The Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport 2018 model is the most affordable model in the new hatchback range, and comes with the choice of three drivetrains.

The Ascent Sport is available with a 2.0-litre petrol six-speed manual at $22,870, a 2.0-litre petrol with new 10-speed CVT auto at $24,370, or a 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid with CVT auto at $25,870.

Ascent Sport models come with LED headlights (with auto high-beam), LED daytime running lights, LED tail-lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, an 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, voice recognition, USB/auxiliary connectivity and a six-speaker stereo.

Ascent Sport hybrid models get push-button start, keyless entry and dual-zone climate control, where petrol versions have a regular old key and manual air-con. All Ascent Sport models come with a plastic steering wheel with audio controls, but at least there's an electric park brake and a 4.2-inch colour info display for the driver.

Safety has been a big focus for Toyota, with every automatic Corolla fitted with auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection (day and night) and bicyclist detection (day), adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist, speed sign recognition, active cornering control (torque vectoring by braking), a reversing camera and seven airbags (dual front, front side, curtain and driver's knee).

If you choose the manual, you miss out on fully adaptive cruise that works at all speeds - it gets a 'high-speed active cruise' system instead, plus there's no lane-keeping assist. All models get ISOFIX child-seat anchors.

All Corolla models will attract a $550 extra cost for premium paint, while the Ascent Sport is the only variant with optional equipment available: buyers can add sat nav and privacy glass for $1000. We'd suggest you just buy the SX.