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Here’s an actual car comparison you need to see. We’re not even halfway through the year and already have an impressive 2023 model to gander at. The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is ready to rock and is already earning high marks among critics. Its rival, the very impressive 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI, has been put on notice. Based on what is known and has been announced so far, and according to a few industry critic’s opinions, the Toyota GR Corolla is smoking and absolutely dominating the Golf GTI in a big way. Here’s how this hot hatch performance version of the standard Corolla Hatchback compares.

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI is still an impressive contender

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI performance 'hot' hatchback in yellow driving through a autumn forest highway
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI | Volkswagen of America, Inc. Newspress Limited

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI is in its eighth generation but completely new this year from roof to rubber. VW loaded this fan-favorite hatchback with even more innovative tech and enhanced performance. Outside, you’ll notice sleeker LED headlights and a gaping lower grille, as Car and Driver points out in its review. Still, it’s the interior that shines for the new Golf GTI.

There’s plaid upholstery, dual digital displays, and an entirely redesigned dashboard. Under the hood, the Golf GTI’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is now turbo, capable of harnessing 241 horses and 273 lb-ft of torque. The VW Golf GTI still offers that beloved standard transmission, too. Volkswagen says the starting price is $29,880, making it an affordable option and a fun-to-drive one. However, bumping up to either the SE or the Autobahn trims will lead to a price range between $35,625 and $39,325. So, can it compete with the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla?

What we know about the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla

Toyota has officially unveiled its 2023 Toyota GR Corolla, a racing-inspired hatchback with the soul of Corolla. Toyota shares some specs and details car buyers want to know, like the 1.6-liter, three-cylinder engine featuring direct port-injected turbo designs. That’s 300 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque from a three-cylinder!

The GR Corolla will come with, as Toyota calls it, the GR-Four AWD with a customizable setting for front and rear power. There will be two grades, the Circuit Edition and the Core, and you’ll get a complimentary one-year membership to the National Auto Sport Association if you want to learn driving from the experts. The Circuit Edition is a launch year exclusive, so if you want a Morizo signed shift knob, that’s the model to get.

Designed by the Toyota Gazoo Racing (GR) team, this hot hatch is lightweight, compact, uber-powerful, with snappy acceleration you’ve never felt on a Corolla before. Toyota says a six-speed manual transmission is a perfect mate for a personality-infused performer like this one. Pricing for the GR Corolla has not yet been officially announced but is expected to be within the $30,000 to $40,000 MSRP range.

Is the Golf GTI or GR Corolla the better hot hatch?


2023 Toyota GR Corolla vs. 2023 Honda Civic Type R: Which Hatch Is Hotter?

Comparing the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla with the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI, there are a few things to note. The GR Corolla might be a tighter fit in the cabin for occupants since it’s a tad smaller. However, there is more power under the hood for the GR Corolla, with its 300-hp engine compared to the Golf GTI’s 241-hp engine. Additionally, considering the price ranges for these hot hatches will be well within the same ballpark, the GR Corolla Hatchback will be more performance bang for your buck.

The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla Hatchback is expected to land in the dealerships before the end of the year. If you had your eye on the VW Golf GTI, you might want to wait and test drive the GR Corolla Hatchback first. It’s clearly positioned to dominate even the peppy VW.