GR Corolla Elevates the Hot Hatch Segment
Toyota's subsidiary brand, Gazoo Racing, continues to impress with the introduction of the high-performance GR Corolla. This addition to the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing family, which already includes the GR86, GR Supra, and GR Yaris, boasts a turbocharged petrol engine, all-wheel drive, a wider front and rear track, a completely revamped suspension, and distinctive design elements that distinguish it from the rest of the Corolla line-up.
According to Glenn Crompton, Vice President of Marketing at Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM), including the GR Corolla in the local Gazoo Racing line-up marks a significant milestone for both TSAM and the Corolla nameplate. Crompton highlights the Corolla's enduring popularity in South Africa and its strong connection to motorsport.
Based on the Corolla hatch, the GR Corolla uses the TNGA-C platform, which has been extensively enhanced to deliver exceptional high-performance driving dynamics.
The GR Corolla features an updated exterior design with various modifications compared to the standard Corolla hatch. These changes enhance its dynamic appearance and improve performance, aerodynamics, and handling. The front and rear wheel arches have been widened by 20mm and 30mm, respectively, emphasising the car's wider stance, with a track increased by 60mm at the front and 90mm at the rear for improved grip.
The front end showcases the signature Functional Matrix grille, providing efficient cooling performance. It's adorned with a 'G' mesh pattern, signalling its membership in the GR performance family. Side air curtains direct air into the wheel arches, and a front under spoiler helps control airflow and reduce drag. LED headlights with automatic high beams offer excellent night visibility.
The rear design includes a unique triple-exit exhaust system and air ducts in the rear bumper for enhanced aerodynamics. The GR Corolla rides on 18-inch ENKEI cast aluminium wheels with red-painted callipers and is available in various exterior paint.
Inside, the GR Corolla reflects its performance-oriented nature with unique features and upgrades compared to the standard Corolla hatch. It boasts a three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel adapted from the GR Yaris, a new short-throw shift lever with a GR logo, leather upholstery with silver stitching, and a convenient open tray with USB-C and 12V ports. Aluminium pedals and heated sports seats add to the sporty feel.
A 12.3-inch instrument cluster display allows for customisation, and the 7.0-inch touchscreen offers compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The dual-zone climate control system ensures comfort during drives.
The GR Corolla is powered by a high-performance turbocharged 1.6-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, delivering 221kW of power and 360Nm of torque. Multiple motorsport-derived technologies ensure reliability and performance, including optimisations to reduce weight and improve cooling and combustion efficiency.
The TNGA-C architecture provides a solid foundation for the GR Corolla's dynamic capabilities. Additional spot welds, structural adhesives, and reinforcement braces enhance rigidity. Weight reduction measures include thinner bumpers and new suspension components.
The suspension layout has been redesigned for improved stability and a lower centre of gravity. The front features a MacPherson strut setup, while the rear utilises a trailing double-wishbone suspension. The braking system includes four-piston front callipers and ventilated two-piece disc brakes.
The GR Corolla incorporates Toyota Safety Sense technology, offering emergency steering assist, high-speed active cruise control, and other safety features.
Buyers can enjoy a 9-services/90,000km service plan and a 3-year/100,000km warranty, with the option to purchase extended service plans.
The GR Corolla 1.6T Core starts from R841,000, and the GR Corolla 1.6T Circuit is priced at R902,400.