Johannesburg - Like its GR Yaris sibling, the new Toyota GR Corolla was inspired by the world of rallying and it is undeniably the most exciting car ever to wear a Corolla badge.
The Toyota GR Corolla is set to reach South African showrooms soon, in limited numbers. The carmaker has already published local pricing on its website, with the GR Corolla Core listed at R816 500, and the better-equipped Circuit model priced at R876 100.
It’s powered by a 1.6-litre, three-cylinder turbopetrol engine that produces 221kW at 6 500rpm and 370Nm from 3000 revs, and power goes to all four wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox only.
That means it’s perhaps not a completely direct rival to the DSG-equipped Volkswagen Golf R, although it is somewhat cheaper than Germany’s hot hatch contender, which is priced at R912 800, and it also significantly undercuts the recently introduced Honda Civic Type R, which requires a hefty R979 000.
But what’s the difference between the Toyota GR Corolla Core and Circuit models?
For starters the Circuit comes with Torsen limited-slip differentials on both axles and also sports a carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof and gloss black grille.
On the inside it replaces the Core version’s cloth seat upholstery with a synthetic leather and suede combination, while also gaining Heads Up Display, as well as seat-back pockets, believe it or not.
Both GR Corolla models ship with dual-zone climate control, wireless phone charging, Adaptive Cruise Control, brake-synchronised Pre-Crash System, Lane Keeping System and a six-speaker, 7.0-inch (17.8cm) touchscreen infotainment system.
Beneath the skin, of course, this GR model is no ordinary Corolla hatchback. For starters, and apart from the obvious spring and shock mods, its frame has been reinforced for improved rigidity and the front and rear track widths have been increased by 60mm and 85mm respectively.
It also features a GR-Four all-wheel drive system that uses an electronic multi-plate clutch to allow for variable power distribution between the front and rear axles.
Toyota SA has not released performance figures as yet. Stay tuned for more information and driving impressions closer to launch.