Toy­ota Corolla Hy­brid re­view

Alpine Observer - - Motor Guide -

SAFETY In ad­di­tion to stan­dard safety fea­tures ( seven airbags, en­hanced ABS brakes, sta­bil­ity and trac­tion con­trol) all Corolla mod­els get the Toy­ota Safety Sys­tem which in­cludes au­tonomous emer­gency brak­ing; emer­gency brake as­sist; pedes­trian and cy­clist de­tec­tion; ac­tive cruise con­trol; lane depar­ture alert; and lane trace as­sist which, for the inat­ten­tive driver, pro­vides steer­ing as­sist when nec­es­sary to en­sure the car stays in the lane.

There’s also au­to­matic high/low beam, re­vers­ing cam­era, hill-start as­sist and Isofix child seat anchor points in the two outer rear seats. A first for any Toy­ota model in Aus­tralia is a wind­screen-mounted cam­era that recog­nises speed-limit signs.

SX and ZR add a blind spot mon­i­tor and satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion with ZR also get­ting a colour head-up dis­play. IN­FO­TAIN­MENT All mod­els get a cen­trally-mounted 8-inch touch­screen op­er­ated ei­ther through large but­tons or voice recog­ni­tion. A new fea­ture called Mira­cast al­lows smart­phone screens to be du­pli­cated onto the touch­screen.

As­cent Sport and SX get six-speaker au­dio, ZR steps up to an eight-speaker JBL pre­mium sys­tem. Satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion with SUNA live traf­fic is stan­dard on SX and ZR.

At this stage nei­ther Ap­ple CarPlay nor An­droid Auto are avail­able but can be ex­pected with the next up­grade. DRIV­ING The more we drive SUVs the more we ap­pre­ci­ate be­ing able to en­ter cars with­out scrap­ing our age­ing heads on the top of the door open­ing so we found the low stance a bit an­noy­ing. Once set­tled in though the seats are com­fort­able and sup­port­ive.

The MY2018 Corolla comes from the new mod­u­lar global architecture that’s grad­u­ally be­ing used across many of the Toy­ota ranges. It in­creases body rigid­ity by 60 per cent, lower cen­tre of grav­ity and multi-link rear sus­pen­sion; this is fi­nally a Corolla that can be re­ally fun to drive. This is in­creas­ingly im­por­tant for Toy­ota in its on­go­ing bat­tle with Mazda3 and Hyundai i30.

The dom­i­nant fea­ture of hy­brid ve­hi­cles is fuel ef­fi­ciency but the ben­e­fit of bat­tery power is that it also pro­vides ex­tra low-rev torque for faster take-off. Al­ter­na­tively, with some light pedal pressure, you can tra­verse your lo­cal su­per­mar­ket carpark in si­lence, be­ing on the alert for un­ob­ser­vant pedes­tri­ans.

There’s ex­cel­lent vi­sion all round and sharp ac­cel­er­a­tion for safe ur­ban ma­noeu­vring.

On the open road new Corolla feels like a car the next size up, which it ef­fec­tively is. It cruised through the hilly mo­tor­way seg­ment of our test route with­out any stress and with lit­tle of the hunt­ing that can plague CVTs thanks to the in­clu­sion of a torque con­verter. Steer­ing is nicely weighted and re­spon­sive with safe and de­pend­able cor­ner­ing.

Although it’s far from be­ing a per­for­mance car there is a sportier feel to the lat­est Corolla than in pre­vi­ous mod­els.

Dur­ing our pe­riod with the test car it clocked up fuel con­sump­tion of 4.5 litres per 100 kilo­me­tres on a mix of sub­ur­ban and mo­tor­way driv­ing, com­pared to the of­fi­cial fig­ure of 4.1 un­der sim­i­lar con­di­tions. That of­fi­cial fuel con­sump­tion of 4.1 litres com­pares with 6.1 litres per 100 kilo­me­tres for au­to­matic Corolla pure petrol hatches. SUM­MING UP Corolla Hy­brid of­fers ex­cel­lent value with prices rang­ing from $25,870 to $31,870 or just $1500 above those of the equiv­a­lent petrol-only mod­els.

For these prices you get a great look­ing small car with a large range of both safety and con­ve­nience fea­tures. And one that’s now fun to drive.

Toy­ota con­tin­ues to buck the in­creas­ing war­ranty trend by stick­ing to the old stan­dard of three years / 100,000 kilo­me­tres.

With buy­ers steadily aban­don­ing large fam­ily cars Corolla Hy­brid is an ideal al­ter­na­tive – small and eco­nom­i­cal enough for city com­mut­ing but large enough for long-dis­tance fam­ily hol­i­day travel.

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