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The Toyota GR Corolla comes to Canada later this year

The hot hatch's New York auto show debut revealed Core and Circuit Edition trims, plus Normal, Sport, and Track modes

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What is it?

Take a normally prosaic car and infuse it with the DNA from Toyota Gazoo Racing, and you get the GR Corolla. It arrives with a heavily-steroided body complete with flared fenders, carbon-fibre roof, and rear spoiler. Yes, it will be classified as being too boy-racer-ish by many, but beneath that shiny composite body sits some very serious engineering. Shoehorning 300 horsepower under any hood has a tendency to grab your attention! When it lands in Canada, it will be offered in Core and Circuit Edition, the latter for the first year only.

Why does it matter?

The big story is the GR’s tiny 1.6L turbo-three makes 100 hp per pot, which puts it in the land of the exotics. It also twists out 273 lb-ft of torque anywhere between 3,000 and 5,550 rpm, which, in an overgrown roller skate, promises to provide some real pop. Of course, there are Normal, Sport, and Track modes. It still feels odd putting “Corolla” and “track mode” in the same sentence.

The engine pushes its power to the pavement through a six-speed manual gearbox with rev-matching (the only choice, thank you!) and a rally-inspired all-wheel-drive system that allows the driver to adjust the torque split front-to-rear.

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The system normally splits the power 60-40 in favour of the front wheels. However, it can split the power evenly (50-50) or it can send 70 per cent of the drive to the rear wheels, which should bring some tail-happy action on a loose surface. The Circuit Edition also gets Torsen limited-slip differentials front and rear.

It also gets a reworked suspension with front struts and multiple rear links along with firmer anti-roll bars. Mercifully, it also gets better slotted rotors and four-piston front calipers, so fade should never surface.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla
2023 Toyota GR Corolla Photo by Toyota

When will Canada get it?

The 2023 GR Corolla will go on sale in Canada later this year, with pricing to be announced closer to that time.

Should you buy it?

Anything that does away with the Corolla’s beige image has to be considered a good thing! It also promises to be a First Drive to remember.