Best-selling Corolla gets nip, tuck
After 52 years and 45 million cars, the Toyota Corolla powers along as the biggest selling car of all time.
Almost 1.5 million of those global sales have been Down Under and the just-superseded model has been the top-selling passenger car here for years.
Toyota Australia has every intention of keeping the Corolla at the head of the pack in this country and the 12th-generation car has just been launched here.
The Japanese giant is pushing harder than ever on hybrids, hardly a surprise when you consider it has been selling these petrol-electric models here for close to 20 years. And that Toyota hybrids recently won one of the toughest of all car races, the famed LeMans 24-Hour.
The new Corolla hatch is based on the modular Toyota New Global Architecture and has a 60 per cent more rigid body and uses a sophisticated suspension that’s complemented by the body having a lower centre of gravity.
At this stage, only the Corolla hatch is being sold and the local importer will neither confirm nor deny that a sedan will be offered later.
There’s a sleek semi-sporty look to the new Corolla. The grille is large and slightly closer to vertical than before, while the tail has a steeper slope.
Inside there’s a non-symmetrical shape to the dashboard similar to that we have praised in the new Toyota Camry.
The overall effect is good though, surprisingly, not as striking as that of the new Toyota Camry to our eyes. Corolla Ascent Sport has an 8.0-inch touchscreen display and a 4.2-inch multi-info display.
Satellite navigation is a $1000 option on the Ascent Sport and standard on other models.
A new design 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine delivers 21 per cent more power and torque (125kW/15 200Nm) than the outgoing 1.8-lite unit.
Also new is what Toyota calls a Direct Shift continuously variable transmission (CVT) with clever engineering that gives it nice punch off the line that is useful in day-to-day suburban driving. It has three driving modes — Eco, Normal and Sport.
There’s the option of a six-speed manual in some models but it’s not likely to be chosen by many as ours is rapidly becoming an auto-only market. However, rev-matching makes this manual simple to drive in heavy traffic conditions
Corolla’s improved hybrid system is lighter and more compact than before and its 1.8-litre Atkinson Cycle petrol engine has a very high 13.0:1 compression ratio.
Combined petrol-electric output is 90kW and fuel consumption is listed at just 4.2 litres/100km. Sold across the range, hybrid variants are priced at only $1500 over the equivalent petrol models.
Every new Corolla hatch is covered by Toyota Service Advantage capped-price servicing at a maximum of $140 a service. Contact your selling dealer for details.
There is a sleek semi-sporty look to the new 12th-generation Toyota Corolla.