Hagerty Video: GR Corolla vs GR Yaris w/ Civic Type R, Golf R, Lancia Delta Integrale — Jason Cammisa on the ICONS

Posted: 2023-04-20 15:00:01
Author: Hagerty
This is the definitive review of the Toyota GR Corolla, for the first time tested against the GR Yaris, the FL5 11th-generation Honda Civic Type R, and Mk8 Volkswagen Golf R — all with manual transmissions.

As always, award-winning automotive journalist Jason Cammisa brings perspective and insight into this review, starting with Volkswagen inventing the hot-hatch segment with the original Mk1 GTI, Lancia inventing the super-hatch segment with the homologation-special Delta Integrale.

SCCA Hall of Fame race-car driver co-stars in this full-length review, setting a new record lap time at the Streets of Willow racetrack in Southern California, even though he’s still coughing after a battle with COVID-19.

In fact, it’s the Coronavirus that sets the stage here — the global pandemic was a reminder that life is too short to take anything seriously, including drifts, sliding, understeer, and Toyota’s GR-4 All-Wheel Drive system.

In the process, Jason falls through a bush, a Lancia Delta blows flames out of its exhaust, we drag race a GR Corolla Morizo versus a GR Yaris, we race them around a track, listen to Typhoid Randy coughing, Randy sets new FWD and hot-hatch lap records, the Corolla calls 9-1-1 on us 9 times, we learn who Mr. Morizo is, and Jason realizes, thanks to Adam Sandler, that he’s actually a nobody.

0:00 Intro: How did we get to Hot Hatch Nirvana in a Toyota?
1:34 Volkswagen invents the hot-hatch with the Volkswagen GTI
2:05 Hot-Hatch versus Super-Hatch
2:40 The World Rally Championship and homologation cars
3:17 Review: the Lancia Delta Integrale Evoluzione (“Deltona”)
6:12 Toyota’s COVID Glimmer of Hope: the GR Yaris WRC
7:22 All about the GR Yaris street car
9:18 Why no GR Yaris in America: A Billion Dollars
9:53 Making the GR Corolla happen
10:43 Drag Race: GR Corolla Morizo vs GR Yaris
11:23 Track Battle: GR Corolla vs GR Yaris
12:08 GR-Four Understeer (Corolla and Yaris)
13:27 Honda Civic Type R Introduction
14:42 Lancia Deltona vs GR Yaris Lap Time
15:12 Morizo vs CTR Lap Time
15:37 CTR Track Mini-Review vs. Ferrari 458 Italia
16:23 Mk8 Golf R Track Mini-Review
16:51 ICONS Streets of Willow Laptime Leaderboard
17:03 Golf R’s AWD system: drift-mode promise delivered
18:04 GR Corolla Morizo vs Golf R Track Battle
18:54 GR Corolla in Wet Weather
19:50 Toyota’s Emergency Response system calls 9-1-1
20:32 Comparing GR Yaris vs GR Corolla Circuit vs GR Corolla Morizo
21:37 The Meaning of the Morizo Name
22:24 GR 86 and GR Supra together with GR Yaris and GR Corolla.
23:00 Even the Toyota Prius Got Hot!
23:41 Conclusion: You survived a global pandemic. Go have fun!
24:07 Taking Life Too Seriously — The Outtakes


Check out the Hagerty Media Article about the GR Corolla: Track Tested: Honda Civic Type R vs. Toyota GR Corolla Morizo https://www.hagerty.com/media/great-reads/track-tested-honda-civic-type-r-vs-toyota-gr-corolla-morizo/

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Like what you see? Watch our other series including:
Redline Rebuilds | Time-lapse engine rebuilds from start to finish http://bit.ly/RedlineRebuild
Barn Find Hunter | Tom Cotter searches the country for abandoned cars http://bit.ly/BarnFIndHunter
Jason Cammisa on the Icons | The definitive car review
Revelations | Untold Stories About Automotive Legends with Jason Cammisa

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Hagerty Video Transcript

I know you tuned in to find out  which one is better: the GR Corolla, or the GR Yaris. [Martini Livery!! 😍] But first can I ask a question? How did we get here? …and I’m not talking about what our parents  

Did in the back seat of a Toyota  to put us on this planet. [BARF] But now, Toyotas are sexy! Even the Prius got hot! Somehow, the most fun  closed sports car in the world has a Toyota  badge on it. And then there’s that thing: which  is possibly the most punch-above-its-weight sports car ever made.

