Toyota Corolla - The bestseller gets better

Toyota Corolla - The bestseller gets better

The new Corolla sedan is fully engaging

Mid-stage prototypes of the new Corolla.

Mid-stage prototypes of the new Corolla.

Following the reveal of the hatchback at the 2018 Geneva motor show and the touring sports at the Paris show later in the year, the sedan is the third body type to join the 12th generation Toyota Corolla model line-up.

The new Corolla family is designed to fulfil differing customer needs: from the compact hatchback for young couples, to the versatile touring sports for families, and the comfortable sedan aimed at young professionals.

The Corolla has sold more than 46 million units in over 150 countries since its introduction in 1966. But why are we suddenly talking about Corolla again? Had this not been replaced with the introduction of the Auris back in 2010? Quite right – however to coincide with the introduction of the Toyota new global architecture, Toyota has decided to revert to the Corolla nameplate.

With a brand new 2.0-litre self-charging hybrid powertrain joining the engine line-up, the new 2018 Corolla model range also marks the debut of Toyota’s dual hybrid strategy. After 20 years of hybrid leadership and more than 12 million global sales, including 1.5 million units in Europe, the company has also focused on the input of potential customers who want more power while driving a hybrid.

For this reason, Toyota has decided to offer its core models with a choice of two hybrid powertrains, one offering all the fourth generation hybrid system’s strengths, including improved response and linearity, and the traditional benefits of fuel efficiency and a relaxing drive, and the second building on these strengths with greater power on demand, effortless acceleration and more dynamic, fun-to-drive characteristics.

Reflecting the brand’s continued focus on self-charging hybrid technology, all three versions of the new Corolla will offer customers just one conventional engine: a 116hp 1.2-litre turbo petrol unit and a choice of 122hp, 1.8-litre or 180hp, 2.0-litre self-charging hybrid powertrains. Toyota new global architecture represents the foundation for all of Toyota’s future powertrain and vehicle development, bringing a new-found consistency to driving feel across the entire Toyota model range. More of an entire philosophy than mere platform, TNGA marks a revolution in the way the company designs, engineers and manufactures vehicles. 

The new Corolla range’s TNGA GA-C platform guarantees a more rewarding driving experience thanks to a centre of gravity that is lowered by 10mm, multi-link rear suspension fitted as standard across the model range, and a 60 per cent more rigid body shell through the use of high strength steel as reinforcement in key areas. These all contribute to better handling and stability without compromising ride and comfort.

All-new TNGA-based vehicles prioritise the highest active and passive safety standards. The new Corolla is designed to meet the exacting standards of independent crash testing programmes and provide increased active safety levels.

The new Corolla adopts a significantly more sporting, dynamic and distinctive design with more striking frontal styling. The vehicle is light and agile in the side view, yet towards the rear, the architecture transforms to create a solid, wide and low stance that is critical to the European market.

Thanks to the adoption of TNGA, the new wagon is no longer merely a variation of the hatchback, but has become a distinctly separate model in its own right. Though it shares the same dynamic, distinctive frontal styling and 25mm reduction in overall height as the new Corolla hatchback, every body panel of the new touring sports from the B pillar aft is exclusive to the model, giving the wagon the refined, sensuous appearance and sweeping roof-line of an elegant yet robust shooting brake.

The sedan features the same wide and low stance, however its own individuality within the Corolla family is reflected in a more prestigious exterior design with unique front and rear styling. The new Corolla model range showcases an all-new interior designed to create a spacious, modern and cohesive cabin environment in which new textures, colours and trim combine to offer the highest levels of visual and tactile quality.

Particular attention has been paid to the interior of the touring sports version, which has been specifically tailored to the European market. A revised front-seat design features changes to both the seat back and cushion springs and the optimisation of urethane pad thickness. In combination these measures achieve a better driving posture with wider pressure dispersal for enhanced comfort. The ergonomic excellence of the driver’s cockpit area is further enhanced by a range of new switchgear and instrumentation.

In combination with the extended couple distance for greater legroom, the rear seats have also been revised, with a new seat cushion material for the more even distribution of occupant weight over the cushion area. As a standard feature, the rear seats may be lowered by remote lever operation for a fully flat load space.

Largely fitted as standard on high grade models and available as an option throughout the new Corolla model range, a comprehensive range of comfort and convenience technology is available to enhance life on board for both the driver and all cabin occupants.

Particular attention has been paid to enhancing the convenience of the Corolla touring sports’ load space, which features a reversible, two position deck board fitted as standard throughout the range, the world’s first LED lighting and, on high grade versions, an aluminium anti-slide rail. 

The Corolla models I tested where actually mid-stage prototypes which are close to final version of the car but still requiring some further fine-tuning. This being said, the Corolla is a genuinely enjoyable car to drive, gripping the road and controlling its body movements very well, and giving the driver the feedback to know what the front wheels are doing. It is reassuring and genuinely engaging.

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