Promoted | The new Toyota Corolla: taking hybrid to the next level

With an efficient, powerful self-charging 2.0-litre hybrid that is more fun to drive, Toyota’s new hatchback is changing the game for hybrids...

The new Toyota Corolla is available with a 2.0-litre hybrid that makes hybrid driving more efficient and more fun

In a recent article naming the Best Hybrid Cars of 2019, What Car? put the New Toyota Corolla at the top of the list, saying it was the best hybrid you can buy right now, and “the most tempting proposition to try hybrid motoring we’ve yet found.”

Our What Car? road test team were particularly impressed by the new Corolla’s new self-charging 2.0-litre hybrid engine, which has been designed to create a more engaging and fun driving experience.

In our four-star review, we said it was “pleasantly punchy” without compromising the “super-frugal fuel consumption and low CO2 emissions that make [the new Corolla] stand out in its class.”

That’s why we took 15 of our readers to a special event, in order to get their impressions. We wanted to see what they made of the new Corolla’s smooth and seamless hybrid performance, and if it exceeds their expectations of driving a hybrid.

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More hybrid; more electric; more fun

The new Toyota Corolla marks the return of an iconic name to Toyota’s model line-up. With an all-new design on a freshly engineered chassis platform, it’s far more than just a replacement for the Auris. It’s a hatchback game-changer in its own right.

The new Corolla is available with a 116hp 1.2-litre petrol engine on selected models and trims, but the stars of the range are two self-charging hybrids – a 122hp 1.8-litre hybrid, and an all-new 180hp 2.0-litre hybrid that is not only more powerful, but also more engaging to drive.

Toyota has spent over 20 years perfecting its self-charging hybrid technology, and the new Corolla is the ultimate expression of that ongoing refinement – even easier-to-use, smoother, more effortless and even more efficient. 

The new Corolla’s hybrid automatically blends electric and petrol power, while also recharging itself under braking. That means it never needs to be plugged in, making it a great way to get the benefit of improved fuel economy and reduced emissions, without the hassle of home charging or finding a charging point on the move. 

In fact, the new Corolla hybrid is so clever and efficient that Toyota reckons that 50 percent of most short everyday journeys are done in zero-emissions, ultra-quiet all-electric mode. 

More efficiency, or more power

The 122hp 1.8-litre self-charging hybrid is a fourth-generation design that builds on everything you’d expect from Toyota’s advanced hybrid engineering – smooth, blissfully quiet and seamlessly responsive performance, now with further improved efficiency of up to 62.77mpg (combined, WLTP) and CO2 emissions as low as 76g/km (NEDC).

Then there’s the new 180hp 2.0-litre self-charging hybrid. It provides an even more engaging driving experience, with a lightweight, ultra-efficient aluminium engine design working with more electric power and torque from a larger motor and nickel-metal hydride battery system to create impressively responsive acceleration. 

A Sport driving mode and six-speed sequential shiftmatic with wheel-mounted shift paddles increases your feeling of effortless control, but clever design tweaks throughout the hybrid engine system mean the new 2.0-litre hybrid still offers impressive fuel economy of up to 54.32mpg (combined WLTP) with CO2 emissions as low as 89g/km (NEDC). 

Simple to use, practical and safe

Inside the new Corolla, a slimmer instrument panel with a lower height works with the lower seating position and a lower bonnet to give the driver a more engaging driving position, with a clearer view of the road ahead. Equally, an optional sliding panoramic glass roof brings even more light into the cabin, enhancing its spacious and airy feel, while cool blue ambient lighting adds to the moody feel after-dark.

The controls have been designed to be simpler and more intuitive, with an advanced 7-inch digital display offering the driver the choice of a digital or analogue speedo, while the central 8-inch Toyota Touch 2 multimedia display has been engineered to give you faster, more responsive access to all your navigation, entertainment and connectivity features. Also available is a premium JBL eight-speaker sound system. 

The new Corolla’s front and rear seats have been designed to offer more comfort and support across the range, while new leather and Alcantara® sports front seats on Excel models deliver a more cosseting hold. A longer wheelbase on the saloon and Touring Sports models also delivers best-in-class rear legroom.

The luggage bay – with up to 598 litres in the Touring Sports model – is more practical and easier to use, with more accessible load width and rear seats that can be folded down with one lever to give a fully flat load floor. A reversible load deck also offers carpet on one side and a resin finish on the other – perfect for when you’re carrying wet or dirty items – while LED load compartment lamps and a one-touch detachable/retractable tonneau cover make loading even easier.

Toyota’s Safety Sense package of offers a comprehensive range of intelligent active safety technologies as standard – including Pre-Collision System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert and Lane Trace Assist, as well as Road-Sign Assist and Automatic High Beam. 

Parking is made considerably easier on selected trims with Toyota’s Simple Intelligent Park Assist with automatic braking. Offering the choice of manual parking with the rear-view camera or semi-automated parking using the front and rear sensors, it works with Drive Start Control to minimise annoying low-speed collisions.

Style and substance

On the outside, a wider track (front and rear) works with a sleeker, lower, more sporty profile to give the new Corolla a much more planted and sporty appearance. Equally, an all-new grille design – with LED headlights as standard – and a sculpted rear with full-width LED brake lights give the new Corolla a stand-out look.

Three distinctly different body styles – a dynamic hatchback, a stylish and practical saloon, and the spacious estate-style Touring Sports – also mean that you can choose the Corolla that best fits your lifestyle.

The brand-new chassis is significantly lighter and 60% stiffer than the outgoing Auris, while repositioned engine and hybrid batteries and a lower, more sporty seating position have lowered the centre of gravity by 10mm.

Working with multi-link rear suspension that has been completely re-engineered from the ground up to work smoother, faster and more efficiently, the result is ride that is significantly more stable and refined – with handling and steering that is much more responsive for a more enjoyable and engaging driving experience.

The new Corolla’s sleeker, lower profile also works with a full underfloor cover and aero-stabilising fins on the rear to significantly reduce the new Corolla’s aerodynamic drag – crucial for a car in which ultra-efficient hybrid engines are the key driver.

All combined, it’s no wonder that our What Car? team declared the new Toyota Corolla the most tempting hybrid you can buy right now.

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