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New 2019 Toyota Corolla prototype review

Model: Toyota Corolla 2.0 Hybrid
Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl petrol-electric hybrid
Power: 177bhp
Transmission: CVT auto, front-wheel drive
 0-62mph: 7.9 seconds
Top speed : 112mph
Economy/CO2: 74.3mpg/86g/km (NEDC correlated)
 On sale: February 2019

 The new car is based on the same TNGA chassis architecture that has impressed us in the Prius and the C-HR crossover. And sure enough, it’s available in the UK only as a hybrid; unlike with the C-HR, there’s no conventional petrol option, and don’t even ask about a diesel. All UK Corollas will be automatics, too, because Toyota’s hybrid system isn’t designed to be used with a manual gearbox. The new Corolla’s looks are definitely sharper than those of the Auris - helped, no doubt, by shorter front and rear overhangs, a 25mm lower roofline and an increase in overall width of about 30mm. It’s 40mm longer than an Auris too, although all of this has been inserted into the wheelbase in a bid to improve cabin space. For the first time, this Toyota hybrid is being offered with a choice of power outputs. The entry point uses a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, an evolution of the set-ups in the Prius and C-HR. In the Corolla it produces 121bhp, enough to take the five-door hatchback from 0-62mph in a respectable 10.9 seconds, and on to a top speed of 112mph. The efficiency figures are pretty impressive too;

Toyota’s figures are based on the tougher WLTP fuel tests and then correlated back to the outgoing NEDC system, but on that basis, this is still a car that returns 83.1mpg and emits 76g/km of CO2. The confirmed WLTP figure should dip under 100g/km. TNGA lends itself to driving fun to a far greater extent than the old Auris’s platform, though (the bare chassis is 60 per cent stiffer), so Toyota is also the offering the Corolla with a higher-powered hybrid configuration. It’s based on a 2.0-litre engine, and incorporates a ‘stepped’ transmission with six ratios - or levels of revs, frankly - that can be controlled using paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. It brings a non-inconsequential 177bhp to the table, slashing three seconds off the regular car’s 0-62mph time, but the top speed stays the same and there is a resulting hit in efficiency, so fuel economy drops to 74.3mpg and CO2 emissions rise to 86g/km.
These are still excellent figures for a five-door family hatchback, of course - and well under what you’d find on any of the cars Toyota considers as rivals for the 2.0, such as the 1.5-litre 148bhp VW Golf DSG.
The suspension configuration is MacPherson struts at the front and a double-wishbone set-up at the rear, and Toyota is also offering the Corolla with adaptive dampers that can operate in a number of different modes. Our first chance to try the car in Europe, though, comes with a 2.0 model on regular suspension and 18-inch wheels. 2.0 Corolla has real potential; at 70mph you’ll frequently find the engine switched off completely, and when it does feel the need to kick in it’s generally smooth enough to be drowned out by tyre roar.

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