Together, these two are the most  important enthusiast hatchbacks in, oh, 30 years. How in the name of all things holy and right did that happen?! This is a story about a pair of hot  Toyota hatchbacks and a Lancia…

But we’d be remiss if we didn’t first  tip our hats in the direction of another company:   Volkswagen! …For both inventing the hot hatch, and then keeping the flame alive for eight successive generations of GTI. That is a serious commitment. Und zis is a seerious schttory.

[He said serious? Now you know something stupid is about to happen.] The “hot hatchback,” known colloquially as  the “hot-hatch,” is a practical, affordable,  economical box that can keep up with sports cars. They’re wonderful. And we adore them.

But there exists a different type of hatch: one  that lives one rung up on the coolness ladder. [Who does this clown think he is? Philomena Cunk? And where tf did that pig come from?] I’ll call that a “Super Hatch,” and unlike  a mere hot-hatch, the Super Hatch doesn’t  

Exist for quick commuting. It exists for racing. Rally Racing. This is the most extreme, deranged, demented, idiotic, irresponsible and psychotic sanctioned motorsport of them all. The Super Hatch isn’t just a  quicker version of a people’s car like the GTI is.

The Super Hatch is engineered and  sold to the public solely to be eligible to participate in the WRC. And the Super Hatch was invented by the Lancia Delta Integrale. [The Lancia Delta Integrale is LITERAL FIRE, yo!]

The Delta didn’t just “do well in rally.” No, no: the Integrale won the World Rally Championship six years in a row… …and that is something no  other car has ever done before or since. Hot-hatches of the time used little, screaming engines to make 100 horsepower.  

…but the Integrale made twice that. [Woo, 200hp, yay for you, Boomer.] [Ok, Boomer just made a BOV sound so real I’m shook.] Hot-hatches were all front-wheel drive, but the Integrale drove all four, with rear-biased all-wheel drive — and man did that make all the difference in the world! Power! Down to the ground! WOOOO!!

Yeah, bitchezzzz! [Boomer. Told you.] Hot hatches were all tall and narrow, but  the Integrale was flared out to be   SIX inches wider than a regular Delta, all so they could just fit more tire. With 4-wheel disc brakes, four wheel independent suspension, and that rear-biased all-wheel drive system…  

…not to mention the DOHC, 16-valve, turbocharged and intercooled Aurelio Lampredi 2-liter… this thing just didn’t “happen” to win 46 WRC races. It wasn’t just casually compared to the Porsche 959. No! It was widely considered to be one of the — if not THE — fastest over-the-road car in the world.

[Ok boomer, I guess 200 hp wasn’t so bad…] [OMG that flame! 😍] If you don’t know much about this legend, it’s because you played soccer as a kid… and didn’t call it football. We never got the Lancia Delta Integrale in the U.S.

In fact, with the exception of a fragile  and not particularly successful little Mazda, (the 323 GTX) we’ve never gotten a single homologation rally hatchback, ever. And in 2020, when we were all locked  away from our friends and family,   scared to death, learning what “Shelter in Place” meant, 😔

Toyota gave the world a glimmer of hope. Toyota dropped the  most exciting enthusiast car of the year and the most significant rally  homologation hatchback in decades. It was the GR Yaris. …a 257 horsepower turbocharged, three-cylinder, six-speed manual, limited-slip differential, two-door, all-wheel-drive BULGING BULLDOG OF HOPE!

The GR Yaris was conceived from the ground up to compete in the World Rally Championship as the Yaris WRC. …except of course the year was 2020 and  we all know what that means. [SUCKAGE.] Thanks to COVID, Toyota had to close up shop and abandon the entire rally project. Toyota killed off the WRC car…

…but said, “screw it!” and decided to make  the street-car anyway! …because this is so much more than just a homologation car: This was Toyota’s chance to prove to the world that it really did want to come back from lockdown, one of the cool kids.

