Red and will include a color-keyed roof with black rear lip spoiler, GR-Four stamped side rockers and wide-fender flares. On the inside you’ll find fabric sport seats with GR logos.
Move up to the Circuit edition and, for $43,995 you will enjoy front and rear Torsen limited-slip differentials, upgraded brakes, carbon fiber roof, vented bulge hood, a different rear spoiler, heated seats and a sound system upgrade, though some of those items are options on the Core, such as the $1180 Torsen upgrade. Corolla GR Circuit models also receive suede-trimmed sport seats with red accents and a Morizo-signed shift knob. Available colors will be white, Supersonic Red and Heavy Metal.
The $50,995 Morizo edition is the track car, so you’ll have to forego a rear seat but in turn you will receive Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires on 18-inch forged wheels, an extra 22 pound-feet of torque (for a total of 295) and a close-ratio 6-speed. Apparently, the Corolla GR Morizo weighs 106 pounds lighter than the Circuit and is more rigid thanks to strut braces. Colors will be Windchill Pearl and a matte gray hue. If this sounds like your bag, you better leave a deposit because only 200 will be available in North America.
The Core will appear this fall, while the Circuit and Morizo won’t hit dealerships until 2023.