The GR Corolla steers more sharply than the WRX and the engine responds more quickly. The TIE-fighter styling is matched by its agility and the trick centre differential allows for some very tail-happy antics.
Everything about this little hatchback feels lightly deranged. It’s less stable under braking than rivals from Honda and Hyundai and it offers far less practical space than the WRX. You can even order a version lacking the rear seats. This basic Core model also costs 40% more than the entry-level WRX.
It’s wonderful and silly and only very slightly quicker than the lighter, smaller GR Yaris. Yet seeing that the GR Corolla isn’t actually that much more practical than the three-door sold in the UK, I’m not so sure the decision to have a single GR hatchback for either market was an unkind move on Toyota’s part.
Nissan Z vs Subaru WRX vs Toyota GR Corolla: Verdict
Of the two rally-bred family cars, only the GR Corolla moves the needle enough to be truly lusted after. The latest WRX is a fine Swiss Army knife of a vehicle for its use here, especially as 92% of British Columbia’s 500,000 miles of roads are unpaved. It’s a well-priced tool for camping and commuting – but Subaru’s best performance efforts can already be found on UK roads.
And swapping the GR Yaris for a larger, slightly more pragmatic version would be a fool’s bargain. A homologation special sold new out of a dealership is a very special thing in this day and age, and the smaller, lighter GR Yaris is better suited for the UK’s B-roads.
Which brings us to the Z , Nissan’s petrol sports car swansong. While its age and weight count against the Z, its throwback appeal can’t be dismissed. Were it available in the UK, it would be nimble enough for a B-road blitz, powerful enough for any jaunt to the continent and just massively appealing from both the outside and the driver’s seat. If there is any pan-Atlantic green-eyed jealousy to be felt here, it’s for the Fairlady.
First place: Nissan Z Sport