The differences between the GR and a  regular Yaris might not be obvious at first, but   they’re outrageous — and the sort of thing that  manufacturers just won’t spend money on. because it doesn’t return a profit. For example, all Yarises are 5-doors, except the GR is a 3-door.

Its forged carbon roof tapers by 3.75 inches by the time it gets to the back, and that’s solely so it can send more air to the big WRC spoiler. The hood, the doors, and the tailgate are all aluminum. This weighs nothing. Its structure gets 259 additional welds and 48 additional feet of structural adhesive.

Like the big Delta, it’s 6 inches wider than the car it’s based on: for additional track width. And to that end, the GR Yaris uses the Corolla’s wider, fully independent rear suspension in place of the Yaris’s torsion beam. [See Yaris’ bulging rear wheel-flares? This is why.]

And of course it uses Toyota’s first (new) all-wheel drive system in more than two decades,   hooked up to the most powerful three-cylinder engine the world has ever seen. This is a dream come true! …and guess what? [What?] Right away, Toyota said it wasn’t coming to the U.S. Another COVID-year slap in the face. 🤬

And the reason was financial. If the Yaris was sold in America, the GR could be homologated for sale as a different VERSION of the Yaris, and it would cost “measly” tens of millions of dollars to do that.

But because the Yaris isn’t sold here in any form, getting the GR Yaris through certification in the U.S. would have cost Toyota hundreds of millions or even BILLIONS of dollars. [That is some Dr. Evil stuff right up in here.] And so, there was absolutely no way Toyota could afford to bring the GR Yaris here.

But in 2020, Toyota heard our cries — which was a small miracle given how loud all the coughing was. 😷 It took the GR Yaris’ 3-cylinder and bumped it up to 300 horsepower — another record! And then it yanked the Yaris’ transmission, all-wheel drive system, suspension, and brakes —

And swapped them all into a flared-out, carbon-roofed *VERSION* of a car that was already on sale in America: the Corolla hatch! And the first thing that we all want to know is… [COUGHING] NEGATIVE! I’m fine! What about you, sniffleuffugus? – Oh really?  – Yeah!

– Oh, hold on, wait a second… – Okay – Car keys, wait I got it! NEGATIVE! Okay, so the second thing that we all want to know is: Is the bigger, heavier Corolla as good as the smaller lighter Yaris? – I’m okay. – I hope so.

– I’m fine. [Randy needs to see a doctor, yo.] OMG we’re dead even, I’m pulling a little bit until I shift! All right, corner coming up — who’s gonna chicken out first? It’s Randy Pobst! They are dead even! I love how short these gears are! Can’t even hit 60 mph in second! Look!  

75 is max in third! You’re just constantly  shifting! This little 3-cylinder sounds so violent pulling all the way to 7000! …and the brake bite is magnificent! The Yaris is definitely outgripped by that Morizo Corolla GR.  

It’s got (Michelin Pilot Sport) Cup 2s and this just has a street tire. [Dunlop Sport Maxx, for the record.] Jason’s absolutely losing me! Look at him drive away! [Randy was VERY unhappy about this, lol.] This car is really stuck. It is not tail-happy. There’s so much hype about this all-wheel drive system  

Being able to put so much power to the back  that it can get the car to rotate, but nope. What it seems to do is just reduce the levels of understeer under power. It never makes it oversteer under power, and that’s what I really want.

And I think a lot of enthusiasts do too. [RANDY POBST FOR PRESIDENT!] Rotate on the way in, flick it! [Didn’t work.] Oh no, Randy’s gonna be making fun of me now. Calm down, Cammisa! You don’t have to rip the steering wheel off to turn in! Jeez !

But actually you do. [Watch Randy basically ripping the wheel off right here lol.] …because if you fling the Corolla (or the Yaris for that matter) into a corner like you’re trying to die, it rotates beautifully. What Randy and I are both saying is: it all ends when you get back on the gas.

[Straining like he’s pooping] Ooh these Cup 2s just put it down, oh my god there’s so much grip…. Look, if you’re trying to be clean, this thing is so fast. Finding a peer for this thing would be difficult. …but not impossible! The Honda Civic Type R is the front-wheel-drive performance benchmark.

