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For some 13 years, the mid-size hatchback offering in the Toyota range has been called Auris. But those with longer memories will recall that Toyota’s top-selling family hatchback used to be called Corolla. All change for 2019, as Toyota unveils an appealing, dynamic new hybrid-only model to replace Auris and revive the Corolla name.
Toyota takes the sensible view that safety shouldn’t be
optional, so all models come with a pre-collision system with pedestrian and
bicycle detection that can apply the brakes in a potential accident scenario.
Other safety features include Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, auto high
beam and traffic sign recognition.
Corolla will be coming to UK showrooms in February 2019 as either a Touring Sports estate model or a sporty-looking hatchback. It’s 40mm longer and 30mm wider than the outgoing Auris, and 25mm lower. This gives it a more assertive, poised stance that hints at the all-new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) which gives it a low centre of gravity and an excellent balance between ride and handling. LED lights and a distinctive grille lead the eye along a dynamic and well-resolved profile; the hatchback is sporty and compact while as you’d expect the Touring Sports has a longer roofline. Inside, the interior combines quality materials with well-integrated controls and infotainment.
The clean and simple dashboard of the Corolla features an
8-inch multimedia display which in models from the Icon Tech and upwards comes
with Toyota Touch 2 with Go and Voice Activation. Auto wipers and folding
mirrors can be yours from the Design model and up, while the top of the range
Excel has smart entry and Bi-LED lights. If you want the optional JBL sound
system rather than the standard Toyota offering, it’s an option for those
choosing the more powerful 2.0-litre model.
Toyota is nailing its colours to the mast and only offering two models, both self-charging hybrids. The more economy-focused model has a 1.8-litre petrol engine allied to an electric motor for a total of 121bhp, while the more potent option is the 2.0-litre which boasts a combined 178bhp and a sub 8-second 0-62mph acceleration time. In both cases the transmission is a CVT auto gearbox that offers six stepped ratios. As both models are hybrid, the CO 2 figures (when ratified) are expected to be among the lowest in class.
Verdict: Toyota’s Auris earned respect for its dependability, build quality and reliability but it was perhaps a little short in the excitement department. The Corolla takes a familiar name for a new and dynamic approach, combining rewarding performance and handling with appealing design and generous specification levels. Being a Toyota, you get the build quality and dependability too. A strong new contender in the mid-size family car segment.