"The GR Corolla's small-displacement three-cylinder engine makes peak power rather high in the rev range, so launching it hard requires buzzing the tach to about 6,000 rpm and lifting off the clutch smoothly and deliberately. A surprisingly drama-free, rapid takeoff ensues — no Subaru-style, slam-bang halfshaft-shattering noises here — and although low-end torque is fairly weak (it doesn't come on in full until 3,000 rpm and lasts through 5,500), the turbo triple builds revs eagerly and pulls hard toward its 6,500-rpm horsepower peak, making a pleasant yet muted someone-dropped-a-beehive noise. Toyota says that the GR Corolla can hit 60 mph in "under five seconds." Get the launch right, and we bet runs in the mid-fours are possible.
Weaving through Utah Motorsports Park's series of similar corners — there are plenty of late-apex, double-apex-type curves — allows us to quickly compare the GR Corolla Core, Circuit, and Morizo Edition models. A few difference makers become apparent: The Core's and Circuit's tires and the Morizo's extra boost, torque, and grip from its spicier rubber.
Although all three GR Corollas exhibit talkative enough, medium-weighted yet accurate steering; a firm and easily modulated brake pedal; and a well-sprung clutch pedal and pleasantly mechanical-feeling shift lever, the lower-spec models are more playful. With less ultimate grip from their Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires — which, as ever, deliver predictable and easily managed breakaway characteristics — you can really rotate the short-wheelbase Corolla through tighter corners or adjust your line if you overcook a sweeper."
— Alexander Stoklosa, Motor Trend
"In lacking a grossly oversized rear wing, Toyota's new GR Corolla almost looks reserved at first glance. But keen eyes partial to small and fun driver's cars will quickly peg it as no ordinary Corolla — far from it. With flared nostrils, a tornado of an inline-three, and bulging fenders that make it 2.3 inches wider than its lesser kin, this hot hatchback is the clearest manifestation yet of Toyota President Akio Toyoda's vision to inject more excitement into his company's products.
Developed by Toyota's performance and motorsports arm, Gazoo Racing, and built in a dedicated area of the company's factory in Motomachi, Japan, the GR Corolla is a rally-car-inspired thoroughbred that in top-range Morizo spec even bares the Toyota boss's nickname. Drop into the familiar Corolla interior and you'll find soft, enveloping sport seats and a satisfyingly precise short-throw shifter for the six-speed manual, the only transmission offered. The configurable 12.3-inch gauge display eschews zany animations for easy readability, with the gear-selection indicator taking center stage. The pedals are spaced a bit far apart for easy heel-and-toeing, but the auto rev-matching feature (which can be turned off) works better than most Nikes will."
— Mike Sutton, Car and Driver