Eco hatch has no match
The petrol-electric version of Toyota’s top-seller puts Prius in the shade
THE world’s favourite hybrid is copping a kicking this year in Australia. The Toyota Prius is being outsold more than fourto-one — by a surprising rival that sits right across the showroom.
Australia’s new hybrid hero is the Toyota Corolla, which has attracted more than 800 buyers in less than six months.
Hybrids are still battling for support, with overall sales showing a double-digit decline from 2015, but the Corolla shows a potential way forward for the petrol-electric contenders.
It has the right badge, is reasonably well priced, uses less fuel, ticks the green box and delivers the rest of the familiar Corolla package.
Toyota has contrived to engineer the Corolla conversion without compromising boot space for the on-board batteries, although it’s 100kg heavier than the petrol contender and the price jumps from $19,790 for the base model to $26,990, although you get more gear.
The price is way tastier than other Toyota hybrids. The Prius starts at $35,690, the smaller Prius C costs $23,450 and the Prius V wagon peaks at $45,380.
The hybrid Corolla has been around for years in Europe wearing the Auris moniker.
The hybrid package is one of those same-same but different deals, as it gets different pieces from the Corolla parts bin.
For a start, it’s the only Corolla with independent rear suspension and Euro tuning. The interior trim and alloys are from the Ascent Sport but the rest of the deal is more like the $29,570 ZR flagship including satnav, LED headlamps and push-button start.