It embodies everything we love about a hot hatch: It’s fast! It’s practical! …and a pleasure to row through the gears. It’s also HUGE! Huge? Jason, the Civic, is only 38 pounds heavier than the Corolla. I’ve seen you eat more pizza. A) yes. B) that was very good pizza,

C) …38 pounds more than the ALL-WHEEL-DRIVE GR Corolla! It has to put 315 hp to the ground. Not to mention 310 lb-ft of torque… all through the front wheels! [Randy coughing again.] This thing has absolutely no chance of putting any of its power down in first… you okay? -Yeah – First or second gears!

I’ll use third! Good idea! Really, are you okay though? -There’s only one thing that cures me! -What’s that? -Speed. Oh, all right, well then go set a lot of time in that and that — and I’m… I’m just gonna walk away. Great! How long have I got? 20 seconds! Why so long?

Typhoid Randy went out and set a lap in  every car we had on site. Lancia first, and the very-not-stock Deltona set a lap time of 1:27.09, which is a time the 30-year-newer Yaris couldn’t beat. Unlike the Lancia, this is actually stock, and it’s also the base-model GR Yaris,

Which means it comes with open differentials and performance tires that are not particularly performancey. Its time? A second and a quarter behind the Italian Legend. The GR Corolla didn’t have that problem. Without being any faster  in a straight line than the Yaris its limited-slip differentials and no-slip-at-all Cup 2 tires

Helped it absolutely slaughter its little brother, beating it by 5.4 SECONDS! 😳😳😳 ….making this Super Hatch the fastest hatchback we’ve ever seen around the Streets of Willow. …until Randy hopped into the Civic. The Civic Type R is an excellent front-drive. Maybe the best ever! But, man, is it frustrating coming out of the slow corners: wheelspin!

The suspension is really well-damped — excellent control! — but there’s not a lot of choice in the car’s attitude. It’s really dealing with varying degrees of understeer all the time. It might be even less attitude-adjustable than the all-wheel drive Toyotas, but it’s faster. The Honda beat even the Morizo by half a second,

Taking the crown of the fastest hatchback ever, becoming the fastest front-wheel drive car we’ve ever tested, and putting it in the same league as a Ferrari 458 Italia! [GOOD LORDT!] And then there was the Golf R. It’s not a wild ride, but it’s quick and refined; well balanced. Brakes, handling, power:

In all ways, it’s better than any Golf I can remember. In all ways of performance, that is. [Randy sustained 1st-degree burns on his hands from the idiotic capacitive steering-wheel controls turning on the heated wheel. Luckily, the minor burns cured him of COVID-19. #Science.]

…better than previous Golfs, but not even close to the Corolla and Civic. Don’t you dare scoff though because, look at where this Volkswagen slots in. [PLEASE EXCUSE THE TYPO ON THE MORIZO’S TIME 🤬 with just 315 hp it beats the 400-hp (manual-transmission) Nissan Z. [PLEASE EXCUSE THE TYPO ON THE MORIZO’S TIME] 🤬

Correct GR Corolla Morizo Lap Time Time: 1:22.94 The Golf might not be the fastest around the track but that’s due almost entirely to its less-aggressive tires. It’s brilliant. And it makes good on the unfulfilled sideways promise of the GR-Four’s all-wheel drive system. Like all front drive-based all-wheel drive  systems, the Golf R’s can’t decouple the front  

Axles from the engine. And like Toyota’s GR-Four system, it can’t overdrive the rear wheels. So, at most, it can send only 50% of  the engine’s torque to the back wheels. But it can send all of THAT torque to just one side,

And since the Golf R makes so much torque, it can easily overwhelm the outside-rear tire, giving us that sideways love that we love so much! This car can certainly maximize the  traction available at all four corners, but it just can’t overwhelm the rears.

Both these cars can get sideways on the way into a corner, sure, but transition back to power, and the Golf will keep the slide going. The Corolla can’t. Power oversteer wouldn’t really make this car faster, …but it sure would make me smile more. [D’aww, poor Jason.]

Then again, it’s not all about speed, because life isn’t about setting lap times on a dry race track. Some of life’s best moments are life’s wettest moments.   [RANDY FOR PRESIDENT AGAIN!] …like a hot tub. [Oh, nvm that’s not where I thought he was going with that… 🙈] …or like dancing in the rain.

