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Toyota GR Corolla 2023 review: Morizo Edition

EXPERT RATING
8.3
What's the pinnacle of Toyota performance? Some might think the Supra, but that shares so much with the BMW Z4. Nah, I'd argue the peak of Gazoo Racing is the GR Corolla Morizo Edition, but does this hot hatch have what it takes to hang with the hottest models available?

It's a question every collector has asked themselves before: Keep it in the box, or open it up and enjoy your hard-earned spoils?

Some might say piercing the film and exposing painted plastic just sullies a toy and devalues it immediately, but Toyota wants to make the argument that its GR Corolla Morizo Edition is meant to be enjoyed.

In fact, the brand is vetting potential buyers to ensure that its limited-run Morizo Edition ends up in the hands of owners who will most likely take its hottest hatchback to the racetrack.

The question then is, is the GR Corolla Morizo Edition any fun when you get to open up its taps?

Toyota GR Corolla 2023: Morizo Edition
Safety rating
Engine Type1.6L turbo
Fuel Type
Fuel Efficiency8.6L/100km
Seating2 seats
Price from$70,840

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

Before I get into how this thing drives, let's set the scene.

The Morizo Edition might look like any ‘standard' GR Corolla to the casual passerby, but it is an even more exclusive and lust-worthy model.

Priced at $77,800 before on-road costs, the Morizo Edition is by far the most expensive Corolla you can buy – if you could actually buy one.

This means it sits a substantial $15,500 upstream of the already-expensive GR Corolla, but you don't even get more for the spend, you actually get a bit less.

The biggest omission is the lack of rear seats, but I'll get into that a bit later on.

This Morizo Edition also features special BBS alloy wheels, further standing it apart from the standard GR Corolla. This Morizo Edition also features special BBS alloy wheels, further standing it apart from the standard GR Corolla.

You can tell a Morizo Edition apart from a GR Corolla thanks to unique dark-silver 18-inch BBS wheels at each corner, wrapped in sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.

A carbon-fibre reinforced plastic roof also helps lower weight and the centre of gravity.

Aside from the performance-oriented tweaks, the Morizo Edition also carries over some niceties of the GR Corolla including aluminium pedals, a manual parking brake, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, head-up display, and heated front seats.

You do lose out on the heated steering wheel though, as well as a rear windscreen wiper, dual-zone climate control and wireless smartphone charger.

Suede is also used for the steering wheel, shift boot and parking brake instead of leather.

Is the GR Corolla better with less? Is the GR Corolla better with less?

Handling multimedia duties is an 8.0-inch touchscreen display with wireless Apple CarPlay but wired Android Auto, as well as features such as digital radio and Toyota's Connected Services, but the Morizo Edition ditches the satellite navigation and eight-speaker JBL sound system for a two-speaker setup in the name of weight saving.

You are paying a lot more for an equipment list that is pretty common in cars at and below $40,000, but then again can you put a price on exclusivity?

With only 25 of these cars coming to Australia, these will be rarer than some high-ticket exotic models from Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren.

And for collectors, well the rarer the model, the more expensive it will be.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   9/10

Remember when Corollas were bland and boring, and the only ones that would make you look twice had gaudy stickers down the side and bad-looking replica wheels with a weak offset?

Well, the Morizo Edition is here to redeem the Corolla, as Toyota has delivered an actual, honest-to-god head turner.

Taking the already handsome 12th-generation Corolla as a base, the GR version adds a heaping of aggression and style, most notably with the wider bodywork afforded by the fattened-up fenders.

The Morizo Edition is here to redeem the Corolla, as Toyota has delivered an actual, honest-to-god head turner. The Morizo Edition is here to redeem the Corolla, as Toyota has delivered an actual, honest-to-god head turner.

Up front there is a new bumper, grille and bonnet with more holes than Swiss cheese to help cool the engine.

There are front fender vents to move turbulent air out from the wheel wells and road-hugging side skirts for a hunkered-down look.

This Morizo Edition also features special BBS alloy wheels, further standing it apart from the standard GR Corolla.

The GR version adds a heaping of aggression and style, most notably with the wider bodywork afforded by the fattened-up fenders. The GR version adds a heaping of aggression and style, most notably with the wider bodywork afforded by the fattened-up fenders.

