Review: Toyota Corolla Hatch XR - A hit without a shadow of a doubt

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Image: Warren Wilson
Image: Warren Wilson
Warren Wilson

The Toyota Corolla is one of the most recognisable and favourite vehicles in South Africa.

It’s found favour for more than forty years and continues to count as one of the most trusted cars to ever grace our roads.

The last decade or two we’ve seen the Corolla in both hatchback and sedan form, with the former being sold under the guise of Run-X and then Auris the last several years.

Come 2019 and Toyota decided to avail the new Corolla in hatch guise only; making the Corolla-name return to the hatchback market.

The Corolla XR is the top model in the new, three-model Corolla range and retails for a respectable R367 100. Many might be shocked at the price tag given that the Corolla has always been affordable, but in the market, and its segment, the entire Corolla range is actually very well priced.

Toyota,corolla

                                  Image: Warren Wilson

New drivetrain

Only one engine drives the entire Corolla range: a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It’s not the most powerful nor the strongest engine, but it’s a smooth unit that tends to give adequate performance when needed. The 85kW/185Nm it produces is not much, but carrying the Corolla XR’s weight of 1395kg around is a respectable task for the new unit.

With the engine comes either a six-speed manual, or a new 10-speed CVT gearbox. The latter is the only option you can have with the XR and, unlike other CVT units we’ve sampled, this is of the better applications. One of its main tasks is to help keep fuel consumption down, but at 7.8-litres/100km we just could not match Toyota’s claim of 6.1-litres/100km.

Likes and dislikes

Toyota really put in an effort when constructing the design - both inside and out - and it is a big departure from the Corolla’s trusted formula. The change in direction ensures that the Corolla is one of the more beautiful cars in its segment. That’s not always something you could say of the Corolla, but it’s a tag the new car can wear with pride.

The interior sees a major improvement over the older model and are there lots of soft-touch materials across the cabin. The multimedia systems also see an upgrade, but this top model makes due without satellite navigation. Boot space and rear legroom are a bit limited too.

Read Charlen Raymond’s review on the new Toyota Corolla XR below:

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