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Toyota applies high octane treatment to Corolla


Toyota Corolla Hot Hatch fans in New Zealand and around the world are in for a treat with the release of more details on the soon to be released GR Corolla, that will arrive here early 2023.

Taking the iconic Corolla hatch as its base, the high-performance motorsport engineers at TOYOTA GAZOO Racing have created an exciting sports car with extraordinary performance to match the world-beating and award-winning GR Yaris, which was developed based on Toyota’s World Rally Championship Yaris.

Toyota New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Neeraj Lala says the new GR Corolla is the natural extension of where Toyota is going in terms of building cars that are fun to drive.

“The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) brand is synonymous with innovation and performance,” says Neeraj Lala, Toyota New Zealand Chief Executive Officer. “Even in New Zealand the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing brand is focused on supporting up and coming kiwi drivers through our motorsport series’, the Toyota Racing Series, and Toyota 86 Championship.”

“Its exciting to now take the TGR motorsport brand and see it filtering through into our product as we have rolled out six vehicles with GR treatment over the last few years. The addition of the GR Corolla just goes to show we are going to continue to offer a vehicle for all customer needs as we move towards electrification,” says Neeraj.  

“This is the car that a lot of people have been waiting for. Building on the global success of the GR Yaris its brother, the GR Corolla is the next level manifestation of a fun to drive car. We have harnessed the best of our motorsport smarts and applied them to our bestselling five door hatch of all time.”

The GR Corolla will carry the same powertrain – the effervescent 1.6 litre three-cylinder with single scroll turbo - and All Wheel Drive system that features in the GR Yaris. As the GR Corolla is slightly heavier and larger than the Yaris, the DOHC 12 valve engine, has been uprated to 224kW and 370Nm of torque.

Marrying the GR powertrain and suspension to a five-door, Corolla sports hatch has produced the best of both worlds – a practical daily driver that also happens to be a high-performance sports car with world-class performance, agility and traction.

The GR Corolla is the sixth Toyota to get the GR treatment from TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, following the GR Yaris, GR Supra and GR86. While the GR Yaris and GR Supra were essentially all new cars from ground up, the GR Corolla is built on the TNGA-C platform and has much of the space and refinement of a standard Corolla.

Where it differs is in the performance and handling. As well as the brilliant 1.6 turbo, the GR Corolla will sport a six-speed intelligent manual transmission that automatically matches engine revs to the gear selected, a MacPherson strut front suspension and double wishbone rear suspension.

Toyota New Zealand General Manager New Vehicles Steve Prangnell says the GR Corolla will have the performance and handling to match several well-known rivals.

“With its wide aggressive stance, imposing air intakes, rear spoiler and 18” alloys, the GR Corolla will get hot hatch fans’ hearts racing,” Steve says.

As with the GR Yaris, the GR Corolla will have the GR FOUR permanent All Wheel Drive system. However, with the GR Corolla, the system’s 4WD mode, that controls the driving force distribution, and its ‘drive’ mode, which controls accelerator response, steering and others have been separated to enable selection according to driver preference and environment.

Rounding out its performance credentials the GR Corolla will feature a front and rear Torsen® Limited Slip Differential like the GR Yaris.

While the interior of the GR Corolla has much of the comfort and refinement of a standard Corolla, there will be plenty of GR touches, from the GR-branded leather steering wheel to the Ultrasuede® and Synthetic Leather accented GR sports seats, GR sports meters and a premium JBL audio system.

Safety is also not compromised, and the GR Corolla will have the latest iteration of the Toyota Safety Sense package with a Pre-Collision System, Lane Tracing Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Automatic High Beam and Blind Spot Monitor.

More information on the GR Corolla will be released locally closer to the launch.