The highly anticipated all-new 12th-generation Toyota Corolla has touched down on Australian shores, with the automaker’s Australian arm rightly expecting it to swiftly become the bane of rivals such as the Hyundai i30, Mazda3, Honda Civic, and even the Volkswagen Golf upon its launch.
In this newest guise, carrying a much sleeker and sophisticated exterior and sitting upon an all-new platform, the Corolla’s new starting price of $22,870 puts it at a not insignificant price step up from version it replaces. That’s chiefly due to the 2018 range lacking the more budget-oriented Ascent grade.
Instead, the Ascent Sport is the new kick-off spec, which introduces us to the markedly different range of engines. Here a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder takes charge, chucking out a decent 125kW and 200Nm. While displacement rises from the outgoing 1.8-litre, the newer motor surpasses it in both power and efficiency, especially when paired to the ‘Direct Shift’ CVT instead of the standard manual transmission, rated at 6.0-litres/100km.
Inside the base grade is equipped with an 8-inch Toyota Link touchscreen infotainment system (sat-nav is a $1,000 option and adds privacy glass, but standard elsewhere), 16-inch alloy wheels, heated exterior mirrors, and quite an assortment of active safety features which includes Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Departure Warning, and Active Cruise Control (auto only). Oh yes, there’s also 7 airbags.
Obviously, Toyota fully expects the new Corolla to bag ANCAP’s 5-star safety rating, even earning some brownie points for including high beam assist, hill start assist, a reverse camera, and its pre-collision assist being able to detect cyclists (during the day) and pedestrians after dusk. Moving up the range does bring a longer list of safety kit, naturally, but the only real highlight being blind-spot monitoring.
Speaking of the higher end of the all-new 2018 Corolla, the range expands to the Ascent Sport with Toyota’s petrol-electric hybrid powertrain as well as the mid-tier SX and range-topping ZR. Should you pass on the 2.0-litre unit, the more electrically augmented drive unit comprises of a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder running the more frugal Atkinson combustion cycle, matched to an electric motor for a combine output of 90kW.
At the peak of the all-new Corolla spread is the sportier and aforementioned ZR, and here the equipment list grows further to include goodies like 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, an 8-speaker JBL sound system, a head-up display, leather sports front seats, and ambient interior lighting.
Toyota Australia's vice-president sales and marketing Sean Hanley said: "This all-new Corolla hatch leapfrogs everything in the affordable small-car segment and sets the new benchmark. Corolla has become the world's and Australia's best-selling passenger car - and the new Corolla hatch is even better through our commitment to produce more appealing and dynamic cars. Many of its ground-breaking technologies and class-leading features would normally be found in more expensive, prestige models.
- Corolla Ascent Sport - Petrol - Manual - $22,870
- Corolla Ascent Sport - Petrol - CVT - $24,370
- Corolla Ascent Sport - Petrol Hybrid - CVT - $25,870
- Corolla SX - Petrol - CVT - $26,870
- Corolla SX - Petrol Hybrid - CVT - $28,370
- Corolla ZR - Petrol - CVT - $30,370
- Corolla ZR - Petrol Hybrid - CVT - $31,870