Buyers of the new Toyota Corolla Sedan need not feel cheated by missing out on little extras often only available in a hatchback. What’s more, the booted variant shares the sharp good looks and pricing of its five-door sibling.

Toyota Australia Vice-President Sales and Marketing, Sean Hanley, says Toyota had developed this all-new sedan to complement the hatch with the same levels of sophisticated styling, refinement, dynamic driving characteristics, performance and five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Coming in three specification grades, Ascent, SX and ZR. For the first time in Australia the Corolla Sedan is being offered with Toyota’s petrol / electric hybrid system, the Ascent using the same 1.8-litre petrol engine combined with a pair of electric motor generators as the hatch, delivering a total maximum power output of 90 kW.

Out test vehicle was the Corolla Ascent Sport petrol CVT tagged at $24,835.

Like all Toyota vehicles, it’s covered by a full five-year Toyota Warranty Advantage, while Toyota Service Advantage offers capped price servicing that costs just $175 per service at 12-month / 15,000 km intervals.

Forget the sedate sedan, the new Corolla has called on the hatchback’s DNA to give it a sense of agility and athleticism never seen before.

At 4630 mm, longer by 10 mm and 1780 mm, 5 mm wider, with its 25 mm lower roofline (1435 mm), shorter (-5 mm) front overhang and longer (+15 mm) rear overhang, it delivers a new dynamic appearance, on the move or standing still.

This is further emphasised by a low centre of gravity, gently rising beltline, sharply raked rear window and flared wheel arches surrounding stylish 16-inch alloy wheels.

The spacious interior is kitted out with new lower positioned seating in an embossed fabric, providing improved comfort and support for occupants. Sadly, climate control air-con is the reserve of the SX and ZR only.

The roomy passenger space is home to an array of storage options, with front door cubbies large enough to take an A4 folder and 720ml bottle, while the rear door holders can accommodate 500ml bottles.

A glove box, lidded centre console storage, front and rear cupholders and a range of trays add to the convenience.

The rear boot space is expansive with a 470-litre capacity that can be extended with the 60 / 40 split rear seat back folded.

New Corolla sedan features a new-generation multimedia system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, AM / FM radio, USB and Aux inputs, full Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition, Siri eyes-free functionality and MyToyota app.

The Ascent misses out on satellite navigation with SUNA live traffic alerts, digital radio and an enhanced screen interface that enables pinch, swipe and flick gestures, while Ascent and SX make use of six-speaker sound.

The non-hybrid model comes with a new 2.0-litre petrol engine on all three grades.

Shared with the Corolla hatch, this engine generates 125 kW at 6600 rpm and 200 Nm between 4400 rpm and 4800 rpm – 22 kW and 27 Nm compared with its 1.8-litre predecessor.

Improved safety in the new Corolla sedan, ensuring a five-star ANCAP safety rating, comes with a comprehensive suite of Toyota Safety Sense driver assistance features standard across the entire range.

For CVT-equipped models, this includes pre-collision safety system with day and night-time pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, all-speed active cruise control, lane trace assist with steering assist and lane centering function, road sign assist and auto high-beam.

All grades also benefit from a reversing camera, seven airbags (dual front, front side, side curtain and driver knee bag) and ISOFIX child safety seat anchor points on the rear seat outboard positions.

Improved engine efficiency direct and port fuel injection means the new entry-level Ascent Sport Sedan, says the maker, offers a low combined urban / highway cycle fuel consumption of 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres when combined with the CVT. The CO2 emissions are a claimed 137 g/km for CVT.

The test car recorded 8 litres per 100 kilometres in the urban environment and 4.1 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway.

The CVT is an improvement on older versions with smooth, responsive take-up. No more spongy feel. The steering serves up quality feel and feedback from electric power assistance.

Braking performance is provided by ventilated front and solid rear discs with a full complement of electronic assistance, including ABS, vehicle stability control, traction control, brake assist and trailer sway control.

Ascent Sport petrol and hybrid, and SX petrol variants serve up essential driver information via a large central analogue speedometer flanked by a tacho on the left and 4.2-inch Multi-Info Display on the right.

Toyota’s ‘game’ of match the hatch goes only so far. If it’s performance you’re after, the Corolla Sport Sedan can’t hold a candle to the so-called hot hatches. However, if it’s convenience, comfort and quality on your list, the Ascent sedan is an appealing alternative to the hatch.


Ascent 2.0-litre Sport hatch: $23,895
Ascent 1.8-litre Hybrid Sport hatch: $27,395
SX 2.0-litre hatch: $28,795
SX 1.8-litre Hybrid hatch: $30,795
ZR 2.0-litre hatch: $32,695
ZR 1.8-litre Hybrid hatch: $34,695
Ascent 2.0-litre Sport sedan: $23,895
Ascent Sport 1.8-litre Hybrid sedan: $27,395
SX 2.0-litre sedan: $ 28,795
SX 1.8-litre Hybrid sedan: $30,795
ZR 2.0-litre sedan: $34,195
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport 2.0L 4-cylinder fuel injected petrol, CVT, Sedan)

Capacity: 1.987 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 125 kW @ 6600 rpm
Maximum Torque: 200 Nm @ 4400-4800 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.0 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: Euro 5

DRIVELINE: Continuously variable transmission

Length: 4630 mm
Wheelbase: 2700 mm
Width: 1780 mm
Height: 1435 mm
Turning Circle: 10.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 1365-1375 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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