With official fuel consumption put at 4.1 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined urban / highway cycle, this is good enough to give the vehicle a range of almost 1100 km depending on driving style.
The fifth hybrid in Toyota’s Australian line-up, joining Camry, Prius, Prius c and Prius v, the hybrid version of the popular Corolla arrives just months shy of the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first Corolla in Japan in October 1966.
With a comprehensive list of equipment, some not offered on other Corollas in Australia, the hybrid is priced from $26,990, putting it between the petrol-only SX and ZR hatches.
A chiselled front end sees the radiator grille in two sections, the upper section dominated by the familiar Toyota logo and flanked by auto-levelling bi-LED headlamps and LED daytime running lamps, the lower portion incorporating fog lamps.
A steeply raked windscreen ensures the car slices through the air cleanly, which is then directed over a roof that slopes to a small spoiler. Rear light wraps around the corners giving the Corolla a broad stance from behind.
The car rolls on 16-inch alloy wheels with five sets of V-twin spokes. The car comes in any of the eight exterior paint colours available across the Corolla range.
The passenger cabin exhibits the premium materials and quality of a more expensive vehicle, with dark upholstery and soft-touch surfaces all round. Head room is adequate, shoulder space likewise but rear seat legroom is tight even with average-size occupants up front.
With the hybrid battery positioned under rear seat and temporary spare wheel under the floor, the latest Corolla retains the standard hatch’s 360 litres of luggage space. The rear seat backs fold flat for even more room.
A small 4.2-inch colour touchscreen is positioned just below air-con vents in the central dashboard area not quite at the driver’s eye level.
The screen displays clear full-colour maps for the standard navigation and is sued to operate the audio and Toyota Link connected mobility functions.
Air-conditioning controls are separate from the screen, positioned at the base of the centre stack.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The Corolla’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system uses an atkinson-cycle 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and 60 kW electric motor. Efficiency features for the petrol engine include cooled exhaust-gas recirculation, an electric water pump and a compression ratio of 13.0:1, compared with 10.0:1 on the petrol-only Corolla.
The nickel-metal hydride battery, which puts out maximum power of 60 kW and top torque of 207 Nm, is charged by the petrol engine and regenerative braking.
Passive safety is taken care of by seven airbags, active safety includes stability, traction control and ABS anti-skid brakes with brakes assist and brake-force distribution. Reversing is made easy with a camera incorporating guidelines.
The first pleasant surprise about the Corolla Hybrid test vehicle was the keyless entry and petrol engine start. Hybrid power is all about efficiency in performance, economy and environmental protection.
During our period with the test car it clocked up fuel consumption of 4.6 litres per 100 kilometres on a mix of suburban and motorway driving, compared to the official figure of 4.1 litres per kilometre under similar conditions. That official fuel consumption of 4.1 litres compares with 6.1 litres per 100 kilometres for automatic Corolla pure petrol hatches. Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology is capable of operating in petrol and electric modes alone, or a combination of both, depending on driving conditions. These are called into operation by buttons on the centre console.
Setting off under electric power alone is ponderous and needs the input of the petrol engine to push it along.
An Econometer in the instrument panel directly in front of the driver shows how the systems are working, with charge, economy and power on the dial helping the driver to maintain a desired result.
The independent rear suspension delivers stable ride and handling with a quietness and smooth operation that makes motoring enjoyable.
Continuously variable transmissions is operated via a neat mini-me shift lever on the centre console, the Corolla’s performance under normal driving is smooth and easy.
With 40,800 sales the Corolla retained its title as Australia’s best-selling car in the financial year ended June 30, making it the top seller in each of the past three calendar years. The Hybrid can only add to the success.
AT A GLANCE
Toyota Corolla 1.8-litre petrol / electric hybrid CVT automatic from $26,990
Note: This price does not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Toyota dealer for driveaway prices.
Stability and traction control
16-inch alloy wheels, temporary spare
Black fabric upholstery
Auto-levelling bi-LED headlamps
LED daytime running lamps
Keyless smart entry and ignition Satellite navigation, SUNA live traffic updates
Toyota Link connected mobility
4.2-inch thin-film transistor colour multi-information display
SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota Corolla Hybrid 1.8-litre petrol / electric hatchback)
Capacity: 1.798 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 73 kW @ 5200 rpm
Maximum Torque: 142 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 95 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 4.1 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 96 g/km
Type: Series / parallel, full hybrid
Motor generator: AC synchronous, permanent magnet, nickel-metal hydride battery
Maximum power: 60 kW
Maximum torque: 207 Nm
DRIVELINE: Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission, front-wheel drive
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4330 mm
Wheelbase: 2600 mm
Width: 1760 mm
Height: 1475 mm
Turning Circle: 10.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1365 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 45 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc
Three years / 100,000 km