A car that starts as a family companion but evolves into much more because of its exhilarating driving experience with added power and excitement—introducing the Toyota Corolla GR Sport. This incredible hybrid defies expectations, delivering a seamless driving encounter that surpasses the ordinary.
With above-average horsepower, this 1.8 petrol hybrid version offers an amazing driving experience. It is tailored for those who value the joy of driving and want a little extra excitement on their daily commute.
The Toyota Corolla GR Sport is one of the highest-rated self-charging hybrids in 2023. We have also created a comprehensive guide that compares the top self-charging hybrids of 2023.Check it out.
In this car review, we leave no stone unturned as we explore the distinct features that make this car special. From its exquisite and comfortable interior, and striking exterior to cutting edge driving experience, we cover every aspect that sets the GR sport apart from the rest.
But hey, we understand if you are short of time. In that case, we have covered you with our concise 60-second Toyota GR Sport 2023 review, packed with all the necessary information you need.
What is GR Sport?
The Toyota GR Sport is a variant or trim level of select Toyota models for "Gazoo Racing Sport." It represents Toyota's performance-oriented approach, derived from its motorsport division, Gazoo Racing. The GR sports models are designed to enhance driving dynamics, provide a sportier appearance, and deliver an exhilarating driving experience.
For the 2024 model, Toyota is placing a greater emphasis on technological advancements, including an updated Smart Digital Key compatible with both Apple and Android smartphones. The vehicle will also incorporate nanoe-X air purification technology to enhance the well-being of both the driver and passengers. Additionally, 2024 will introduce vibrant and sophisticated new colour options, including a green metallic variant.
What Corolla Models are Available in the UK
Toyota offers four Corolla hatchback models, three of which are hybrid. The hybrid models are the Corolla Hatchback Icon, Corolla Hatchback Design, and Corolla GR Sport. The Corolla Hatchback Executive is the non-hybrid version.
The Toyota GR is another variant that is available in the hybrid category. It has a 300-horsepower, 273-pound-foot, three-cylinder turbocharged engine. The Toyota Corolla GR Sport is the closest non-hybrid model to the GR Sport. However, it is unavailable in the UK and is more sportier and more powerful than the GR Sport.
To compare the notable differences between the two see the following comparison:
Toyota Corolla GR Sport
1.8L hybrid engine
Aggressive front grille
Unique alloy wheels
Toyota GR Corolla
2.3L turbocharged 300hp engine
6-speed manual transmission
Aggressive front grille
Unique alloy wheels
Exterior: Sporty Exterior for a Striking Presence
In the 2023 facelifted version of the Toyota Corolla, the exterior updates focus on the front grille, enhancing the car's sporty appearance. The dark chrome meshed front grille has been redesigned, giving the car a more stylish and athletic look.
The new front grille design introduces angular lines and a more aggressive stance, making the car stand out. Additionally, the more oversized air intakes on the bumper contribute to the sporty aesthetic and improve engine airflow, thereby enhancing performance.
Other exterior features, such as the body-coloured door handles, black-coloured rear bumper, black-coloured rear spoiler, body-coloured shark fin antenna, and glossy black mesh on the rear bumper, remain consistent with the other hybrid models.
The car features unique GR Sport badging on the front and rear to distinguish the GR Sport model, serving as visual identifiers.
Another standout feature of the Corolla GR Sport is the inclusion of black door mirrors, which add to the car's sporty look. While these black door mirrors are optional for the Excel model, they come as standard with the GR Sport variant.
Although the black rear spoiler is not included as a standard feature, it can be added as an optional upgrade. In our opinion, adding the black rear spoiler is a highly recommended option for those seeking a more sporty appearance for their car.
Interior: Elevating Comfort, Connectivity and Design
In this 2023 facelift version, significant changes can be observed in the interior. Whether you talk about the 12.3" digital combi meter (coloured with 3D effect) or the front sports seats, the GR sport pleases you in every regard. The 12.3" digital combi meter is available in its every hatchback model.
Is it similar to traditional Toyotas interior?
Not at all. The company has placed a great deal of emphasis on the new interior of the Toyota Corolla. It has undergone significant improvements that now put it on par with its rivals.
One notable enhancement is the 12.3-inch digital combi meter, which substantially improves over the previous models that combined analogue and digital displays. This updated digital combi meter provides a more modern and sophisticated experience for the driver. It is much more customisable as compared to the other screens.
Furthermore, there is a new touchscreen display measuring 10.5 inches. Unlike the older design that included shortcut buttons, this new touchscreen features a cleaner and more streamlined interface, enhancing the overall interior aesthetics.
The GR Sport further distinguishes itself by including a push start button, a feature not found in other models. This convenient feature adds to the modern and effortless driving experience.
Seats are where the GR Sport stands apart. The heated driver and front passenger seats make the seats more comfortable than ever. The power-generated lumber seats on the driver seat also add an extra level of comfortability. Related to seats, our sales expert says:
“Once you sink into the comfortable seats of the Toyota Corolla GR Sport, there's no going back! They hug you snugly like a cosy cocoon, making it hard to resist their comfort. Be careful, because once you sit down, they'll make you want to keep driving forever, as if the open road is their own special place to play”
How good is the infotainment system?
Toyota has Smart Connect, offering a seamless and user-friendly digital experience and live Over the Air updates.
Another aspect Toyota has emphasized is screen responsiveness. The screen is highly responsive, which significantly facilitates navigation and map usage. This feature makes making changes and customizing settings effortless, resulting in a smooth and efficient navigation experience..
Does it have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Compatibility?
