COOL COROLLA [HATCH]
- All-new hatchback adopts Corolla naming convention
- Built on TNGA platform for excellent ride quality, handling and spaciousness
- Flexible and efficient 1.2-litre turbocharged engine
- New Multi-link rear suspension
- Expressive exterior design
The Corolla nameplate remains one of the most successful in automotive history. The name Corolla refers to a ring of petals around the central part of a flower and can also refer to a ‘small crown’ – a name that rings true as the humble ‘compact-car’ has been a jewel in the Toyota crown. Now in its 12th-generation, the Corolla badge has been affixed to coupe, sedan, hatchback, ‘liftback’ and station wagon forms.
In South Africa, the Corolla nomenclature has traditionally been applied to predominantly sedan models – with the exception of the Corolla Conquest and Avante variants of the 80’s and 90’s.
The Corolla name has been adopted globally for the new generation of Toyota’s C-segment hatchback, saloon and wagon models. On the local front this all-new hatchback model has traded the Auris badge for a Corolla one and leverages all of the inherent qualities customers have come to expect from the ‘small crown’.
EXPRESSIVE EXTERIOR DESIGN
“Our primary goal with the new Corolla was to create the boldest and most dynamic hatchback on the market, without compromising interior usability. Harnessing the low centre of gravity afforded by the TNGA layout, the vehicle is light and agile in the side view, yet as we move to the rear, the architecture transforms to create a solid, wide and low stance.” (Simon Humphries, Executive General Manager, Toyota Global Design):
The new Corolla Hatch has a more striking frontal design that is dynamic and distinctive. The car’s overall length has been increased by 40mm, all of which is contained within a longer wheelbase. Significantly, overall height has been reduced by 25mm, while the cowl height has been brought down by 47mm. The result is a sleeker shape and lower, more attractive bonnet, which in turn improves safety by increasing the driver’s field of vision.
Beneath the curved edge of a flatter, clamshell bonnet, a narrow upper grille accommodates new, all-LED lamp clusters with integral daytime running lights. The trapezoidal lower grille has a new mesh design and a frame that projects powerfully forwards. It is less sharply angular and sits more upright than before, resulting in the vehicle’s front overhang being reduced by 20mm.
The grille surround generates Toyota’s signature ‘catamaran shape’ at the front corners of the car, emphasising the 30mm increase in the car’s width and its broad, sporting stance. The upturned edges of the front spoiler house new LED fog lights.
The rear styling is more rounded than before, strengthening the visual relationship with the front of the vehicle. The tailgate is made of a resin material, which makes the complex curves of its design possible, while also saving weight.
A 14-degree increase in the angle of the rear screen and muscular haunches above the rear wheel arches combine to give the car a more compact appearance. All versions of the hatchback feature a roof spoiler and shark fin antenna.
The car’s width is emphasised by the all-LED light clusters being located as far to the edge as possible, while the rear bumper styling echoes the ‘catamaran’ look of the front. A lower rear lip features a black-out design matching the front.
Six exterior colours are available including three new colours – Scarlet Metallic (Red), Oxide Bronze and Caribbean Blue.
SENSUOUS MINIMALISM INTERIOR DESIGN
Having already demonstrated their expertise on C-HR, a dedicated Toyota Motor Europe Sensory Quality team was assigned to oversee interior quality in the new Corolla. Working in close co-operation with stylists and engineers, they analysed and visualized the whole interior, taking into account not only colours, grades and executions, but also details such as light intensity and direction.
The new Corolla Hatch range showcases an all-new interior that presents a spacious, modern and cohesive cabin environment in which new textures, colours and trims combine to offer the highest levels of visual and tactile quality.
A new instrument panel, 24mm slimmer than in the current model, is key to generating a sense of spaciousness. The resulting reduction in the height of the upper panel improves the driver’s forward visibility, while still allowing for the front seat hip point to be lowered and brought closer to the car’s centre of gravity, lending a more engaging driving position.
Conversely, the centre console has been made 42mm wider and 22mm higher to improve switchgear and gear-lever ergonomics and enhance the wrap-around feel of the driver’s cockpit. At the same time, the console armrest height has been optimized and its sliding range has been increased to improve comfort.
The sporty front seat design has been revised to optimize comfort and reduce fatigue on long journeys. High-grade Xr models have new front sports seats with thin and wide shoulder supports which overlap solid, thick side bolsters to achieve excellent holding performance in an overall slim seat design.
The rear seats have also been revised, with a new seat cushion material that allows for more even distribution of the occupant’s weight. As standard, all rear seats can be folded using a remote lever to create a fully flat extension to the load space.
The materials and trim finishes have high visual and tactile quality, including satin chrome plating and paint, piano black elements, high-quality fabric seating and an Alcantara-leather combination on the flagship model.
TOYOTA NEW GLOBAL ARCHITECTURE
The Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) is the foundation for all Toyota’s future powertrain and vehicle development, bringing a new consistency to the driving quality experienced across the entire Toyota model range. TNGA is a philosophy, not simply a platform, marking a revolution in the way the company designs, engineers and manufactures its vehicles. It is central to Toyota’s mission to build ever-better cars that are more stylish and more enjoyable and even safer to drive.
TNGA introduces new, defined guidelines for positioning different components, simplifying vehicle design in key areas. The impact is on items that are largely out of sight, so designers still had the freedom to give each new Corolla version a distinctive, individual look with a lower stance and more appealing proportions.
