Test Toyota GR Corolla: Hot hatch with three cylinders

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Toyota has stepped up its sports section in recent years. In cooperation with BMW, the modern reincarnation of the Supra was created, the rally-inspired and extremely successful GR Yaris arrived, and the new generation of the GR86 sports cruiser also arrived. The Japanese have more such cars in their repertoire, but not all of them are offered here. For example GR Corolla…

Reason? When Akio Toyoda introduced the GR model line, he let it be known that only three sports models would be available to customers in each market. So we have the ones mentioned above, elsewhere the composition is slightly different. The GR Corolla is intended for overseas customers in North America and Canada, for example, but thanks to a group of car enthusiasts from the Faster Cars company, you can also buy it from us as part of an individual import. It’s worth it? Lets look!

Hot hatch with everything

You will know almost immediately that you are not looking at your neighbor’s ordinary Corolla. “Gé-erko” has more sharply shaped bumpers, extended fenders and a trio of exhaust tips that are hard to miss. The sporty flair is underlined by the red paintwork in combination with the black number 18 shoes. But it is still “just” the basis, wilder versions can also have holes in the hood or a prominent rear spoiler.

The cabin is already a bit more settled, here the polished character of the car is actually only referred to by the GR labels. However, enthusiastic drivers will be pleased with other things – the six-speed manual lever that fits perfectly in the palm of the hand, as well as the classic handbrake. You can still buy a few hot hatches on the Czech market, but honestly there are only a minimum of mechanical ones left.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

An almost unheard of sight today, which portends a fair amount of fun.

Among the ailments of the GR Yaris are a high seat, worse visibility and also limited practicality. The larger Corolla managed to hide these shortcomings. It’s an honest five-door, with solid access and space in the second row. The driver sits closer to the asphalt and the forward view is also better despite the free-standing infotainment screen.

You will settle in behind the wheel very quickly. The multimedia could be more modern, but I dare say that the finish line of this car would be the most satisfied if there was no display at all. And while we’re talking about the weak points, I have two more things – given the character of the car, a fairly ordinary seat without significant lateral guidance. And also the location of the cradle controllers for their heating. When you want to put your phone in the corresponding compartment, you almost always accidentally lose it.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

The cabin is austere, but that’s not a bad thing in this case.

Motor unicorn

The technology of the peppered Corolla copies its smaller brother, it differs only in small details. This means a sporty four-wheeler with preference for the rear and a 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine under the hood. Here it is more powerful – it has 304 horsepower and 370 newton meters of torque. At the same time, the car is slightly heavier, so in terms of dynamics we reach similar values ​​- 100 km/h in five seconds (half a second less than the Yaris) and a maximum speed of 230 km/h.

As soon as I start it up for the first time, I notice a more substantial sound. The Corolla does not spit and crackle as willingly as the Hyundai i30 N, but its acoustics are very pleasant. Its diversity is a big advantage. If you want, you can use it as a fairly ordinary hatchback, which has a stiff but still comfortable chassis and will comfortably take you in the morning for rolls and twenty Hercules blankets.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

Whether you drive the GR Corolla leisurely or aggressively, its driving behavior is noticeably more mature compared to the Yaris. The overseas version of the Corolla has Torsen differentials in the front and rear already in the base, for a smaller car you pay extra for them. And the rallye genes will definitely not be denied!

But just a few small steps and the technology below you turns into a furious racket. With the four-wheel rotary control on the center console, you can command the rear preference, choose sports mode (the Yaris can’t do that, for example) and, if you’re interested, activate automatic intermediate gases. And suddenly the real fun begins!

The Corolla is similarly nimble as the Yaris, above two thousand revolutions the 1600 takes with all its power and willingly continues up to the red limiter. Is this really just a three-cylinder? Adrenaline is pumping, the driver is grinning from ear to ear. All-wheel drive gives you maximum confidence. Although the rear wheels are preferred, on dry asphalt you whiz through corners with surgical precision, almost like on rails. Those who want even more fun must have a shifted instinct of self-preservation and really fast hands. The less experienced prefer to wait for the first snowfall.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

During fun frolics, the consumption can easily climb to 15 litres, in the long term count on consumption between 9 and 10 l/100 km. If you try, you can suppress your appetite below eight. There is a 50 liter tank, so there is no risk of refueling at every corner.

Where, how and for how much?

A juicy hot hatch, which, even with a three-cylinder engine, will not be put to shame among its competitors. Compared to the Yaris, it is also more usable and advanced on a daily basis. That brand new Corolla has worn you out? The Faster Cars company will deliver your car from overseas to the Czech Republic in about three months if you choose from the available warehouses. You can also go the route of direct entry into production, but then the whole process is logically longer and dependent on production capacities.

The individual import and exclusivity of the car are mainly written into the purchase price. Our brand-new GR Corolla would cost around 1.7 million crowns including tax (for example, a 320-horsepower Golf R with four-wheel drive and an automatic transmission costs 1.33 million crowns today). A one-year warranty is standard, which can optionally be extended by another two years.

Specifications Toyota GR Corolla
Engine in-line three-cylinder, turbocharger
Displacement volume 1,618 cm3
Performance 224 kW (304 hp) at 6,500 rpm
Torque 370 Nm at 3,000 – 5,550 rpm.
Transmission manual, 6 degrees
Drive all wheels
Standby weight 1,470 kg
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 5 s
Maximal speed 230 km/h
Consumption (combination) 9.4 l/100 km
Fuel tank capacity 50 l
Wheels and tires 235/40 R18
Dimensions (length/width/height) 4410/1850/1455 mm
Wheelbase 2,640 mm
Volume of the luggage compartment 504 l
Price list January 2024
Price from 1,694,000 CZK

The article is in Czech

Tags: Test Toyota Corolla Hot hatch cylinders

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