Absolutely! The Toyota Corolla offers seamless compatibility with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The high-definition touchscreen seamlessly integrates your digital life with your driving experience, ensuring a fluid and convenient connection.
Driving Experience: Safe but Fun
Regarding driving experience, the Toyota Corolla GR Sport won't find any signs of underpower. The engine delivers a remarkable pick-up, responding swiftly to your commands. The Electro Continuously Variable Transmission (e-CVT) also plays a significant role in the seamless driving experience.
This rear-wheel drive does not have traditional and automatic transmission. The e-CVT in the Corolla GT Sport ensures smooth acceleration, allowing you to merge onto highways or overtake slower vehicles effortlessly. Though the e-CVT technology behaves very much like the traditional CVT but still the principle in which it is build on is completely different. Its precise gear ratios contribute to the overall performance, providing optimal power delivery at any speed. This translates into a more dynamic driving experience where you can confidently navigate various road conditions.
All the driving modes make the car a fantastic experience with their added specialty. However, one thing to mention is the sport mode which gives a sharper throttle response and makes the car feel more powerful. There are no mechanical changes in sport mode, so it stays as a family car; however, the sporty mode adds a significant method and makes the experience more sporty.
Impact of Hybrid Technology on Driving Experience:
The driving experience of the Toyota Corolla has been dramatically enhanced with the improved hybrid technology. As mentioned earlier, the Corolla has significantly improved its hybrid technology, which may seem insignificant on paper but greatly enhance the overall driving experience.
One notable improvement is the smaller yet more powerful 14-inch battery. This increase in power has boosted the car's horsepower from 120 to 138, resulting in a faster 0-62 miles acceleration time of 1.8 seconds. Additionally, the car's power delivery is now more consistent, thanks to Toyota's refined throttle response.
To find out more about how hybrid technology affects the driving experience, have a look at our comprehensive guide
Thinking About the Environment
The Toyota Corolla not only delivers an exceptional driving experience but also positively impacts the environment. With its impressive CO₂ emissions range of 100-111 g/km according to WLTP standards, the Corolla demonstrates its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.
The Corolla performs admirably in fuel economy, achieving a combined WLTP fuel efficiency rating of 60.1-64.2 mpg. This means you can enjoy long drives with fewer pump stops while minimising fuel consumption and emissions.
The car also boasts an impressive Euro 6AP rating which signifies that the GR sport meets the stringiest emissions standards set by the European Union. To ensure optimal performance, the Corolla recommends using a fuel grade of 95 or higher (octane), allowing you to make responsible choices that contribute to engine efficiency and environmental sustainability.
With a fuel tank capacity of 43 liters, the Corolla balances practicality and efficiency. You can enjoy extended journeys without excessive refueling, reducing the frequency of stops and reducing your environmental impact.
The GR Sport also provides a comfortable and quiet driving experience. With a 67 dB(A) sound level during drive-bys, the cabin remains peaceful and serene, allowing you to enjoy the ride while minimizing noise pollution.
To learn about how other leading manufacturers are implementing the best environmental practices, you can check our check it out
in which we compare the best environmental practices of leading car manufacturers. Also, you can check our blog on how hybrid technology contributes towards environmental factors.
Regarding practicality, GR Sport is handy and ticks all the boxes one wants from a family-oriented car. Sufficient legroom and headroom, sufficient boot capacity, high fuel efficiency, and Toyota's safety sense package make it an efficient vehicle.
However, comparing it with cars of its segment, like the Ford Puma, enhances boot space with a Megabox and a distinguishable feature. Toyota Corolla has little emphasis on it. However, boot space is still efficient. For the 2.0 liter option, the boot space is further compromised because of high power and battery space.
The car also comes with a spare wheel, an option for which only a few hybrids are coming; hence, Toyota is increasing the emphasis on a family car.
In terms of fuel efficiency, the GR Sport leaves its competitors. Our expert at Motorfinity rates its fuel efficiency as one of the prominent and notable features.
“If you want to drive the most stylish yet economic car in the Toyota Corolla range, then this is the model for you. It has a fantastic fuel economy with an official mpg of over 64.”
Is the Price Justified?
As compared to the other two hybrids, namely the Corolla Hatchback Icon and the Corolla Hatchback Design, the GR Sport variant is priced at £1260 higher than the Corolla Hatchback Design which is priced at £30,225 and £2830 higher than the Corolla Hatchback Icon which is priced at £31,795, these prices are for 1.8 variants, as per the official Toyota UK website. Now, the question arises: is it worth the extra cost? Our answer is a resounding yes. The GR Sport offers a sporty exterior, improved hybrid technology, and comfortable sport seats, all of which contribute to its value for money.
Please note that the prices mentioned above are based on information provided by the official Toyota website. However, if you fall under our eligible audience, which includes NHS, Military, Teachers, Police, and Carers, you may be eligible for exclusive discounts. To learn more about your eligibility criteria and explore our offerings, we encourage you to check our website. Our Toyota Corolla prices start from just £26,823, providing options for various budgets.
We would say that the Corolla GR Sport is a great hybrid car that offers more than just family-friendly practicality. It provides an exhilarating driving experience with added power and excitement, exceeding ordinary expectations.
In our opinion, the 2023 model of this hybrid car has undergone some impressive changes. With its more modern interior, swift suspension, excellent fuel economy, and the added benefit of a 10-year warranty, it undeniably takes the lead in its class. Our experts highly recommend this car, as the facelift features have made it even more desirable than ever before. It's a vehicle that combines style, performance, and peace of mind, making it a clear winner in our books.
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