The Toyota Corolla has been a feature of the Australian motoring scene for half a century and has been the top-selling passenger car here for the past few years despite the influx of arguably better newcomers.
It’s available in hatch and roomier sedan body shapes with a hybrid powertrain introduced as an alternative to the 103kW/173Nm 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine that powers the rest of the range. CVT auto is available across the range, with some models also offering a six-speed manual.
There are five main specification levels starting with the Ascent priced from $20,190 for the manual hatch, with a premium added if you want it with a CVT auto, or in sedan form.
Standard features in the Ascent hatch includes cruise control, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps. There’s also an optional safety pack for around $780 with auto emergency braking, lane departure alert, forward collision warning, and auto dipping headlights.
The Ascent sedan has a bigger 7.0-inch touchscreen with Toyota Link infotainment system, but fitted with smaller 15-inch steel wheels. The safety sense option in the sedan is only available in conjunction with 15-inch alloy wheels for $1571.
The Ascent Sport is a hatch-only model with a few extras over the Ascent hatch including 16-inch alloy wheels, premium feel steering wheel, and the Ascent sedan’s 7.0-inch touchscreen system. Satellite navigation is optional for about $1040, or around $1800 when bundled with Safety Sense pack.
The mid-spec Corolla SX comes in hatch and sedan form, though there are some differences between the two. The SX hatch only comes with the CVT auto and features 17-inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation, paddle gear shifters, sports front seats, and sporty body kit.
The SX sedan on the other hand comes with a CVT or manual option and keyless entry, but lacks the hatchback’s sports seats and is shod with smaller 16-inch alloys.
The Hybrid hatch has the fuel saving battery assisted hybrid powertrain, which features the same 1.8-litre engine as the other models. It has similar features to the Ascent Sport, including 16-inch alloy wheels and plush cloth seats, as well as a string of extras including dual-zone air-conditioning, satellite navigation, keyless entry and start, and LED headlights with daytime running lights. It also has a different suspension setup to the conventional models with a double-wishbone design that improves grip and stability. There is no manual hybrid hatch.
The Corolla range is topped by the sporty ZR hatch and sedan which also lack a manual option. The hatch gets the sportier wheels and tyres from the SX, and the hybrid hatch’s extra features. Its heated sports seats are trimmed in a combination of real and fake leather, and the driver’s seat has power-adjustable lumbar support. It also comes with the Safety Sense pack as standard, which is an option in all the other models. You can also add a panoramic roof for around $1600.
The ZR sedan is similarly equipped as the hatch, but gains eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat though only equipped with single-zone air-conditioning. The panoramic roof is not an option for the sedan.
- Corolla Ascent hatch manual - $20,190
- Corolla Ascent hatch, auto - $21,790
- Corolla Ascent sedan, manual - $21,240
- Corolla Ascent sedan, auto - $23,490
- Corolla Ascent Sport hatch, manual - $21,210
- Corolla Ascent Sport hatch, auto - $22,790
- Corolla SX hatch, auto - $26,000
- Corolla SX sedan, manual - $23,820
- Corolla SX sedan, auto - $26,070
- Corolla Hybrid hatch, auto - $27,350
- Corolla ZR hatch, auto - $30,020
- Corolla ZR sedan, auto - $31,930
The Toyota Corolla Hybrid Hatch represents exceptional value with its better suspension and state of the art powertrain that sips fuel at a rate of 4.1L/100km (combined cycle), compared to around 6.1L/100km for the similarly equipped petrol hatches.
Of the petrol-only Corollas the Ascent Sedan has decent interior space and good equipment, especially if you add the optional Safety Sense pack and more attractive alloy wheels.
- Toyota Safety Sense (all models except Accent sedan and ZR) - $784
- Toyota Safety Sense and 15 inch alloy wheels (Ascent sedan) - $1571
- Toyota Safety Sense and satellite navigation (Ascent Sport) - $1826
- Satellite navigation (Ascent Sport) - $1042
- Panoramic roof (ZR hatch) - $1597
- Premium paint - $467