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New York show: Toyota outs Corolla engines, interior

Safety first: The Corolla will be the first small car to offer adaptive cruise control as standard across its range when it lobs in Australia.

All-new petrol engine, premium interior highlight next Toyota Corolla hatch


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26 Mar 2018

TOYOTA Motor Corporation has released further details on the 12th-generation Corolla small hatch ahead of its arrival in Australian showrooms in August this year.

Making an appearance at the New York motor show this week, the US-market Corolla hatch has shown off the new model’s interior, powertrains, transmissions, suspension and equipment levels.

Two powertrains are be on offer, either a new 2.0-litre Dynamic Force naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine, or a petrol-electric hybrid set-up that combines a revised 1.8-litre unit with an electric motor.

The Japanese car-maker promises the former provides “substantially increased power and fuel efficiency along with cleaner emissions” compared to the outgoing 1.8-litre unit, but official figures are yet to be revealed.

To achieve this, the engine employs high-pressure direct and low-pressure port fuel injection, adjusting to either method depending on the driving conditions, which results in ideal combustion.

Furthermore, VVT-iE (variable valve timing-intelligence by electric motor) and VVT-i are used in the intake and exhaust respectively, with the former featuring an electric motor instead of oil pressure to control variable valve timing.

The smaller and lighter engine also has a longer stroke (97.6mm), higher compression ratio (13.0:1), reduced friction, lighter timing chain, more rigid crank case with integrated stiffener, a lighter resin cylinder head and a ribbed oil pan.

The new unit is paired to either a new six-speed manual gearbox with rev-matching functionality, or a Dynamic-Shift continuously variable transmission (CVT) with 10 simulated sequential shift steps, a sport mode and paddle shifters.

Compared to the current three-pedal set-up, the next-generation manual is 6.8kg lighter and 24mm shorter, making it among the world’s most efficient and smallest gearboxes, according to Toyota.

Meanwhile, the world’s first launch gear in a passenger-car CVT features in the automatic, with the brand claiming improved efficiency in lower gear ratios.

Specifically, the CVT uses a gear drive off the line before switching to a belt drive, “resulting in powerful yet smooth acceleration” while mimicking the gear shifting behaviour of a traditional transmission, according to Toyota.

Alternatively, the hybrid powertain is heavily revised, with the marque promising “improved low-range torque and fuel efficiency to rival Prius”, but, like the petrol engine, these details are yet to be confirmed.

Inside, the Corolla hatch has upped the ante with new sport seats, a longer and wider centre console, and smaller gaps between buttons and switches – all in the aim of a premium feel.

A floating, central touchscreen infotainment system, an electric park brake with auto-hold functionality, two front USB ports and a multifunction steering wheel are also included.

Meanwhile, higher-specification grades feature dual-zone climate control, a 7.0-inch TFT digital instrument cluster and a JBL premium sound system with Clari-Fi technology.

Advanced driver-assist safety technologies extend to forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, steering assist, high beam assist and a reversing camera. Seven airbags are also included.

Thanks to the Corolla hatch’s adoption of the new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, torsional rigidity has improved by 60 per cent while chassis and body weight is down due to the extensive use of aluminium and high-strength steels.

Additionally, a new multi-link rear suspension with stabiliser bar helps to sharpen responsiveness and reduce overall suspension friction by 40 per cent while lowering the centre of gravity by 20mm.

The MacPherson strut front suspension returns but has been tweaked with revised coil-spring rates and damping forces for “high-quality steering feel, ride comfort, and handling stability”, according to the company.

As previously reported, the Corolla hatch’s edgier look was outed at the Geneva motor show last month, with bi-LED headlights, LED tail-lights and alloy wheels measuring up to 18 inches highlighting the new look.

Growing in nearly all exterior dimensions, the Corolla hatch now measures 4370mm long (up 40mm), 1790mm wide (up 30mm), 1435mm wide (down 25mm) with a 2640mm wheelbase (up 40mm).

Corolla sales slipped last year, with 37,353 examples sold to the end of 2017, representing a 7.4 per cent decrease over the 40,330 deliveries made in 2016.

Nevertheless, the Corolla was the best-selling passenger car in Australia, outpointing its Mazda3 rival by 4663 units, but fell short of the top-selling HiLux (47,093) and Ford Ranger (42,728) pick-ups.

Local specification and pricing for the Corolla hatch will be confirmed closer to its launch date, while the next Corolla sedan is likely to break out in the next 12 to 18 months.

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