• All-new hatchback brings back a legendary name
• Striking exterior and interior
• TNGA platform chassis for ride quality and handling
• Flexible, efficient 1.2-litre turbocharged engine
• Host of active and passive safety features
With the all-new Toyota Corolla hatch, one of the most successful model names in automotive history makes a striking return.
Replacing the Auris name badge in South Africa, the Corolla recalls a memorable history in this country – mostly with sedan models but also the Corolla Conquest and Avante variants of the 80s and 90s. Toyota SA says: "This new hatchback builds on its predecessors celebrated qualities of contemporary design, driving dynamics and efficiency."
On the road
That TNGA platform is the foundation for Toyota’s future powertrain and vehicle development and the version of this modular platform employed in the Corolla is designated the GA-C. Toyota SA says: "With it, the GA-C brings considerable dynamic handling benefits to the new Corolla range, thanks to it being both being torsionally stiffer (by 60%) and lighter, as well as offering a lower centre of gravity."
The new multil-ink rear suspension mean there is less intrusion in the loadspace, allowing for an increase in load volume. Handling, stability, steering response and ride comfort are improved.
Under the bonnet is a 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbopetrol engine that delivers 85kW/185Nm through either a 6-speed manual or a new 10-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
The engine is the same power unit found in the Toyota C-HR and it is good for a brisk 0 to 100 km/h of 9.5 seconds for the manual (10.4 for CVT) and the top speed of 200 km/h (190 for CVT). Fuel consumption has been pegged at 6.1 litres per 100km for both manual and CVT variants.
With the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) chassis as its basis, the Corolla is longer, lower and sleeker than its Auris predecessor. The striking nose features LED clusters, with integral daytime running lights beneath the curved edge of a flatter, clamshell bonnet and narrow upper grille.
Beneath that, trapezoidal lower grille features a new mesh design and a frame that projects forwards with a grille surround that generates Toyota’s signature "catamaran shape". Toyota SA says: "It emphasises the car’s width and gives the Corolla that aggressive broad, sporting stance."
Like the front, the rear styling is more rounded than before. It's fitted with LEDs, located as far to the two corners as possible emphasise the car’s width, while the rear bumper styling echoes the ‘catamaran’ look of the front. A lower rear lip features a black-out design matching the; and all versions of the hatchback feature a roof spoiler and shark fin antenna.
The new Corolla hatch is available in six exterior colours, including three new colours – red, bronze and blue.
Toyota SA said: "The highest levels of visual and tactile quality were the goals of the dedicated Toyota Motor Europe Sensory Quality team (also responsible for the Toyota C-HR crossover’s acclaimed interior) when styling and designing the Corolla’s drivers and passenger environment."
Inside it has new textures, colours and trim. The slim instrument panel, for example, is not only key to generating a sense of spaciousness but it improves forward visibility, while still allowing for the driver to be positioned lower and closer to the car’s centre of gravity for a more engaging driving position.
The high-grade Xr models have slim Alcantara-covered front sports seats with wide shoulder supports that combine with solid, thick side bolsters to grip the driver when cornering.
The revised rear seats feature a new seat cushion material that allows for more even distribution of the occupant’s weight and, as standard, all rear seats can be folded using a remote lever to create a fully flat extension to the loadspace.
The Corolla Hatch features a host of active and passive safety features. There are a total of 7 airbags – driver and passenger, along with two side and curtain, as well as one for the driver’s knee – plus Vehicle Stability Control is standard, along with the full suite of electronic aids present (ABS, EBD, Brake Assist and Hill-assist Control). It also comes standard with ISOFIX attachment points for child seats.
Warranty and service plan
All Corolla Hatch models come standard with a 6-services/90 000 km Service Plan and 3-year/100 000 km warranty. Service intervals are set at 12 months/15 000 km.
There are three models in line-up:
• Corolla Hatch 1.2T Xs 6MT – R 336 800
• Corolla Hatch 1.2T Xs CVT – R 347 400
• Corolla Hatch 1.2T Xr CVT – R 367 100