There’s a bright future for Toyota and this New rather good British built Corolla should lighten the Brexit gloom along with the New long-awaited New Supra later in the year.
For many Toyota is not a brand to get too excited about, maybe a blast in a GT86 or a bit of perilous offroading in a Land Cruiser would change that opinion. The world’s best selling car the Toyota Corolla is back, this time following a massive 11 generations of cars which started in 1966. All, largely ignored by myself, this time the New Corolla is something different, more dynamic and special than before. The world’s best selling nameplate has returned and this time I will remember it.
The New Corolla Hatchback and Touring Sports will be built in the UK for now, with some engine production in North Wales, the saloon will be built in Turkey.
Hybrid is the answer, Toyota already big on hybrid power trains is predicting a massive 98% share of the sales of this to the Hybrid versions.
The new Corolla is available with a choice of hybrid powertrains and a 1.2-litre petrol engine. There are three body styles a hatchback, saloon and an estate Touring Wagon.
At the European Media Launch in Majorca, it was quite an exciting event for the launch of this new car. I don’t use the word exciting for a car like this often, Jeremy Clarkson has been known for dubbing the Corolla the ‘white goods’ of the car world. This time I can assure you it is not so.
This dynamic New Global Corolla blows that description away. The Corolla nameplate has not been on sale in the UK for 12 years and now the Toyota brand has re-set the bar pretty high. the C-segment is hotting up and Toyota is striving for more than a healthy slice of pie.
At the launch, we drove all three model variants of the car, all rather good looking. After driving the cars extensively over two days, I can’t say that there was one I preferred over another. The hatchback was …as you’d expect possibly the best seller in the range and open up sales of the Corolla name to a gazillion new buyers. The saloon was a very good looking car as we tailed it for a while on the winding Majorcan roads it is quite a looker from the back. The Tourer or estate as it may be known in the UK is a highly practical and very attractive version, with a choice of two interior colourways black and a very light beige.
The styling is focused on lower, wider and more dynamic in looks and drive the result of the extra freedom Toyota’s designers have had with the new TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform.
Leaving Palma airport in the hatchback it was clear, Toyota engineers clearly mean business with the 4-5 years development that has gone in. Much of the ride and handling of the New Corolla has been developed on Europe’s roads with some of the styling also from the Toyota European design centres.
Firstly we drove the hatchback, the 1.8-litre hybrid, the lions share of sales will go to this model. Performance is reasonable, but it is spoiled slightly by the harsh engine sound, fuel economy is very good however with up to 48mpg being easily achievable. The dynamic nature of the new car made for quite an engaging to drive on the Spanish roads, sharp steering and fun to drive attitude that I wasn’t really expecting from this car.
Next, we went The new 2.0-litre hybrid is a result of the response to customer demand. Just a bit more power and performance but keeping the impressive numbers on fuel and emissions. The added refinement with the 2.0-litre model is noticeable and the useable paddle shift is useful for quick manoeuvres. The 2.0-litre is only slightly more expensive and is the best of the powertrains available
The New Corolla interior has a touch of flair, well proportioned, roomy and well put together. The touchy-feely parts of the dash feel good, easy to clean harder plastics are still used in places. The connectivity and overall dashboard treatment in functional, attractive and relatively intuitive in its operation. Possibly on the downside for some is the absence of Apple Car Play or Android Auto, these systems for many are the must-have of in-car tech, it is understood that Apple Car play may be rolled out cars later this year.
The Corolla is equipped with Toyota Sense a suite of safety tech included as a class-leading package. The package consists of a pre-collision system, adaptive cruise control, lane trace assist, auto high beam, road sign assist and intelligent clearance sonar.
The new Toyota Corolla is an impressive addition to the C-segment. As the popularity of Hybrid hits mega growth mode. There is a small negative about the car, the engine note from the Hybrid in combination with CVT transmission can sound thrashy and a tad unpleasant especially under acceleration, slightly reminiscent of a computer game. With all the trickery being added into premium cars it is something that I am sure could be addressed and make the noise less intrusive.
Overall I am excited about the New Corolla, it deserves success, the hybrid systems Toyota is renowned for in the Prius and other models are well proven, it’s great to drive, well put together and it will find many buyers. The PCP deals from Toyota are quite considerable and well worth a look.
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The man from Drive.co.uk
After many, many years of being passionate about cars, spending too much money on cars and too much time driving. I now spend my time running and developing Drive.co.uk and creating a bold expressive new motoring lifestyle website along with some very good writers.
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