Due to the Covid-19 lock-down in SA, the launch of the 12th Generation Toyota Corolla was a little muted, but I drove the car over 7 days, and really enjoyed my experience. Touted as the world’s best-selling automotive nameplate, – first launched in 1966 – the Corolla has captured the global automotive market and gone on to become a household name the world over.
The adoption of the TNGA (GA-C) platform provides an innovative base on which to build the latest iteration of the company’s compact sedan.
Visually the new Corolla sedan is impressive, it came in a Dark Blue metallic colour that really looked great in the Winter sun. The front bumper employs a large trapezoidal lower grille, with black-moulded border and large mesh pattern. The arrow-shaped LED headlamps, with integrated DRL elements, flow towards the centrally-mounted Toyota emblem, surrounded by a slim-line upper grille element – enhancing visual aggressiveness.
The Corolla offers more outside visibility, due to tweaks in the design of the B-pillar. The short roofline and sloping C-pillar convey a sense of motion, while the short rear overhang adds to the dynamic presence. The compact LED taillights feature a bi-colour design, sharp outer edging and dark border – which extends to the centre of the boot lid, linking the left and right sides.
A black trapezoidal rear-bumper insert and outwardly-mounted vertical reflectors add to its powerful stance. The rear bumper also features integrated aero-stabilising fins, to smooth airflow from the wheel arches.
In the Cabin.
The new Corolla sedan adopts the same interior design as its hatch sibling, featuring an elegantly simple design, reduced upper-panel height, soft-touch finishes and brushed metal accent strips. In sedan execution, blue contrast stitching adds an air of sportiness and harmonises with blue illumination for the switchgear and instrument panel.
A revised front seat design with elegant ribbed pattern and bucket-like profile lends a premium feel to the cabin. A new-age synthesized fabric called RezatecTM is used, offering the comfort of fabric with the premium feel of leather. The high-grade (XR) model offers a choice of sporty blue or classic grey accent trim colours. The cabin is more quiet due to generous sound proofing application. The cabin feels roomy, and the Corolla seems to have added length.
Additional geometry changes have been applied to the suspension arm and bush structures, in order to achieve quicker shock absorber response and minimise the transmission of shock forces from rough surfaces and achieve high-quality ride comfort. The newly developed multi-link rear suspension features compact packaging and exclusively-designed coil springs, which offer both handling stability and ride comfort.
The XR version we drove comes with a 2.0L ‘Dynamic Force’ TNGA engine (as first seen on RAV4) which ups the ante to 125kW and 200Nm – with a strong focus on fuel efficiency. It came with a ‘10-speed’ Shiftmatic CVT. The CVT can be prone to what we call ‘’hunting’’ in laymans terms, gearing down a lot, and this model was no different, but better than other brands we have driven. It appears to be the way many manufacturers go with gearboxes, and we need to get used to that characteristic.
Fuel consumption for the 2.0-litre CVT at a claimed 6.0 l/100 km.
Two Grades, Three Models
We drove the flagship model which serves as the flagship and is available exclusively with the new 2.0-litre Dynamic Force engine with a choice of 6-speed manual or 10-speed Shiftmatic CVT. It has 18 inch alloy wheels.
The new Corolla sedan delivers on both the tech and convenience fronts, with the inclusion of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and touchscreen interface, which is a must in this modern World we are in. Climate control with Eco mode, a reverse camera, power seat adjustment, one-touch functionality for the electric windows, keyless entry, tilt & telescopic steering adjustment, steering switches and cruise control all feature on the spec’ list. XR models feature an auto-dimming rear view mirror too.
Two levels of Multi-information Display (MID) systems are utilised. The XR variant employes a large 7” MID system with digital speedometer.
Safety and Sensibility
On the safety front the Corolla certainly delivers. All models feature seven airbags, ISOFIX, active electronic safety aids (ABS, EBD, BAS, VSC, HAC) and an impact absorbing bodyshell. The flagship XR grade receives Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) – a full complement of active driver aids. The XR also receives an upgrade to Bi-LED headlamps.
This suite combines Pre-collision system, blind spot monitor, all-speed cruise control, automatic high-beam and Lane Trace Assist – conveniently operated via steering switches or the multi-information display.
Model Line-up and Pricing
Corolla 1.8 XS CVT – R 380 200
Corolla 2.0 XR 6MT – R 420 500
Corolla 2.0 XR CVT – R 433 700
Warranty & Service
All Corolla models include a 6-services/90 000 km service plan with service intervals pegged at 15 000 km/12-months. A 3 year/100 000 km warranty is also included.
The Corolla is enjoyable to drive, and the new vision from Toyota is not just about the Corolla being a family car, but about there being a Toyota model for every sector of the family, from entry, through mid, to SUV and premium models, all offered with the peace of mind Motoring, that driving a Toyota provides.