Once more with feel­ing

No white­goods — the new Corolla rings in the changes

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­guide.com.au

YOU’RE look­ing at Aus­tralia’s next top car.

It’s the all-new Toy­ota Corolla, just re­vealed in Ja­pan and a dead-set cer­tainty for No.1 sales sta­tus in Aus­tralia next year.

The Holden Com­modore is fad­ing fast, the Mazda3 was Aus­tralia’s favourite last year but has been trounced four times this year by Toy­ota’s HiLux. And now comes the Corolla. It has a to­tally new look that’s al­most un-Corolla, is promised with driv­ing dy­nam­ics in­spired by the 86 sports car that’s early favourite for this year’s Cars­guide Car of the Year award, and will be priced right on the cru­cial $20,000 value point in lo­cal show­rooms.

It com­bines a greener 1.8-litre petrol engine with a big­ger 360-litre boot and more cabin space. Qual­ity is up, al­though a con­tin­u­ously vari­able gear­box – not a Cars­guide favourite – takes over as the au­to­matic to im­prove ef­fi­ciency.

Toy­ota should have no prob­lem find­ing 3500 new own­ers each month for the Corolla next year, and closer to 4000 is even pos­si­ble if the car works as planned.

‘‘ It re­ally de­pends, fi­nally, on the price and spec­i­fi­ca­tion of the car. Frankly, that’s still be­ing de­bated at the mo­ment,’’ ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of sales and mar­ket­ing Matt Cal­la­chor says.

The 11th gen­er­a­tion of the world’s all-time best seller is a make-or-break car as Toy­ota faces grow­ing com­pe­ti­tion on all fronts, es­pe­cially from Hyundai and Kia.

First pic­tures of the new Corolla carry an Auris badge be­cause they are a tease ahead of the world pre­view next month at the Paris mo­tor show. Toy­ota will head­line the car a month later at the Aus­tralian In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show in Sydney.

Inside, the dash is smoother, the auto picks up the trendy blue gear­knob from the Prius hy­brid, and the seats have ecofriendly fab­rics with thin­ner backs to boost legroom.

Me­chan­i­cally, Toy­ota talks of a lower cen­tre of grav­ity to im­prove han­dling, as well as the use of wish­bone rear sus­pen­sion in a class where most ri­vals have some­thing with less tech­nol­ogy and cor­ner­ing grip.

‘‘ The 86 was part of a change that’s go­ing right through Toy­ota. Ev­ery­thing is un­der a microscope and the new Corolla is part of that,’’ Cal­la­chor says.

He con­firms the Corolla for Aus­tralia will be built in Ja­pan. The cur­rent bot­tom line is a com­pet­i­tive $20,990.

‘‘ I’d rather set it at a rea­son­able level. The Corolla won’t be priced through the roof,’’ Cal­lo­chor says.

‘‘ The new cars will start be­ing de­liv­ered from Novem­ber. The cur­rent car is at the twi­light of its ca­reer. We could crank the sales rate up if we dis­counted heav­ily. But we’re not go­ing to do that.’’

In­spired by the 86: The next Corolla has a to­tal­lynewlook

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