GRizzly ‘Rolla

by Petrol Mum
Toyota GR Corolla GTS Feverish red

When you think about the Toyota Corolla chances are the vehicle that initially comes to mind is a mild-mannered hatchback with an efficient hybrid engine. But just like the Yaris before it the GAZOO racing team have fettered with the humble Corolla to create something a little more wild.

The most obvious alterations are the extreme angles and vents that have been added to visually announce the GR Corolla’s performance intentions. Then there are the 18″ alloy wheels wrapped in 235/40R18 Yokohama ADVAN Apex V601 tyres that look like slicks, but I found they were grippy even in damp conditions.

The GR Corolla has been implanted with the same 1.6 litre turbocharged Inline 3-cylinder that powers the GR Yaris, but the maximum power has been tweaked to 221kW at 6,500. Maximum torque remains the same as the GR Yaris though at 370Nm between 3,000-5,550rpm. The official combined fuel consumption is 8.4L/100km of 98RON petrol and for my week I used 10.2L/100km.  

Press the clutch and brake in together then hit the start button to bring the slightly raucous engine to life. Point the GR Corolla towards your favourite twisty mountain pass and let the raspy engine sing while you control the perfectly weighted clutch to swiftly change up and down the 6-speed manual gearbox. Toyota have not engineered any artificial pops and bangs from the tri-exhaust GR Corolla and I was surprised how quiet it actually was when I was driving hard.

There are three selectable modes, Sport, Normal, Eco, and one customisable mode that allows you to adjust Powertrain, Steering and A/C. I liked the configuration of the digital driver’s dash in Sport mode with the taco across the top. As you are chasing the revs the taco flashes orange before you hit the red line just above 7,000rpm. The 12.3″ digital display has a cool GR start-up animation and can be configured to show info such as turbo boost and engine temps.

The GR-FOUR all-wheel drive system is linked to the engine via an electronic multi-plate clutch and there are three balance settings that the driver can choose from using the rotary controller on the centre console. Front has a 60:40 split, Rear with a 30:70 split and Track with a 50:50 split and driving on the road I could not differentiate any difference between them. I think you would need to drive the GR Corolla on track to really explore all of the performance that this grizzly hatchback has to offer.

On the interior I was happy that the height of the driver’s seat was lower down compared to the GR Yaris, but the passenger seat does not have any height adjustment and I was almost touching the roof with my head when I sat in it. The leather accented GR sports seats are wrapped in Brin Naub suede with silver stitching and accents and have manual adjustment only. The suede material is grippy and holds you in place and the front seats are heated.  

I liked the size and shape of the premium GR 3-spoke steering wheel, which is also heated. You can use voice control to operate some of the infotainment features by pressing the button on the steering wheel with the masculine looking silhouette on it.  The voice control worked well for me when I used it for making calls, changing radio station and setting a destination on the sat nav.

The small 8″ multimedia display screen has satellite navigation and an 8-speaker JBL audio system. Smartphone connectivity is available with wired Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay. The wireless charge pad at the front of centre console needs to be deeper otherwise your phone may slide out under excitable driving conditions. There is also one USB-C port in dash here for the Android Auto connection.

Storage is at a premium in the GR Corolla with a cubby in the front doors for slim drink bottles, two rigid cup holders next to manual hand brake and there is no arm rest, just one 12V and one USB-C at rear of centre console. I am not a fan of the gloss black trim on the centre console, dash and door trim as gets dusty quickly.

I found that rear seat head and leg room was adequate for me but taller individuals may find it tight. There are no rear air vents or USB ports for rear passengers, but the centre seat does fold down as arm rest with two rigid cup holders in it and there are drink holders in the door arm rests. For younger passengers there are two ISOFOX/three rear child seat restraint points, but only enough room for two due to the overall vehicle width.

The GR Corolla only has a power assisted tail gate, with a small boot and not a lot of height available either between boot floor and parcel shelf. The boot space has four substantial tie down points and one light with a tyre repair kit under boot floor. If extra room is needed the rear seats have a 40:60 split fold mechanism with the release on seat shoulders.

The GR Corolla does not have an ANCAP safety rating, but does come with Toyota Safety Sense driver safety technology – including High-speed Active Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with steering assist, Pre-Collision Safety system with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, Intersection Turn Assistance, Emergency Steering Assist, Road Sign Assist (speed signs only) and Blind Spot Monitor. Passive safety includes seven airbags and a standard reversing camera with front or rear parking sensors. For convenience you also get auto lights and auto high beam and no auto wipers.

All new Toyota vehicles are backed by a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Toyota Australia does not offer blanket warranty coverage on the GR Corolla for track use and has stated that any warranty claims following any track use will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The service interval for the GR Corolla is six months or 10,000kms, whichever occurs first, and the price is capped at $300 per service for the first six services.

Toyota GR Corolla GTS from above

When you collect the keys to your new GR Corolla, you also unlock access to exclusive GAZOO Racing perks, content and community. The GAZOO Racing Club gives GR owners a car club that’s worthy of their GR badge. From driving experiences to exclusive content and member-only access, the program connects drivers to a thriving community and real rewards.

The humble Corolla has been transformed into a grizzly hot hatch by the GAZOO racing team and performance car fans from around the world can rejoice once more. The Toyota GR Corolla GTS is priced from $62,300 plus on-road costs and with Feverish Red premium paint ($575) this GR Corolla is priced at $62,875 plus on-roads. You can Build and Price your GR Corolla online or visit your preferred Toyota dealer for more information.

The raucous 3-cylinder engineGloss black interior trim
The grip on offerHeight of the passenger seat
The digital driver’s dash displayNo blanket warranty for weekend track use

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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