By Clive Funizwe
Admittedly, I didn’t have much expectations from the Corolla Hatch when it was shipped in for review. In my head – it was going to be the usual Toyota ingredients. Reassuringly solid, practical, a sense of reliability and hardly inspiring. So ingredients that are very much sensible but not necessarily something that will induce goose bumps.
Enter the 1.2T XR CVT… and you’re greeted with touches of quality, style and luxury. The design theme is fresh and contemporary even though we feel the look and feel of the screen can be a bit better. I’ll touch on this later though. Overall interior is very good, a cut above actually. This includes the super comfortable alcantara seats in this range topping (at the time of writing) model. Speaking of range topping – this model gets the following features as standard on top of the already mentioned alcantara seats. It gets a rear view camera, LED headlights, heated front seats, key-less entry with a push-button start, dual-zone climate control and blind spot monitoring. All these features are optional in the VW Golf TSI Comfortline which is just shy of R23, 000 more than the 85kW 185Nm 1.2T XR which retails for R367, 100. This is testament to the value that Toyota is bringing to the table. All this made up for the screens let down. There is no android auto or apple car play. The screens look and feel can be a bit more modern and funky – but this is splitting hairs because you cannot fault it from a functionality point of view. It works and we did not encounter any glitches during out review period.
Moving onto the exterior. It remains evolutionary than revolutionary but we like the looks a lot. We did occasionally feel that the overall look made the car look slightly under-wheeled at times. However, this means that the ride quality and how it deals with bumps and uneven road surfaces remains top of the game here. Cabin refinement is absolutely brilliant. This is one quiet car. Engine noise is at an all-time low and so is the tire noise on the road. The new Toyota CVT gear box (as we have previously praised) continued to be smooth and refined as it mimics the sensation of gear changes. The changes are nearly imperceptible and we can’t recommend this transmission option enough. We also managed to get the car down to the claimed 6.1l/100kms during our highway and daily commuting in town.
Is there anything we didn’t like? Either than the already mentioned underwhelming screen – the boot capacity could be a lot better. But when you consider that Toyota South Africa is behind the decision to offer a full spare wheel and not the space saver – you understand why the boot is good for 294 litres (read that as smaller than the competition).
Either than these two aspects we’re nit-picking on, we think that the Toyota is so good a product that it’s literally knocking on the premium segments hatch backs from a quality product offering and the price is highly competitive by any measure. For any buyer in this price range – the 1.2T XR CVT is a must in the short-list of cars to test drive. We were more than impressed with this new Corolla 1.2T XR CVT.
The Corolla Hatch 1.2T XR model features a standard Toyota Service Plan for 6 services or maximum 90000km. The standard Service Plan can be extended to a maximum of 10 years through the Toyota Genuine Extended Service Plan.
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