Move to the rear and well, I'd argue the Morizo Edition is rocking a pretty gnarly mullet that's all business up top with a carryover Corolla tailgate, and a party down below thanks to a fat new bumper with prominent diffuser and triple-exit exhaust.

That's right, there's three exhaust outlets here, but it's not just for show as the centre pipe is designed to reduce back pressure, as well as open up fully for a better aural experience.

Sadly, only three colours are available in Morizo Edition form – Frosted White, Tarmac Black and an exclusive Matte Steel – the latter a $2500 option.

Step inside and you’ll see bucket seats clad in faux-leather and suede. Step inside and you’ll see bucket seats clad in faux-leather and suede.

And with how good the new Corolla looks in blue and orange, I'd have liked to see a more diverse colour pallet on offer here.

Step inside and you'll see bucket seats clad in faux-leather and suede, while the interior is littered with red touches throughout to remind you that you are in something special.

Stitching, seatbelts, shifter, 12 o'clock marker on the steering wheel, it's all covered in a fiery red, almost as a reminder to your heart to keep pumping haemoglobins as you wrestle with the Morizo Edition's controls.

The interior is littered with red touches throughout to remind you that you are in something special. The interior is littered with red touches throughout to remind you that you are in something special.

How practical is its space and tech inside?   7/10

Five-door hatchback means five-seat practicality, right? Well, not in this Corolla.

The biggest differentiator of the Morizo Edition from the GR Corolla is the removal of the rear seats, reducing overall weight and flexibility.

But this isn't meant to be a hatchback you can take your family to the shops with, it's designed as a ground-up, hardcore track athlete, so it's hard to knock it for not having rear seats.

The biggest differentiator of the Morizo Edition from the GR Corolla is the removal of the rear seats. The biggest differentiator of the Morizo Edition from the GR Corolla is the removal of the rear seats.

This means the front passengers are free to push their seats back as far as they like to get comfortable, and there are even plenty of storage solutions too including cupholders, door bins and a glove box.

The extra bracing in place of the rear seats also doubles as a tyre rack, so you can cart around a spare set of track-day wheels. Neat!

And without the rear seats, it means a bigger boot, which can swallow 979 litres of volume, but I can't imagine anyone would be using their Morizo Edition to grab furniture from Ikea. I'm more than happy to be proven wrong though.

Without the rear seats, it means a bigger boot, which can swallow 979 litres of volume. Without the rear seats, it means a bigger boot, which can swallow 979 litres of volume.

What are the key stats for its engine and transmission?   10/10

Powering the GR Corolla Morizo Edition is a 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine – the same one found in the GR Yaris and ‘standard' GR Corolla.

And while power outputs match the GR Corolla's 221kW, torque has been boosted 30Nm to 400Nm in the Morizo Edition.

Paired to the engine is a six-speed manual gearbox with rev matching, with the ratios in the Morizo car tweaked to capitalise on the torque gain.

While power outputs match the GR Corolla’s 221kW, torque has been boosted 30Nm to 400Nm in the Morizo Edition. While power outputs match the GR Corolla’s 221kW, torque has been boosted 30Nm to 400Nm in the Morizo Edition.

Drive is sent to an all-wheel-drive system, which can be tweaked to send up to 70 per cent of torque to the rear wheels depending on driving mode and conditions.

The result is a zero to 100km/h acceleration time of 5.2 seconds, and if those numbers mean nothing to you, just know that the GR Corolla Morizo Edition is really quick!

What is its fuel consumption? What is its driving range?   9/10

As a result of the more potent engine tune, official fuel consumption figures for the GR Corolla Morizo Edition are pegged at 8.6 litres per 100km, making it slightly thirstier than the GR Corolla's 8.4L/100km figure.

I was not able to get a proper real-world fuel reading as my time with the car was spent exclusively sending it on a racetrack.

Carbon dioxide emissions are also up from 191 grams per kilometre to 196g/km.

The Morizo Editon features a 50-litre fuel tank and sips 98RON petrol, meaning it has a theoretical driving range of about 581km.

What's it like to drive?   10/10

If you've ever thought that a hot hatch couldn't feel like a ground-up sports car, wait until you drive this GR Corolla Morizo Edition.

Sure, the base car shares a lot in common with a basic Corolla, but the amount of work Toyota has put into this to make it feel truly special is staggering.

