By Malusi Msomi
We recently attended the launch of the refreshed Toyota Corolla Hybrid hatchback, which has received subtle updates to give it a more modern appearance.
The front air dam has been widened, and the fog lamp bezels are C-shaped, creating a wider and more aggressive front appearance, while the Xr models have chrome accent trim. Bi-LED lighting elements with larger J-shaped DRL elements are used in the headlamp clusters, and the DRL and turn-signal functions are performed by the same lighting diodes. The lower bumper diffuser has been redesigned in all-black with chrome accent trim at the corners, enhancing the model’s sporty yet elegant appearance.
When it comes to the interior, both Xs and Xr grades of the Corolla Hatch have new digital instrument clusters. The Xs models have a 7-inch display with a large centrally housed speedometer and an integrated Multi-Information Display (MID), whereas the Xr variants have a 12.3-inch digital display that spans the entire width of the panel and offers a variety of display options. Along with the traditional black trim option, a new black and red interior trim option is now available. The Xs models have fabric seats, whereas the Xr models have leather and suede sport seats.
Toyota has adopted a two-derivative approach, with the XS and XR models available in both petrol and hybrid variants. The range has done away with the manual transmission in favour of a CVT across the range. The 1.2-litre engine has been removed, leaving only the 2.0 petrol and 1.8 petrol hybrid engines on offer.
The Corolla is the first model in the Toyota range to employ the newly developed 5th generation hybrid system. The battery has been resized and weighs 14% less than the previous system, resulting in a better driving experience, improved fuel efficiency, and reduced noise, vibration and harshness. This was evident during our short launch stint.
Safety and driver assistance systems
In terms of safety, all Corolla Hatch models now include Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, the latest version of Toyota’s active safety system which includes semi-autonomous driving aids. The camera sensor resolution in the Corolla hatch has been increased and uses a wider-angle lens, and radar sensors have been enhanced to increase detection range and recognition.
As standard Toyota has also included its Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) for enhanced Rear Cross Traffic Alert and automatic braking, and a new Blind Spot Monitor with Safe Exit Assist (SEA) which uses the camera system to alert occupants of approaching obstacles when exiting the vehicle.
Corolla Hatch 1.8 Xs Hybrid – R 490 900
Corolla Hatch 1.8 Xr Hybrid – R 528 400
Corolla Hatch 1.8 Xr Hybrid Bi-tone – R 538 800
Corolla Hatch 2.0 Xr CVT – R 517 100
Corolla Hatch 2.0 Xr CVT Bi-tone – R 529 000
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