The Toyota GR Corolla has made landfall in ASEAN for the first time, surfacing at the ongoing Thailand Motor Expo 2022, portending a wider rollout of the AWD mega hatch in other regions - meaning, well, Malaysia.
As expected, it’s now December, and right on cue, the car makes its Thai debut.
It’s pretty pricey, though. Toyota Thailand announced that it’ll cost buyers there 3,949,000 baht - the equivalent of RM497k. And you can count on it being north of RM500k when it does reach our showrooms.
For a little reference, the GR Yaris, a car that shares the same powertrain and clever GR-FOUR four-wheel drive system, was offered here for much less: RM299k back at its 2020 launch.
It’s built upon the the hatchback bodystyle of the 12th-generation (E210) Toyota Corolla which until now has been denied to us. However, the brand has made some significant enhancements that also happen to alter it cosmetically by quite some margin.
For one, the chassis and dynamics requirements meant accommodating to its widened front and rear axle width, covered up with enlarged fenders, a side sill just behind the front wheel arch, lightweight wheels, and a GR-specific aerokit. Another stand out addition is the tri-exit exhausts for a little more visual drama.
Rumours have been swirling about local distributors UMW Toyota bringing in the model, along with some nice surprises, to our shores in the early stages of 2023. However, as usual, our market sits behind countries like Indonesia and Thailand in the automotive pecking order.
The 1.6-litre turbocharged G16E-GTS three-cylinder petrol engine produces 304PS and 370Nm of torque, a decent bump over the output tune of the GR Yaris (44PS, 10Nm), probably to compensate for the Corolla’s larger dimensions and weight penalty. Power, as it should, is transmitted via a 6-speed manual.
Its 0-100km/h sprint takes just 5.2 seconds, or so officially claimed - exactly level with the GR Yaris’ advertised numbers. That said, these acceleration times seem to vary between regions, so take that with a grain of salt.
When it does arrive in Malaysia fully imported from Japan, the GR Corolla will not only have to face off against the obvious Golf R from Volkswgen (RM390k), but also the more powerful Mercedes-AMG A 45 S (RM482k).
Will Toyota’s mega hatch entrant bring enough to the table to entice buyers into the GR stable?