Motor Authority Best Car to Buy 2023 Ultimate | Jobs Reply


Could the appliance-like car icon—the Toyota Corolla—win the Motor Authority Best Car to Buy 2023 award? It’s a question we never thought we’d be asking, but here we are.

Toyota, the automaker known for driving safe with reliable but boring vehicles, has poured a rally-car powertrain into its Corolla economy car. With a trick all-wheel-drive system and all the willpower to back up its attitude, the Toyota GR Corolla is a riot.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Cor

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Cor

Toyota tapped the same G16E-GTS 1.6-liter turbo-3 engine that it uses in the smaller GR Yaris for the GR Corolla. But in this application power moves from the GR Yaris’ 268 hp to 300 hp, though torque is patted at 273 lb-ft. The single-scroll, ball-bearing turbo makes plenty of boost, but it takes a beat to scroll. Peak power doesn’t arrive until 3,000 rpm, and then starts giving it all until the 7,000-rpm redline. The initial changes seem to be that the GR Corolla doesn’t have much power. Don’t be fooled, getting there is just a heavy leg and a long wait between shifts.

Buyers who don’t #GiveAShift need not apply as the GR Corolla only comes with three paddles and a 6-speed manual transmission. The gearbox has short, positive throws and the clutch is medium-weight with a slightly grabby takeup point. We’ll take what we can get and say thank you, Toyota.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Morijo Edition

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Morijo Edition

A key element of the GR Corolla’s fun factor is the advanced all-wheel-drive system that enables the driver to change the front/rear power split between 60/40, 30/70 and 50/50. While the 60/40 front bias is meant for everyday use, Sport mode flips the system to a 30/70 rear-bias split. Toyota says the 50/50 split is for high-performance driving. On the road, the standard 60/40 split is fine, but once the roads start twisting, flipping the GR Corolla to the Sport model really makes this hot hatch shine. With its 30/70 split, the rear isn’t hard to get out while the front claws at the pavement to pull the car out of corners. It’s a system unlike anything else on the market today, and it reminds us of the old Mitsubishi Evo in the best possible way.

Toyota says the GR Corolla will sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.99 seconds, but our butt dyno couldn’t tell the difference between that and 5.0 seconds. Toyota may be too keen on parsing time, but the GR Corolla is still plenty quick.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Cor

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Cor

McPherson-strut front suspension and double-wishbone rear suspension are paired with track-tuned dampers, springs and stabilizer bars. It makes for a firm ride, and we’re not sure we’d want to drive it on pockmarked Midwest roads.

Upper trim Circuit and Morijo models have Torsen limited-slip differentials front and rear, but they are optional on base core models. Differentials are part of the secret sauce that helps the GR Corolla put down power so effectively. They are a must.

The GR Corolla doesn’t look like any other Corolla. Its wide body panels give it a bulging look and cover 18-inch wheels wrapped in 235/40 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubber (245/40 Cup 2s are available). The gapping intake feeds the intercooler and cools the brakes. Like the Honda Civic Type R, the GR Corolla features a triple-tip exhaust.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla

2023 Toyota GR Corolla

2023 Toyota GR Corolla

2023 Toyota GR Corolla

Starting at $36,995, the GR Corolla seems like a steal, but it’s not perfect. The 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster’s interface could be done in MS Paint, the 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system’s interface is dated, and the screen resolution feels a full model cycle behind everything else on the market. The interior is filled with hard, cheap plastics from the Corolla’s economy-car parts bin, and there are no front armrests. Add two limited-slip differentials, and the GR Corolla pushes $40,000, putting it within spitting distance of the more mature Honda Civic Type R.

Will the Toyota GR Corolla’s analog experience and willpower be enough to win over two other hot hatches, an outrageous SUV, a luxury EV and a sport sedan? Check back on January 4 when we reveal the winner along with our sister sites, The Car Connection and Green Car Report’s Champ.



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