Toyota Corolla 2018 revealed in Geneva

6 March 2018 by Malcolm Flynn

All-new version of Australia’s favourite passenger car looks to pack more personality than ever.

The new Toyota Corolla could well shun its dowdy image forever, if the styling of the new 12th-generation Corolla hatch, revealed this evening in Switzerland, is anything to go by.

Longer, wider and lower than the car it replaces, the new model brings a more road-hugging and athletic stance than ever before.

As suggested in the single teaser image distributed last week, its overall surface language is similar to that of the C-HR and Camry, with the front end representing the latest version of the theme started by the Mirai, and since applied to the Prius, C-HR, updated Yaris and the eighth-generation Camry which arrived Down Under late last year. The new Corolla’s headlights share visual cues with the Supra concept also revealed today.

The new car’s interior is still under wraps, however, with the show car’s windows tinted and the doors locked.

Under the skin of the new Corolla is a version of the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform which also underpins the Prius, C-HR and Camry. The new hatch has again been developed separately from the sedan, which is likely to appear later this year.

Unlike several rivals including the upcoming 2019 Mazda3, the new Corolla hatch packs a multi-link independent suspension across all variants.  The new chassis is more rigid with a lower centre of gravity, which is claimed to improve handling without compromising comfort.

The hatch’s wheelbase has also been stretched over the current model’s 2600mm, but Toyota is yet to confirm exact measurements. What is known is that the overall length has grown by 40mm, width by 30mm, the roof is 25mm lower, while the cowl height is down by a significant 47mm for improved driver visibility.

The front overhang has been reduced by 20mm, while the rear overhang has increased by the same measure, while 14 degrees more rake to the rear window contributes to a significant overall shift in proportions. Meanwhile, the development team aimed to retain the current model’s interior usability despite these adjustments.

Australian spec levels are yet to be confirmed, but all European versions will come standard with AEB, in addition to an array of other safety tech.

A new direct-injected, naturally aspirated petrol engine will be the entry option.

The new model will continue to be available with two drivetrains in Australia, with a version of the latest Prius’s 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid set-up as the top option, which promises more low-range torque and electric-only driving range.

A new direct-injected, naturally aspirated petrol engine will be the entry option, but its capacity and other details were yet to be clarified at the time of writing. Substantial power and torque gains are promised, along with improved fuel efficiency.

Speaking with CarsGuide in Geneva, Toyota Australia sales and marketing boss Sean Hanley would not be drawn on whether the new Corolla’s extra class would push prices upwards, but assured us that it will remain competitive and represent compelling value. Mr Hanley is also confident the new model will achieve a maximum five star ANCAP safety rating.

Asked whether there is an i30 N or Golf GTI hot hatch rival in the works, Mr Hanley said that there no immediate plans, but we should watch this space. “If such a production car becomes available, our hand would be raised very high,” he remarked.

He confirmed that Gazoo Racing would be the performance brand worn by such a model, with the Akio Toyoda-driven brand superseding the historic TRD and the local Sportivo monikers to align with all of Toyota’s global racing and performance activities.

Australian versions of the new Corolla hatch will continue to be sourced from Japan, and are expected to reach local showrooms in August.

Would you be tempted by the new Corolla over a Mazda3, Hyundai i30 or Volkswagen Golf? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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