For starters, the steering is phenomenal – it feels precise, quick and is perfectly weighted to give drivers feedback on what is happening underneath.

The suspension is firm, as you'd expect from a car like this, and has been tweaked with unique shock absorbers to give you so much confidence when tipping in at speed.

If you’ve ever thought that a hot hatch couldn’t feel like a ground-up sports car, wait until you drive this GR Corolla Morizo Edition. If you’ve ever thought that a hot hatch couldn’t feel like a ground-up sports car, wait until you drive this GR Corolla Morizo Edition.

The caveat is that I've not had a chance to drive this on a public road, so I can't really say if it's liveable as a daily, but out on the track this feel so solid.

Of course, the handling is also helped by front and rear Torsen limited-slip differentials, and super sticky Michelin tyre, but Toyota has also made the Morizo Edition even stiffer than a normal GR Corolla.

Removing the rear seats has also made a massive difference, as the lighter rear end feels more eager to pivot, so you can get even closer to nailing that apex.

What all of this means is that the GR Corolla Morizo Edition is heaps of fun, especially on a track where you really get to open up the taps and dance it around a corner.

My favourite aspect however, is undeniably this manual gearbox – it's such a slick unit with short throws and a really notchy feel.

The caveat is that I’ve not had a chance to drive this on a public road, so I can’t really say if it’s liveable as a daily, but out on the track this feel so solid. The caveat is that I’ve not had a chance to drive this on a public road, so I can’t really say if it’s liveable as a daily, but out on the track this feel so solid.

First and third gear have been retuned to better take advantage of the torque band, and it just means you aren't always hunting for a gear to speed back up after a corner.

But of course, the centrepiece of this car is really its engine, which is an absolute delight – I mean who would have thought a three-cylinder engine could sound like this?

The GR Corolla Morizo Edition might not be a sports car in the truest sense, but it just makes you hungry and eager to push harder and drive more, which – to me – is the hallmark of the best driver's cars you can buy.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

Despite being a track-focused weapon, the Morizo Edition still features a wide-range of standard safety gear.

With Toyota's Safety Sense suite in place, it means drivers are protected by autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

The top-dog GR Corolla also loses out on parking sensors, but does feature a reversing camera.

However, the GR Corolla and Morizo Edition do not carry over the standard Corolla's five-star ANCAP safety rating, and remain untested by the peak automotive safety body.

What warranty is offered? What are its service intervals? What are its running costs?   7/10

As with all new Toyota models, the GR Corolla Morizo Edition comes with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty – matching the industry standard and other brands like Mazda, Ford and Hyundai.

Toyota also offers an additional two years of protection from engine/driveline damage if owners stick to scheduled servicing intervals at authorised centres.

Speaking of, scheduled maintenance is every six months or 10,000km, whichever occurs first, with the first three years (or six services) costing $300 each.

However, the next four services that would take the Morizo Edition up to the first five years/100,000km of ownership rise in price significantly.

And because there are two services in a year, maintenance costs quickly add up.

Verdict

The GR Corolla Morizo Edition really makes a compelling case that you should never treat it like a garage queen.

It is so absolutely sublime to drive at the limit, and shows just how far Toyota has come from the boring, dull and uninteresting products it was churning out just a decade ago.

If you are one of the lucky few to own this car, I beg you, cherish it, enjoy it and drive it every chance you get, because odds are Toyota is never going to make anything else like it ever again.

Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel, accommodation and meals provided.

Pricing guides

$69,500
Based on 26 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$60,350
Highest Price
$74,888

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GTS 1.6L, —, 6 SP MAN $59,510 – 68,420 2023 Toyota GR Corolla 2023 GTS Pricing and Specs
Morizo Edition 1.6L, —, 6 SP MAN $70,840 – 81,400 2023 Toyota GR Corolla 2023 Morizo Edition Pricing and Specs
Morizo Edition + Matte Paint 1.6L, —, 6 SP MAN $73,150 – 84,040 2023 Toyota GR Corolla 2023 Morizo Edition + Matte Paint Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8.3
Price and features7
Design9
Practicality7
Under the bonnet10
Efficiency9
Driving10
Safety7
Ownership7
Tung Nguyen
News Editor

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Pricing Guide

$60,350

Lowest price, based on 26 car listings in the last 6 months

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Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.