The TNGA GA-C platform guarantees a more rewarding driving experience, thanks to a centre of gravity lowered by 10mm (bonnet height -47mm, front and rear hip points -24 and -26mm respectively), multi-link rear suspension as standard and a 60 per cent more rigid body shell, with high-strength steel reinforcement in key areas. All these factors contribute to better handling and stability, without compromising ride and comfort. All new TNGA-based vehicles prioritize the highest active and passive safety standards. The new Corolla is designed to meet the exacting requirements of independent crash testing programmes.
The new GA-C platform brings considerable dynamic benefits to the new Corolla range, together with marked improvements in ergonomics and the driver’s view from the wheel.
Rigid and lightweight TNGA body shell
The body shell makes extensive use of aluminium, high-tensile strength steel and hot-stamped materials, and the thickness of the doors and roof panel has been reduced. The result is a considerable reduction in weight and a consequent improvement in fuel efficiency.
Using adhesives and more extensive spot welding has helped increase body rigidity by around 60 per cent compared to the previous generation model. This helps achieve a notable increase in handling agility, steering responsiveness and high-speed stability.
Handling and agility are further improved by a lower engine mounting height, a lower hip point for the seats and the location of the hybrid battery beneath the rear seats. These measures have helped lower the car’s centre of gravity by 10mm.
The new Corolla uses a proven Macpherson strut front suspension and an all-new multilink system at the rear. The front suspension geometry has been revised and the characteristics of the coil springs and shock absorbers have been optimized for a linear steering response in mid- to high-speed cornering. Changes have been made to the suspension arms and bushes and friction in the sliding parts has been reduced to minimize transmission of shock from rough surfaces, securing high-quality ride comfort.
The compact packaging of the new multilink rear suspension means there is less intrusion in the load space, allowing for an increase in load volume. It also delivers excellent handling stability and ride comfort, supported by an exclusive coil-spring design. Link-arm location has been precisely determined to keep the tyres at a toe-in angle, both during cornering and under braking, improving the vehicle’s stability and response to steering inputs.
Both front and rear suspension systems benefit from a new shock absorber valve design which provides a 40 per cent reduction in friction for a smoother and more comfortable ride.
Rolling stock comprise 16-inch alloy wheels which provide excellent ride comfort.
A further benefit of the GA-C platform is the freedom it gives to design a highly aerodynamic body, thanks to the reduction in overall vehicle height and the significant reduction in the height of the bonnet.
Improved noise and vibration
The new Corolla Hatch benefits from measures that minimize the amount of noise and vibration entering the cabin. The engine installation is designed to minimize vibration at start-up and idling speeds. The increase in engine speed at the start of acceleration has been suppressed, to achieve both a more linear relationship between engine and vehicle speeds and quieter operation.
There is generous application of sound-absorbing and insulating material in the engine bay and a triple-layered dashboard inner silencer to minimize the amount of engine and transmission noise reaching the cabin. Other measures include the adoption of an integral floor silencer, increased use of body sealer in the panel gaps and the installation of foam material in numerous parts of the body frame to reduce wind and road noise intrusion.
A single engine variant – the 1.2-litre turbocharged ‘four’ from the C-HR crossover - has been adopted for the range. The 1.2T engine uses advanced technologies that allow the engine to change from the Otto-cycle to the Atkinson cycle under low loads. To this, the 1.2T adds the D-4T direct injection system, VVTi-W, high compression ratio as well as a water-cooled turbo and heat-exchanger.
Displacing 1,197cm3, the engine delivers 85kW and a constant torque curve of 185 Nm between 1,500 and 4,000 rpm. 0 to 100 km/h comes up in 9.5 seconds for the manual (10.4 for CVT) and the top speed is set at 200 km/h (190 for CVT).
Fuel consumption has been pegged at 6.1 litres per 100km for both manual and CVT variants. CO2 emissions weigh in at 141 and 140 g/km for manual and CVT models respectively.
The Corolla Hatch is available in two types of transmission – manual or CVT. The 6-speed manual is equipped with Toyota’s intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) functionality. This user-selectable system performs rev-matching downshifts, minimizes the likelihood of stalling and smoothest upshifts – making for an effortless driving experience.
A new 10-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) provides self-shifting capabilities whilst the manual mode activates 10 pre-programmed shift steps to simulate conventional gear ratios. It also features a new mechanical launch gear to promote brisk off-the-line acceleration and create a more direct feel when setting off.
GRADE STRATEGY AND SPECIFICATION
A simple two-grade strategy has been adopted for the Corolla Hatch; mid-grade Xs and high-grade Xr. The standard specification level for the Xs-grade is generous with comfort and convenience features such as LED lights with LED DRL, Dual-zone Climate Control, Smart Entry (keyless access), Cruise Control, Power-operated heated exterior mirrors, colour Multi-Information Display (MID), Reverse Camera, one-touch power windows and speed-sensitive door locking.
An electronic parking brake works ultra-intuitively, automatically engaging when turning off the vehicle and disengages based on throttle and transmission input when setting off. A dedicated Hold function is also present which lengthens the hill-holding period. To this point, a Hill-Assist function is natively built into the system.
The Xr variant builds upon this foundation and adds Sport front seats in a leather and Alcantara combination, power-adjustable driver lumbar support and seat-heating function for driver and passenger. Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) completes the Xr package.
SAFETY AND SENSIBILITY
The Corolla Hatch features a host of active and passive safety features. Airbags are provided in Driver, Passenger, Side, Curtain and Driver Knee locations. Vehicle Stability Control is standard with the full suite of electronic aids present (ABS, EBD, Brake Assist and Hill-assist Control). ISOFIX attachment points are also supplied.
A simplified three-model line-up comprises the following:
- Corolla Hatch 1.2T Xs 6MT
- Corolla Hatch 1.2T Xs CVT
- Corolla Hatch 1.2T Xr CVT
WARRANTY AND SERVICE PLAN
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.