Got to drive the world’s best-selling automotive nameplate, namely the Toyota Corolla, which is quite some accolade and no mean feat either. First launched in 1966, it 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, and moving it from strength to strength.
The new Corolla sedan is good looking, and features a highly expressive design, adopting the same front-end treatment as the Corolla Hatch (with minor variation) and featuring a prominent lower apron, sculpted headlights and flowing three-box design.
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.
Toyota are under instructions from the head of Toyota to build exciting cars.
It has a shortish roofline and a sloping C-Pillar which give it a coupe kind of look, whatever it is, it looks quite dynamic. 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. I had the dark blue colour which looked great in the Spring sunshine.
I drove the 2.0 L XR variant, which is top of range, and the interior is pretty well appointed. The sporty blue leather with grey accents trim colours is very elegant, and features the reduced upper-panel height, soft-touch finishes and brushed metal accent strips.
Use of extensive dampening materials and a triple layered dash area lends itself to a more quiet cabin. Handling and agility are further improved by the lower mounting height of the engine and lower hip point of the seats. In combination, these measures have lowered the new Corolla’s centre of gravity by some 10 mm.
The newly developed multi-link rear suspension features compact packaging and exclusively-designed coil springs, which offer both handling stability and ride comfort.
We had the 2.0 L ‘Dynamic Force’ TNGA engine (as first seen on RAV4) which ups the ante to 125kW and 200Nm – with a strong focus on fuel efficiency. Two transaxle options exist here, a 6-speed manual or ‘10-speed’ Shiftmatic CVT. The CVT is better than most, but still occasionally does some ‘’hunting’’ for gears. However, fuel consumption was very good at around 6.0 l/100 km which is a huge bonus in today’s trying times.
XR models receive ultra-stylish turbine-shaped 18” alloy wheels outfitted with 225-40-R18 tyres. The new Corolla sedan delivers on both the tech and convenience fronts, with the inclusion of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and touchscreen interface. 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.
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.
I enjoyed my drive in the Corolla XR, it really seems to making it’s presence felt again, and with the new Toyota direction of a Toyota for each generation, the brand seems to continue to be on top.