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Geneva show: Toyota lobs fresh Corolla

Look at me: Toyota’s new Corolla has a much more rounded exterior design than the edgy outgoing model, but the company is yet to reveal the interior.

August launch for 12th-generation Toyota Corolla that gains new engines, tech


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7 Mar 2018

THE new-generation version of Australia’s best-selling passenger vehicle, the Toyota Corolla, has made its debut at the Geneva motor show ahead of an on-sale date in August this year.

Toyota uncovered the European version of its global small hatchback – dubbed Auris in some markets – at the show, revealing a completely new exterior design that is in keeping with some of Toyota’s recent offerings, such as the C-HR crossover and the new Camry, as part of the Under Priority and Keen Look design philosophies.

Taking on a more European flavour, the 12th-generation Corolla is more rounded than the edgy current model, with a flatter clamshell bonnet, low gaping grille and slimline, swept-up headlights that are reminiscent of the C-HR.

At the more rounded rear end, the Corolla has a more steeply raked rear windscreen and a wider hip, which the company says makes for a more compact look even though there is a 20mm increase in rear overhang.

Toyota has not revealed interior images of the Corolla, but it is expected to take cues from the C-HR and Camry.

In terms of dimensions, the Corolla is 40mm longer than before at 4370mm, which has gone straight to the wheelbase, while the roof is 25mm lower at its peak bringing overall height to 1450mm, and the cowl height is 47mm lower than the outgoing hatchback.

As expected, the new-gen Corolla is underpinned by the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform that also forms the basis of the C-HR, Camry and new Prius.

The new Corolla gains multi-link rear suspension and a more rigid body shell that Toyota says makes for better handling and stability “without compromising ride and comfort”.

It is also likely to be offered with more active safety features than the outgoing version, with Toyota stating that it will come with autonomous emergency braking.

Toyota has ditched the ageing 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol unit for a new 2.0-litre petrol engine that will offer outputs of 126kW and 205Nm, an increase of 23kW/32Nm, although fuel use and performance figures are yet to be revealed.

Australian buyers will continue to have the option of a hybrid Corolla. This time it will be the latest version of the 1.8-litre unit delivering 91kW paired with a an electric drivetrain, allowing for some all-electric driving and with fuel efficiency that is said to rival the Prius.

It looks like Australia will miss out on the 1.2-litre turbocharged engine also found in the C-HR, which is being offered in Europe, while the 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid variant is also unlikely.

Toyota Australia vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said the new TNGA platform has ensured significant improvements over the outgoing five-and-a-half year-old model.

“New Corolla hatch is a more premium and stylish car that guarantees a more rewarding driving experience and places a priority on the highest active and passive safety standards,” he said.

“These generational improvements have been made possible through TNGA, which is integral to the company’s mission to build ever-better cars that will excite a new generation of buyers.

“At the same time, Corolla retains the proven, dependable and safe reputation that has made it Australia’s top-selling passenger car for the past five years in a row.”

GoAuto believes that Australian-spec Corolla hatchbacks will continue to be sourced from Japan.

It is unclear when the new version of the Corolla sedan will be revealed, but the outgoing sedan arrived about 18 months after the hatchback. Whether the current booted version will continue to sell alongside the new hatchback when it lobs is also unknown.

The Corolla was the top-selling passenger car in Australia last year, with 37,353 sales, enough to outpace the Mazda3 by close to 5000 units but not enough to usurp the first and second placed HiLux (47,093) and Ford Ranger (42,728) pick-ups.

Corolla was the best selling vehicle in the country in 2013, 2014 and 2015 – after toppling the Mazda3 that was number one in 2012 – but the HiLux grabbed the top spot in 2016, edging out the Corolla by just over 1700 units.

More details of the new Corolla hatchback will be revealed ahead of the local launch.

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