Toyota’s Corolla has long been a Kiwi favourite, and shows no signs of stopping, as Sean Willmot found out in Toyota Town – Palmerston North.
This sentence took me fifteen seconds to type. In that time, other than proving I would suck as a personal secretary, somewhere around the world someone bought a Toyota Corolla. Read that top sentence again… ding! Another Corolla sold. And here’s another astounding fact: since 1966 – when Corolla was first launched – one in every five cars sold around the world has a Corolla, which makes for a total 44.1 million Corollas sold since 1966. We’re looking at the 12th generation of the Corolla and – while we may not have had a vast input into Corollas around the rest of the world, its fair to say we did play a part in its local development. Back in 1983, Corolla was in generation 5 and a New Zealand designer, Ms Jan Beck co ordinated the interior colours of the Corolla while Formula One racing driver Chris Amon tuned the suspension. While Beck and Amon are no longer with us, (passed away in 2012 and 2016 respectively), their input into the Corolla’s Kiwi history will likely outlive the Corolla itself. After all, here we are at generation 12 Corolla, and the input of our two Kiwi legends is still being spoken about, not without reverence either. So, with the requisite acknowledgement in place, what can we tell you about the latest Corolla? Well, before we get to the what makes Corolla 2019 tick, it’s worth looking at a couple of aspects of where Corolla sells and to whom in New Zealand. It has for example been in the top three Small to Medium private sales from 2010 to 2018 and has predominantly led the market in this segment. In the Small to Medium government sector, Corolla has conclusively been the number one car for 2010 to 2018. One last one: Small to Medium top three rental models for 201 to 2018, want to guess? Yep, Corolla by a huge majority. And let’s not even go into the used import market. Which brings us to the current generation 12 – what’s new? The Corolla now shares the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform as the Prius and the C-HR with a lower centre of gravity and an all new rear and revised front suspension for improved handling. There’s now an expanded line-up with three conventional petrol engines (no diesels) and two hybrids. Under the bonnet of the conventionally-fuelled Corollas is a two-litre engine with direct and port injection dual variable valve timing and intelligent variable valve timing to enhance output and efficiency running through a 10-speed CVT automatic. The hybrids run a 1.8 litre-petrol engine with two generators for electric only drive, combined petrol and electric drive and to generate electricity for recharging the battery. And yes, while the hybrids command a slight price premium, the reality is that the premium is not so high. The GX hybrid for example is only $500 over the price of the SX petrol (a grade higher than the GX) and the ZR hybrid $1000 over the ZR petrol. Considering what you’ll save in fuel, well, you can work out the math according to your driver’s consumption figures. While the hybrid tech is certainly a Corolla highpoint, new Corolla has been imbued with comprehensive safety systems, and it is these systems – combined with the high level of comfort and convenience features in the contemporary interior which will secure Corolla’s ongoing future. Wrapped up in a bundle referred to as the Toyota Safety Sense package, systems include autonomous emergency braking, dynamic radar cruise control and automatic high beam lights along with a pre-crash safety system. This is similar to the TSSP onboard Camry, but for Corolla, includes Lane Tracing Assist and Road Sign Assist. LTA replaces the previous system and allows steering assist, vehicle sway warning and lane centering in addition to providing warnings. The road sign assistance system displays current road speeds to the driver, a more useful function than many might think. Naturally, safety systems like reversing cameras, stability control, traction control, brake assist, ABS and EBD and seven airbags are standard across the range. Pricing : GX 2.0 Petrol Hatch CVT $29,990 SX 2.0 Petrol Hatch CVT $32,490 ZR 2.0 Petrol Hatch CVT $37,490 GX 1.8 Hybrid Hatch E-CVT $32,990 ZR 1.8 Hybrid Hatch E-CVT $38,490