Best-sell­ing Corolla gets nip, tuck

Albany Extra - - Motoring - Ewan Kennedy

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.

Pic­ture: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

There is a sleek semi-sporty look to the new 12th-gen­er­a­tion Toy­ota Corolla.

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