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Toyota Australia has committed to making hybrid motoring more available to the majority of small car buyers, announcing that every 2019 Toyota Corolla hatch variant will be offered with the choice of a petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain.
In the current generation Corolla range, the Corolla Hybrid was a late addition, arriving on sale in late 2016 - some four years into the life-cycle of the 11th-generation car. Now, with the 12th-gen 2019 Toyota Corolla, buyers will have a lot more access to petrol-electric motoring.
“With the new Corolla, we’re stepping up our hybrid strategy by offering this technology across the range, rather than a single grade,” said Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia vice president sales and marketing.
“We’re particularly pleased with the upgraded hybrid system, which is an improved version of the 1.8-litre Atkinson Cycle powertrain in Prius,” Hanley said. “It is lighter and more compact… smoother and quieter, with three drive modes (normal, eco and sport), and available paddle shifters. Combined-cycle fuel economy improves markedly – and rivals the Prius itself.”
On top of that, the nation’s best-selling passenger car is set to adopt a simpler but smarter line-up strategy.
Exact details of the model grades are to be confirmed, but it is expected Toyota Australia will offer the new-generation Corolla hatch in only three trim levels. Each version will be offered with either the newly developed petrol drivetrain or the revamped hybrid model.
The new 2.0-litre engine uses direct injection and is paired to the choice of either a six-speed manual (which introduces rev-matching technology), or a new CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) auto, with 10 ‘gears’ and a launch gear system, which essentially offers more predictable response from a standstill. Basically the first ratio works just like a normal gear - it is more responsive and revs out before the transmission switches to CVT mode.
Fuel consumption figures are still under wraps, but buyers can expect the CVT to have an impact when compared with the current model’s claimed fuel consumption. The current 1.8-litre is said to use 6.1 litres per 100 kilometres - and remember, this new Toyota runs a 2.0-litre engine with 126kW of power (up 22.3 per cent on the 1.8-litre) and 205Nm (up 18.5 per cent).
The hybrid system will continue to make use of a 1.8-litre paired to an electric motor and a nickel-metal hydride battery system - the same one used in the current generation Prius. Fuel use isn’t confirmed for it, either, but a number close to the current Prius model - 3.4L/100km - isn’t impossible, considering the current Corolla Hybrid claims 4.1L/100km.
If we were to take a stab in the dark, our money on the three trim levels or variants that will be offered would be on the Ascent Sport opening the model range, with the SX mid-spec to remain below the flagship ZR. There could be some optional packs available for buyers to customise their Corolla, too, a bit like the strategy employed by the brand with the C-HR small SUV.
the new Corolla will remain extremely competitive and affordable.
Some of the highlights of the new-generation Corolla range include 16- and 18-inch alloy wheels, an 8.0-inch satellite navigation screen, a 7.0-inch colour driver info screen, colour head-up display, dual-zone climate control, 10-speaker JBL sound system, smart entry and push-button start, and wireless phone charging.
Safety is another area where the new Corolla is set to step up a level, with 'Toyota Safety Sense 2' seeing offered as standard on every single variant in the range - including manual models. That means auto emergency braking (AEB) with pre-collision warning, pedestrian detection (day and night), cyclist detection (day only), road sign assist that can read signs to advise the driver on the info display, lane departure warning with steering assistance, adaptive cruise control, lane trace assist and auto high beam headlights. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert will also be available, but we think they may be part of an optional pack on some spec levels.
Of course, the new Corolla will also score a reversing camera as standard, as well as seven airbags: dual front, front side, driver's knee and full-length curtain.
While all the new Corolla hatch models will look sportier than the current 11th-generation version, it is highly likely we will still see some exterior trim differentiation between the grades - things like 16-inch alloy wheels on the entry-grade car, while the high-spec models will wear 18-inch rims. The flagship could have a bigger roof spoiler on its hatch, too.
“We are positioning the new Corolla as a premium, high-quality hatch focused on performance and technology with more attractive styling, more spec including advanced safety, and more powerful yet more efficient drivetrains,” Hanley said.
“In addition, the new Corolla will remain extremely competitive and affordable. It will remain the leader of its segment and continue as Australia’s best-selling passenger car,” he said confidently.
The exact pricing and specification details for the new-generation Corolla will not be announced until the car launches in Australia in August 2018. We'll be sure to keep you up to date when that happens.
Stay tuned for our review from the international launch of the 2019 Toyota Corolla later in April.