The only version of Australia’s best-selling passenger car to date to feature the LED headlights has been the petrol-electric Toyota Corolla Hybrid. However, Toyota has hinted the technology will trickle down to a non-hybrid, 2.0-litre petrol-engined version of the Corolla when it arrives in August to fight against the likes of the Hyundai i30, the Mazda 3 and the Holden Astra.
And in a first for Corolla, the lightweight hatchback will be made from the same material as used in Lego bricks.
“The new frontal styling with a rounded nose and trapezoidal-shaped under grille is flanked by slim bi-LED headlamps that wrap deep into the front fenders,” Toyota said in a release outlining how the new Corolla would be equipped globally – Aussie specifications are expected a bit closer to its launch here.
“All models feature an electronic parking brake and two front USB outlets while sound systems include an available JBL premium audio with Clari-Fi technology that analyses, rebuilds and restores audio signals that were lost in the digital compression process,” it said.
“Grade-dependent features include single-zone manual air-conditioning or dual-zone automatic climate control, paddle shifters and 4.2-inch or 7.0-inch thin-film transistor multi-information displays.”
The new Corolla, which sits lower, wider and longer than the model it replaces, will include a larger 2.0-litre engine that Toyota claims will save fuel over the current 103kW/173Nm 1.8-litre four-cylinder unit by offering more torque across a wider range of revs. It means the new engine won’t have to work as hard as the one it displaces.
It will also introduce a clever update to the continuously variable transmission that adds what the car maker calls a “launch” gear that acts like a conventional manual gearbox when launching the Corolla from a standing start – the place where CVTs are traditionally lacking performance.
The new 2.0-litre engine is smaller and lighter than the 1.8 that powers the current Corolla, while the CVT uses smaller pulleys and a more angled vee belt to improve its responsiveness. A six-speed manual gearbox – yet to be confirmed for the Corolla – is also smaller and lighter than the current unit, and includes a rev-matching feature adapted from the Hilux trade ute that smooths out downshifts, such as when you’re slowing down for a set of traffic lights.
The 1.8-litre engine will be offered alongside the 2.0-litre version.
The 2018 Corolla shifts across to a new platform called the Toyota New Global Architecture that it will share with the petrol-electric Prius, the fully imported Camry, and the C-HR compact SUV. The platform will also soon sit underneath the next-generation RAV4 midsize SUV.
TNGA’s benefit is that it is likely to make the Corolla much more fun to drive than previous versions of the small hatchback, introducing an element of fun that it has largely lacked of late.
The 2018 Toyota Corolla will be revealed in full at this week’s New York Motor Show.