Introducing the 2024 Toyota GR Corolla, a high-performance, all-wheel-drive hot hatch built on the foundation of the Corolla Hatchback. Inspired by rally cars, this 300-horsepower marvel radiates personality, offering a thrilling driving experience. Despite its somewhat economical interior, the GR Corolla proves to be a compelling choice.
- Robust turbocharged acceleration
- Tenacious grip with all-wheel drive
- Enjoyable and engaging driving dynamics
- Decent array of standard advanced driver aids
- Cheap interior plastics given the price
- Elevated interior noise levels
- Relatively small cargo area for a hatchback
- Absence of an automatic transmission option
- Introduction of a new midlevel Premium trim
- Discontinuation of the top-tier Morizo Edition
- Minor structural and aero enhancements
- Part of the 12th Corolla generation introduced in 2020
The 2024 Toyota GR Corolla defies expectations in a market dominated by electric cars. Representing a gas-powered, all-wheel-drive hatchback designed for driving enthusiasts, the GR Corolla distinguishes itself from Toyota’s more conventional offerings. Emphasizing performance upgrades over the standard Corolla Hatchback, the GR Corolla prioritizes smiles over sales figures.
In its second year, the GR Corolla undergoes minimal changes. The limited-production Morizo Edition makes way for a new midlevel Premium trim, slotting between the base Core and top Circuit trims. Toyota streamlines option packages, offering the Performance package exclusively for the base Core trim. This package, featuring front and rear limited-slip differentials, enhances the car’s performance, creating a lightweight, well-equipped base trim.
Competitors to Consider:
While there’s no direct equivalent to the GR Corolla, the Subaru WRX sedan and the Volkswagen Golf R come close in spirit and price. Front-wheel-drive alternatives include the Honda Civic Type R and the value-driven Hyundai Elantra N.
The GR Corolla offers an exhilarating driving experience, surpassing expectations without breaking the bank. Powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, it achieves impressive acceleration. The six-speed manual transmission stands out with its precise, satisfying gear changes. Equipped with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, the GR Corolla delivers superb grip, reaching 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds. Steering is responsive, and braking performance is competitive, though ABS noise during full braking is notable.
Contrary to its aggressive appearance, the GR Corolla surprises with a comfortable ride. The stiff suspension maintains compliance on rough roads, and the supportive front seats add to the overall comfort. The climate control system effectively regulates interior temperatures, while interior noise levels, though higher than average, align with expectations for a hot hatch.
The interior, based on the budget-friendly Corolla Hatchback, balances sportiness with practicality. Upgraded features like the synthetic suede-wrapped steering wheel enhance the interior’s quality. The front seats provide ample comfort, but rear space may feel tight for adults, especially without the Morizo trim, which removes back seats altogether.
While lacking advanced tech for its price, the GR Corolla includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The touchscreen menus are straightforward, but voice controls may be affected by ambient noise. Safety features like Toyota’s Safety Sense 3.0 add value, though adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance systems may seem overly cautious.
Cargo space is limited, featuring a high load floor and additional storage in the Morizo Edition. The Core and Circuit Edition trim levels offer foldable split rear seatbacks. Interior storage relies on cupholders, a wireless charging tray, and door pockets, though the lack of lining may lead to rattling.
Despite its small engine, the GR Corolla’s fuel efficiency falls short, achieving 24 mpg in combined city/highway driving. Real-world testing recorded 23.4 mpg, trailing competitors like the BMW 230i, Honda Civic Type R, and Volkswagen Golf R.
The GR Corolla prioritizes performance over interior refinement. While the Civic Type R and Golf R offer more refined interiors, the Toyota maintains standard warranties, including a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage and a six-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Free roadside assistance and maintenance add value.
The GR Corolla earns a perfect score on the Wildcard meter. Its aggressive styling, spirited performance, and adherence to hot hatch traditions make it stand out. Despite potential drawbacks in refinement, the GR Corolla appeals to hardcore enthusiasts, delivering a remarkable driving experience.