We have seen quite a few hot hatchbacks come and go over the years. The Honda Civic Si and Type R had a hatchback phase, as did the Subaru WRX STI. We saw a myriad of VWs, like the GTI and R32, and even Ford threw in the Focus ST for some domestic excitement. But the latest newcomer to the game is the Toyota GR Corolla, and with its new Premium trim for 2024, this rally-inspired hatch is one of the hottest yet.

Inside, the Premium lives up to its billing with Brin Naub synthetic leather seats that proudly display the ‘GR’ logo embossed on the headrests. A heated steering wheel and heated front seats work in conjunction with a JBL Premium audio system and wireless smartphone charging to allow for all the modern luxuries of far more expensive (and slower) cars.

Under the hood, we find a very curious DOHC direct-injected turbocharged inline-three-cylinder engine (yes, three). Toyota has dialed the boost up to a whopping 25.2 psi, which allows the diminutive dynamo to pump out an incredible 300 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 273 pound-feet of torque at 3,000 rpm. That power is gratefully routed through a tried-and-true 6-speed manual transmission before being sent off to a set of front and rear Torsen limited-slip differentials and then out to big 18-inch 15-spoke cast-alloy wheels shod in 235/40R-18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber.

With just 3,278 pounds to move, the Toyota GR Corolla Premium hustles from 0-60 mph in a scant 5.1 seconds and through the quarter mile in 13.6 seconds at 102 mph. Despite its frontward weight bias (58/42%), the GR is still capable of running around the skidpad to the tune of 0.95g of lateral acceleration. And thanks to four-piston calipers clamping down on crossed drilled and slotted front rotors (with two-piston units out back), this crazy Corolla can scrub off speed from 60-0 mph in just 107 feet.

Built as a street racer and/or track car, the front-to-rear torque distribution is able to be augmented by the driver’s choice of setting. Toyota recommends 60:40 for daily commutes, while it says 50:50 should be used for track days to allow for maximum at-speed stability, and the rearward-biased 30:70 should be used for straight-line blasts.

While compared to the base car, the 2024 Toyota GR Corolla Premium does seem a little expensive, with a starting MSRP of $41,415, but those two little letters signify that this car is anything but an econobox. With its upgraded power and now even more prestige thanks to the Premium trim, the latest and hottest hatch from Toyota will have you smiling like the Joker huffing laughing gas, and that joy is all but priceless.

Photos: Toyota

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