…or a wet track! In low grip conditions, the GR-Four system can send enough power to the back for drifts and slides, …so long as you trail-brake the car to get it sideways and then add power. See? If you think about it, this kind of behavior makes perfect sense, because this is a rally-car AWD system.

On dry pavement, it just needs to put the power down… On loose gravel (rally stages) well, you get  it sideways on the way in and then power out a little bit sideways!  It’s really fast! And if you need help turning, GR-Four disables power to the rear wheels when you pull the e-brake.

And then it calls 9-1-1. [This is 100% real.] OPERATOR: “We have received an emergency notification from your vehicle. How may we help you?” I’m on a race track. OPERATOR: “Oh, okay! So you you don’t need emergency services? No ambulance or police, sir?” Please don’t call the police.

OPERATOR: “Be safe out there, okay?” Mmkay, so it turns out that when Subaru  makes a GR 86, everything’s fine. …when BMW makes a GR Supra, everything is fine. But when Toyota makes a GR Corolla, and its drivers drive like a GR driver, well, it calls the police. …again.

OPERATOR: “connecting you to an emergency response specialist.” [Again, 100% real.] Toyota gotta be Toyota. Look, this isn’t a comparison test, and the Yaris does have the WRC homologation gold card, but I gotta say something: the Corolla’s got a better shifter;

A nicer interior; it’s just as quick in a straight line; and it’s way faster around a track. The Corolla does a bunch of things better but nothing worse; it’s kind of the better car. Plus I’d like for you to name another four-door car that only has two seats. This is a model of practicality!

It’s basically a miniature cargo van! It’s also proof that Toyota’s lost its goddamn mind — and you and I benefit from that insanity! By the way, of course the Corolla is available with a back seat — and this is a GR Corolla Circuit Edition, so it has a back seat. And it has shiny gray paint!

And unfortunately this one has a clutch so fried that we couldn’t even get to the racetrack to get you a lap time. [Some schmucks destroyed the clutch before we got it.] But I’ve driven one of these things, and they’re almost as good as the Morizo.

I gotta say though, of all three cars it’s the Moriizo that’s where it’s at. [Too bad you can’t get it with rear seats.] Our very limited-edition Morizo earns its very  expensive price tag by including not just extra   external bracing like those where the back seat  would have been, but 349 additional chassis welds

Versus the base Corolla — more than it took to turn a regular Yaris into the GR Yaris. Plus forged wheels, Cup 2 tires, and that outrageously short gearing. But the most important thing about the Morizo is where its name came from.

Morizo is the fake name used by Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda when he went racing, so that nobody would actually know it was him. Kind of like how I use the name, “Discount Sandler” so nobody knows I’m actually… nobody.

For the last decade, Mr. Toyoda has promised a disbelieving world that he wouldn’t rest until people stopped describing Toyota cars as boring. His first attempt? Well, it’s fun, but that is  a lopsided joint development with Subaru. The second attempt is a monster — but that is a BMW with a Toyota badge on it.

That’s not exactly the best way for the world’s largest car manufacturer to prove its sporting mettle: by rebadging other people’s cars. And then 2020 happened. And just as you would have never believed you’d be disinfecting your groceries, the GR Yaris dropped. 100% Toyota. 100% Legend. And now we have the GR Corolla. 100% Legend. Instantly.

And if you think Morizo-san was joking, just look at the new Prius! It is 🔥 — unlike the previous four generations, which we all just wanted to light on fire. Mr. Toyoda kept his promise. Like the GR 86, the Supra, and (I can’t believe I’m saying this) the Prius, Toyotas are suddenly anything but boring.

In fact, the GR Corolla is the opposite of boring. It’s not just supercar-fast around a track. It’s not just unexpectedly outrageous. It’s a genuinely special and fun car to interact with — at, or especially below, its limit. And that is really important. We’ve all just survived a worldwide pandemic.

Life is too short — and it’s too fragile — to not prioritize being silly. Who knew Toyota would be trying — and succeeding — at putting a smile on our faces? After all, fun is the real cure. Especially when everyone else seems to be taking life far too seriously.

[Uh oh, the idiot just said “seriously” again.] [Cue the pig and the bush for… OUTTAKES!]