Is the 2023 GR Corolla AWD?

toyota corolla Full Overview


  • Toyota made this car
  • Exotic, 300-hp turbo I-3
  • Sophisticated AWD system


  • Anime style is an acquired taste
  • Corolla interior for close to 40 grand
  • Tiny cargo area

The fact that the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla exists at all is something of a minor miracle. As the story goes, some madman named Morizo has been stomping around Toyota's world headquarters, demanding that its Gazoo Racing division develop, build, and partner up on a series of impractical and wonderful sports cars.

To the delight of automotive enthusiasts the world over, he's been getting his way. There are GR-engineered versions of the Supra, 86, Yaris, and now the Corolla. What will Morizo-san think of next? We can't wait to see. GR Camry, anyone? He wouldn't. Or would he?

It helps when you're the man with your name on the building, as Morizo's the alter ego of none other than Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda himself. You have to give it up to the man: He loves to drive, he races, and he often tells his engineers to go back to the drawing board if he doesn't think a car is good enough, as he reportedly did with the GR Corolla. (He also had the team develop an even higher-performance, Morizo Edition model, because of course he did.)

How has all that extra development work paid off? We've been waiting patiently to get the GR Corolla out to the test track to find out, anticipating for some time what the anime-styled hot hatch could accomplish with its 300-hp, 1.6-liter turbo inline three-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission.

This isn't some half-baked, front-drive wild child, either. The GR Corolla comes with all-wheel drive featuring front and rear Torsen limited-slip differentials and a driver-adjustable front-to-rear torque split setup that can shove as much as 70 percent of available torque to the back end. It shares many of its mechanicals with the GR Yaris, which was built specifically as a homologation special for Toyota's World Rally Championship race car. This is a seriously well-crafted hot hatch.

GR Corolla in a Straight Line: Good, But Not Its Bag

Although straight-line performance isn't this car's reason for being (Toyota's press preview drive was limited to track driving), the GR Corolla is still relatively quick. Our test squad recorded a 0-60-mph time of 5.4 seconds, which is several ticks off Toyota's manufacturer estimate of "4.99 seconds." The team chalked up the difference to a couple of factors, about which you can read more in their breakdown of the numbers. The quarter mile arrived in 13.7 seconds at 101.2 mph.

"You can just hit 60 mph with one shift if you're willing to smash into the rev limiter," testing director Eric Tingwall said. "But if you're wanting to go beyond that speed, you'll end up shifting earlier."

For some context, we've gathered a smorgasbord of 0-60 and quarter-mile times we recorded from its tangential and direct competition, both internal and external, including: the 2021 Supra 2.0 (4.8 sec/13.4 sec at 103.1 mph); 2022 Toyota 86 (5.8 sec/14.3 sec at 98.7 mph); 2022 Volkswagen Golf R (4.2 sec/12.8 sec at 108.7 mph); 2021 Hyundai Veloster N (5.1 sec/13.7 sec at 102.9 mph); 2022 Hyundai Kona N (5.3 sec/13.9 sec at 101.1 mph); and the 2021 Honda Civic Type R (5.3 sec/13.7 sec at 107.8 mph). The GR Corolla runs roughly mid-pack with this group, though it scooted through the quarter with the best of them short of the Golf R, which dominated from a stoplight drag standpoint.

But as we've pointed out, the GR Corolla isn't that kind of car. Throw a GR motorsports livery on it, and you'd swear you could roll right onto the Acropolis Rally course and start hucking it off huge jumps. It's all angles and bulges and scoops and inlets, and get this: They're all functional. It's also funky-looking and not for everyone. Some will make fun of its quirky, herky-jerky looks; others will deem it a mini mean machine. Choose your side.

Showing Off Its Feistier Side

When it comes to our dynamic measurements, the test team chose to praise the GR Corolla for what it was capable of doing. "In track mode with stability off, it's really feisty and has an edge to it," road test editor Chris Walton said. "Yes, you have to rev it to get the performance out of it, but it's really enthusiastic and capable."

