Once more with feeling
No whitegoods — the new Corolla rings in the changes
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