Auris is out, Corolla Hatch is in.
Toyota has done an about turn on the nomenclature of its new model and brought back the Corolla link after ditching it in February 2007, when the first Auris was released to compete again Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall/Opel Astra, Hyundai i30 and the Ford Focus.
With the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) chassis as its basis, the Corolla is longer and lower than its Auris predecessor. The nose features all-LED lamp clusters, with integral daytime running lights beneath the curved edge of a flatter, clamshell bonnet and narrow upper grille.
Beneath that, the trapezoidal lower grille features a new mesh design and a frame that projects forwards with a grille surround that generates Toyota’s signature ‘catamaran shape’ at the front corners of the car.
Like the front, the rear styling is more rounded than before and a 14-degree increase in the angle of the rear screen and haunches above the rear wheel arches combine to give the car a more compact appearance.
The new Corolla hatch comes in six exterior colours, including three new colours – Scarlet Metallic (Red), Oxide Bronze and Caribbean Blue.
Inside the modern cabin are new textures, colours and trims and the driver’s cockpit has a wrap-around feel with a front seat design that also optimises comfort and reduces fatigue on long journeys.
The high-grade Xr models also have slim Alcantara-covered front sports seats with wide shoulder supports that combine with solid, thick side bolsters to really grip your upper body and thighs when cornering.
The revised rear seats feature a new seat cushion material that allows for more even distribution of the occupant’s weight and, as standard, all rear seats can be folded using a remote lever to create a fully flat extension to the loadspace.
The new Corolla range is both torsionally stiffer (by 60%) and lighter, as well as offering a lower centre of gravity.
Not only does a new multilink rear suspension mean there is less intrusion in the loadspace, allowing for an increase in load volume, but handling stability, steering response and ride comfort are notably improved. The latter is also thanks to a new shock absorber valve design in both front and rear suspension systems also reduces friction by 40% resulting in a smoother and more comfortable ride.
Under the bonnet is a 1,2-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine that delivers 85 kW and a constant torque curve of 185 Nm between 1 500 r/min and 4 000 r/min through either a 6-speed manual or a new 10-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic Continiously Variable Transmission (CVT).
The engine is the same power unit found in the Toyota C-HR and it is good for a brisk 0 to 100 km/h of 9,5 seconds for the manual (10,4 for CVT) and the top speed of 200 km/h (190 for CVT). Fuel consumption has been pegged at 6,1 l/100 km for both manual and CVT variants.
The Corolla Hatch features a host of active and passive safety features. There are a total of 7 crash bags – driver and passenger, along with two side and curtain, as well as one for the driver’s knee – plus Vehicle Stability Control is standard, along with the full suite of electronic aids present (anti-lock braking, EBD, Brake Assist and Hill-assist Control). It also comes standard with ISOFIX attachment points for child seats.
All Corolla Hatch models come standard with a 6-services/90 000 km Service Plan and 3-year/100 000 km warranty. Service intervals are set at 12 months/15 000 km.
There are three models in line-up:
• Corolla Hatch 1.2T Xs 6MT – R 336 800
• Corolla Hatch 1.2T Xs CVT – R 347 400
• Corolla Hatch 1.2T Xr CVT – R 367 100