How capable? Out on the skidpad, its 0.94 g average number brings up the rear of the grouping of cars we referenced above (it matches the Kona N and Golf R; all other cars beat them). The song was much the same around our MotorTrend figure eight, where its 25.0-second at 0.75 g (avg) time just barely bested the Kona N (25.1 sec at 0.73 g) and trailed every other car.

Despite not being a world-beating hot hatch from a handling standpoint, Walton reported the GR Corolla was "very crisp and trustworthy" during his at-the-limit testing. "Its attitude on the skidpad was mostly neutral with a whiff of understeer, and I could pin the throttle well before the exit to allow the front wheels to grab some asphalt and point it," he said.

In the stopping power department, the GR Corolla's 60-0-mph braking number of 110 feet was also near the back of the bus, with only the two Hyundai cars taking longer to stop. That didn't keep the test team from praising its brakes, though, which they reported to be powerful, consistent, and easy to modulate.

Living With It

Although we haven't had a ton of seat time in the GR Corolla outside of our testing facility, we have been able to discern a couple of things. It's small, so don't expect it to swallow up tons of gear or haul lots of humans, although the rear seat isn't a total penalty box for anyone sitting back there for an extended time.

The test team had high praise for the car's six-speed manual transmission—the only gearbox available—and indeed, the clutch is easy to use and the transmission programming includes one of the better rev-matching features we've encountered. In the cockpit, the GR packs the latest in Corolla tech, including an 8.0-inch infotainment screen. But the real master of ceremonies is the 12.3-inch instrument panel with special GR touches including a start-up animation plus AWD mode, turbo pressure, and shift indicators.

The cool factor of the instrument panel couldn't quite mask the fact, though, that in the end, this is still a Corolla in many respects, and as such, there are more than a few areas in the cabin where you start to wonder if this is an interior worthy of a car that starts near—and can exceed—$40,000. And while it's pretty obvious, it bears pointing out that this is not the type of car you'll want to take long trips in.

That all being said, if ever there was an "it factor" car, the GR Corolla is it. This hatchback won't wow you with numbers or its interior or slick, high style. Instead, it's an expertly engineered sports hatch that Morizo-san wanted. And what Morizo wants, he gets. We're all better off for him being in charge of Toyota, and the cars that his company builds like the GR Corolla. Now where's that GR Camry already?

Looks good! More details?

2023 Toyota GR Corolla (Core) Specifications
BASE PRICE $36,995
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback
ENGINE 1.6L Turbo port- and direct-injected DOHC 12-valve I-3
POWER (SAE NET) 300 hp @ 6,500 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 273 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,145 lb (60/40%)
WHEELBASE 103.9 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 173.6 x 72.8 x 57.2 in
0-60 MPH 5.4 sec
QUARTER MILE 13.7 sec @ 101.2 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 110 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT 25.0 sec @ 0.75 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 21/28/24 mpg (est)
EPA RANGE, COMB 317 miles (est)
ON SALE Late 2022

Is the GR Corolla AWD?

For the GR Corolla, it was tuned up to make 300 horsepower—an eye-opening 185.4 horsepower per liter, and 43 horsepower more than it makes in the GR Yaris. A six-speed manual is the only transmission available, and all models come with Toyota's GR-Four all-wheel drive system.

Will the Toyota Corolla get AWD?

The big news starts with the 2023 Corolla Hybrid LE grade getting a $1,250 price reduction. The Hybrid LE is now joined by a new LE AWD grade, sporty SE and SE AWD grades and a premium focused XLE.

Does 2022 Corolla come in AWD?

All Corolla Cross models will come with a 169-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission; front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available as an option.

Is Toyota Corolla AWD or FWD?

Every nonhybrid Corolla will now be powered by a 169-hp 2.0-liter engine. The 2023 Toyota Corolla adds new hybrid trim levels with optional all-wheel drive.