If you are of a certain age, you will remember the Toyota Corolla advertisements from the early nineties with the tagline ‘Corolling Along’. Style, space and a fuel-efficient engine were the order of the day thirty years ago and the same can be said today about the current generation Toyota Corolla.
Available with either a petrol or hybrid engine, the current Toyota Corolla crop is perfectly suited to urban living and I recently drove the ZR Hybrid with a two-tone roof for added style. This variant is powered by a 1.8 litre, 4-cylinder VVT-i engine with Toyota Hybrid system and produces a modest 72kW and 142Nm driven through the front wheels. The claimed combined fuel economy is just 4.2L/100km and for my week I only used 5.5L/100km. With the current fuel prices in mind, it is also worth noting that Toyota recommends the use of 91RON petrol across the Corolla range.
The hybrid system offers a dedicated EV mode that can be used driving at low-speeds, but under normal driving conditions the hybrid system is balancing power and economy needs to maximise the kilometres you get from each tank full of petrol. There are three drive modes, Normal, Power and Eco drive modes and apart from the laggy CVT gearbox, I found the drive experience to be middle of the road and not just because that’s where we have to drive at the moment to avoid pot holes.
The leather accented/Ultrasuede accented sports front bucket seats are comfortable and nice looking thanks to do the dual use of materials. Both front seats are heated and the driver’s seat gets power adjustment for recline, seat height, forward/back and 2-way lumbar, but no memory positions. The passenger seat only has manual recline and forward/back adjustment.
The 8″ colour touchscreen display comes with satellite navigation with SUNA traffic channel in the ZR and all models get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can enjoy your music from AM/FM, DAB, USB, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on the 8-speaker JBL audio speakers. To connect to the infotainment system there is one 12V outlet and one USB port under the arm rest and at the front of the centre console there is another USB port along with wireless charging for compatible devices.
For convenience the voice control is accessed via on the steering wheel that has a masculine looking silhouette on it. The voice control worked well for to change the media sources, make phones calls and entering a destination on the sat nav, but this did have to be completed in steps rather than saying the whole address in one command.
From a styling perspective I wasn’t keen on the bulky looking dash and I though the rigid cup holders in the centre console might not be that great at holding some cups/bottles. But the leather accented steering wheel, 7″ multi-information digital driver’s dash and head up display are a plus for the driver.
I found that the rear seats had just enough head and leg room for me, however taller individuals may find them tight. For younger passengers the Corolla has two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points but only enough room for two car seats due to the car width. The centre seat folds down as an arm rest folds with two rigid cup holders in the front of it. Also, there is a drink bottle holder at the front of the door arm rests. I prefer this location for children to access over the standard cubby usually located towards the bottom of the door on most cars. Rear passengers get two central air vents with manual speed and on/off control, no USB ports but does have a mat over the entire rear floor to protect the carpet.
The boot is manually opened with power some assistance and large enough for the weekly shop or a pram and the small shop and if extra room is required the rear seats have a 40:60 split fold mechanism. There are four tie down points, two hooks and a tyre repair kit under the boot floor. The lack of a spare tyre means the ZR Hybrid boot is 116 litres larger than the other models in the Corolla range, 333 compared to 217 litres.
All current Corolla hatch models have a 5-star ANCAP (2018) safety rating with an Adult Occupant Protection Score of 96% (36.67 points out of 38) and a Child Occupant protection score of 83% (40.91 points out of 49). There are seven airbags protecting passengers with front, front side, full length curtain airbags and driver’s knee airbag.
ANCAP tests of the autonomous emergency braking system showed GOOD performance in highway speed scenarios, while lane support system testing showed ADEQUATE results and the overall ANCAP score for Safety Systems is 76%. The lane support systems on the Corolla ZR Hybrid include Lane Trace Assist, Lane Departure Alert with steering assist, All-speed Active Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The ZR Hybrid also has Automatic lights with Automatic High Beam, automatic wipers, and a standard reversing camera with front and rear sensors.
All new Toyota models are covered by a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty that covers any part, panel and accessory made by Toyota. Maintain your annual service schedule, and Toyota will extend your engine and driveline warranty from five to seven years (Conditions apply). Toyota will increase the standard guarantee on your new Hybrid battery to up to 10 years as long as you undertake your annual inspection as part of routine maintenance according to the vehicle logbook (Conditions apply). The Corolla service interval is 12 months or 15,000km which ever occurs first and the first five services cost $205 each.
The Corolla has been with us for generations and Toyota continues to improve the Corolla’s core attributes of safety and efficiency as vehicle technology improves. The other great thing about the Corolla ZR Hybrid is the price, it starts at $34,695 plus on-roads costs. As tested with Black roof/ Silver pearl Premium paint, two tone option ($1350) my Corolla was $36,045 plus on-road costs. Visit your preferred Toyota dealer so you can also go Corolling along.
|Fuel efficient engine||Laggy CVT gearbox|
|Mat across the rear floor||Bulky-looking dash|
|Largest boot in the Corolla hatch range||No spare tyre, only a tyre repair kit|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.