Just try to find a high-performance, semi-affordable, manual transmission, all-wheel drive vehicle and you’re left with two choices: the 2022 VW Golf R or the 2022 Subaru WRX. It’s a dying breed. Out of the wild blue yonder comes the new 2023 Toyota GR Corolla, a larger and more potent iteration of the raucous rally-bred WR Yaris sold overseas.
This time, the car gets 300 horses from the world’s most powerful three-cylinder engine. The turbocharged 1.6-liter is good for an impressive 300 horsepower driven to all four wheels. The handling-focused transmission has a variable torque split that can manage 60 front, 40 rear; a 50-50 split; or a rear-biased 30 front and 70 rear. The base Core model will get optional limited-slip differentials, and the premium Circuit Edition will have them as standard equipment. The body looks like a Corolla hatchback on steroids with huge fenders, functional side vents, and a triple exhaust. The Circuit Edition gets a hood bulge and vents, a big roof spoiler, a forged carbon fiber roof, and black accents everywhere.
The Core model goes on sale later this year (5,000 units), and the Circuit Edition (1,500 units) will debut in 2023. No pricing has been announced, but the GR Corolla is expected to sell in the mid to high $30,000s. The car should prove to be a serious hoot.