The Awesome-Looking Toyota GR Corolla Hot Hatch Starts At An Entirely Reasonable $36,995

Morning Dump Gr Corolla Price

Toyota prices the GR Corolla hot hatch, GM offers to buy out Buick dealers, Ford recalls full-size SUVs due to a fire risk. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

The Toyota GR Corolla Seems Very Reasonably Priced

2023 Toyota GR Corolla front 3/4 view.
Photo credit: Toyota

While the Toyota GR Corolla has always looked absolutely wicked, pricing is key in the hot hatch segment and nobody really knew if Toyota would aim high or shoot low. Would the GR Corolla carry a price tag well north of $40,000, or would Toyota keep things cheap-ish and set the base price to compete well with a loaded Subaru WRX? Finally, we have answers. Pricing is out, and this all-wheel-drive hot hatch is cheaper than you might’ve expected.

The base Core model starts at $36,995 including a $1,095 freight charge. That’s extremely reasonable compared to the Volkswagen Golf R’s starting price of $45,185 including a $1,095 freight charge, and package pricing also seems reasonable. The Performance package adds Torsen differentials and bigger brakes for just $1,180, which sounds absolutely worth every penny. If you want heated seats and a heated steering wheel, the cold weather package is just $500, while a JBL premium audio system and wireless charging come with the $770 Technology package. Add it all up, and a fully-loaded GR Corolla Core comes to $39,445.

Should you desire a little more exclusivity, the Circuit Edition stickers for $43,995, a $4,550 premium over a loaded Core model. That’s a lot of money for suede upholstery, some cosmetic bits, special paint, and a signed shift knob, but in fairness, the cosmetic tweaks do look sick. Topping the range is the stripped-out, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2-shod Morizo Edition. It’ll cost $50,995 if you can find one at MSRP, and features shorter axle ratios and an extra 22 lb-ft of torque to go with the sticky tires and lower curb weight. Expect the Core trim to arrive this autumn with the Circuit Edition and Morizo Edition to follow next year.

How bad will the markups be? We’re taking guesses below.

GM Offers To Buy Out Buick Dealers

Buick Wildcat Ev Concept Resize
Photo credit: Buick

Add dealership owners to the long list of people who may be left behind in the switch to EVs. The Wall Street Journal reports that General Motors is offering to buy out Buick owners who aren’t feeling too great about plans for the brand to go all-electric by 2030.

Global Buick chief Duncan Aldred confirmed in an interview that all of Buick’s roughly 2,000 U.S. franchise dealers will be given the opportunity to take a buyout. A dealer who takes a buyout would give up the Buick franchise and no longer sell the brand, although nearly all Buick dealers also sell other GM models. Mr. Aldred is scheduled to outline the plan during a virtual dealer meeting Friday.

“Not everyone necessarily wants to make that journey, depending on where they’re located or the level of expenditure that the transition will demand,” he said. “So if they want to exit the Buick franchise, then we will give them monetary assistance to do so.”

While it’s easy to write off some franchise owners who take buyouts as EV skeptics, there may be real financial sense in taking a buyout. Between installing charging stations, buying specialty tools needed to repair EVs, training technicians and sales staff on EV sales, and possible imaging updates, an electric transition may cost franchise owners a small fortune. For owners of small dealerships, the cost just might not be worth it.

[Ed Note: I spend too much time on Twitter and there was some discussion of this being a prelude to Buick going full direct-to-consumer a la Tesla. Do I think that’s the case? I’m skeptical, but it’s a fun question. – MH]

August Car Sales Are Up In Germany

BMW i4 eDrive35
Photo credit: BMW

Even in the worst economic situations, there are still one or two bright spots that crop up. Case in point, Automotive News Europe reports that German year-over-year monthly new car sales rose 3 percent in August after six months of decline.

Registrations for the month were 199,183, data from the KBA motor transport authority showed on Monday.

Stellantis’ DS premium brand was the biggest monthly winner with registrations up 177 percent for a 0.1 percent market share.

Total sales of full-electric vehicles rose 11 percent for a 16.1 percent market share.

While it’s too early to say conclusively that these sales numbers are early indicators of production recovery, they’re certainly promising. There’s still a long way to go to reach pre-pandemic sales levels, but a 3 percent year-over-year sales rise in the face of war and a pandemic really isn’t bad at all.

Ford Recalls An Assload Of Full-Size SUVs Due To Fire Risk

2017 Ford Expedition Passenger Side 3/4 View
Photo credit: Ford

Ford has recalled 198,482 examples of its 2015-2017 Expedition and its Lincoln Navigator counterpart for risk of fiery death. It’ll be a slightly tricky one to complete seeing as affected models don’t have sequential VINs, but Ford seems to have narrowed down a likely cause in the recall report.

Ford Motor Company has not identified the cause of this condition; however, it is believed to originate inside the front blower motor, which is located on the passenger side interior behind the glovebox.

So why does Ford believe the blower motors are faulty? Well, according to the recall report, “Some customers have reported an inoperative fan, burning smell and/or smoke from the instrument panel vents while the vehicle is on.” Of course, there is a chance that the blower motor itself may not be the culprit here. It could be the blower motor resistor, or a pigtail harness, but Ford seems to be certain enough to replace blower motors on all affected vehicles once the part is redesigned. Owners should be notified of this recall by Sept. 16, with a fix possibly available as soon as Ford redesigns the blower motors.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Tuesday, everyone. As this week’s a short week, let’s talk about short cars. While few new subcompact cars remain on the American car market, we used to be absolutely spoiled for choice. I’d love to know what your favorite subcompact car is. Maybe you owned an absolutely indestructible Toyota Echo, rented a surprisingly pleasant Chevrolet Sonic, or dream of the incredible fuel mileage offered by the Geo Metro. Whatever the case, let’s hear it for small cars.

Lead photo credit: Toyota

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50 Responses

  1. Weirdly enough, I am cross-shopping this with the new Integra. I’ve actually driven the latter, and it’s pretty darn comfy, and *relatively* peppy, and the manual is the typical Honda experience (short, notchy throws, way too light clutch). I worry that the GR is going to be too sporty to be a comfortable DD on our garbage infrastructure (TM) roads, or to take on a road trip. I’ve also never been too impressed with Toyota infotainment system quality, so that’s another concern. Basically, if I’m going to spend $40K on what’ll probably be the last M/T, gas-powered enthusiast-car-you-can-use-daily that I’m likely to see, it’d better be both fun to drive and comfortable enough to live with.

  2. I guess I am getting too old. Price does not seem cheap to me on the enhanced Corolla. I was excited when it came out, but slightly less so now. Still may be a good deal used down the road, though I am not sure how even Toyota makes a small engine with so much horsepower reliable long term.

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  3. My favorite subcompact hatchback was the 2003 Toyota Matrix XRS. What, not a subcompact you say? Maybe not during it’s heyday, but the market has bloated in size over the decades. It’s about a foot shorter than the new GR Corolla!

  4. It will be tempting to get one of these if they are sold for what Toyota wants to sell them for. I’m a sucker for a performance hatch with AWD. I’d have a Golf R if Toyota made one instead of VW. So this is the closest I’ll get.

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