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Hailed in the top selling cars in the world, the Toyota Corolla is the crown within Toyota’s jewel collection. It’s an apt name – as in nature, a Corolla is the centre of a flower - the part that keeps the petals and stem united. Perhaps for the brand, the Corolla has lived up to its name!
Times are changing in the car world – because of the rapid conversion from petrol and diesel to either a hybrid or electric motor. Everyone wants an SUV and standard features are an essential requirement from younger Millennial customers.
But just before the world completely changes, (drum roll please!):
Enters the all-new Corolla Hatch. Corolla Hatch? But wait! Isn’t a Corolla a sedan and an Auris a hatchback? Yes, you’d be correct. If you said RunX, you’d also be correct. But now the Corolla brand is a trio: sedan, hatch and wagon. We’ll get the sedan later but for starters, we have a hatch. The wagon is not likely to ever be popular in South Africa.
Strikingly bold, the new Corolla hatch is fresh and distinctive. Looks are subjective, so, subjectively speaking, amongst its competition, I think Toyota has leapt forward aesthetically with their new design.
Toyota is keeping the range strategically simple. The Corolla Hatch range comprises of a
mid-grade Xs and high-grade Xr. The standard specification level for the Xs-grade is generous with comfort and convenience features such as LED lights with LED DRL, Dual-zone Climate Control, Smart Entry (keyless access), Cruise Control, Power-Operated heated exterior mirrors, colour Multi-Information Display (MID), Reverse Camera, one-touch power windows and speed-sensitive door locking.
An example of the Corolla’s hidden refinements that I enjoyed is the electronic parking brake. It works intuitively, automatically engaging when turning off the vehicle and disengages based on throttle and transmission input when setting off. There is a dedicated Hold function present which lengthens the hill-holding period. To this point, a Hill-Assist function is autonomously built into the system.
These refinements carry over onto the car’s drive. The new Corolla is a considerable improvement over the existing model. This is primarily due to three factors – a new low center of gravity chassis, a fancy multi-link suspension system and a very refined new 1.2 turbocharged petrol motor. Golf be warned, you have real competition with the Corolla Hatch.
Consumption and acceleration are both very fair – expect urban consumption fuel figures of 8 liters per 100km but hit the highway and you’ll get figures at least 2 liters lower. Sprints to 100km are recorded in a respectable 9 to 10 seconds. Depending on the gearbox – either a 6-speed manual that is a gem to use or a good CVT gearbox with 10 pre-programmed - shift steps to simulate conventional gear ratios.
The interior follows suit - with a clean, bold design and easy-to-use instrumentation. All switchgear is refined in its function. Seating is sumptuous in cosseted sports seats that make the driver and passenger feel safe and well supported. Instrumentation is simple although there is a large touchscreen infotainment that brings a techno dynamic to the cabin.
The drive and high refinement levels are joys that make the new Corolla Hatch a great contender in this category. I’d strongly consider purchasing it. If you are in the market to buy a hatch, go drive it! You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Corolla Hatch 1.2T Xs 6MT – R336 800
Corolla Hatch 1.2T Xs CVT – R347 400
Corolla Hatch 1.2T Xr CVT – R367 100
Service and warranty
All Corolla Hatch models come standard with a 6-services/90 000km Service Plan and 3-year/100 000km warranty. Service intervals are set at 12 months/15 000km.
Corolla Hatch 1.2T Xs 6MT – R336 800
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