Why Lease The Toyota Corolla Hatchback?
Back in 2007, Toyota did something that now looks unexplainable. They dispensed with the world’s most recognisable automotive model nameplate – ‘Corolla’ – and changed their family hatchback offering to a car with ‘Auris’ badges. That lasted until 2018 when the 12th version of the Japanese maker’s family hatchback design was launched, a car that returned to ‘Corolla’ branding. It’s more important to note that it sits on the company’s latest TNGA ‘Toyota New Global Architecture’ platform, which means that it’s stiffer and more sophisticated than any of its predecessors.
And this time round, Toyota has taken a deep breath and dumped all the conventional engines, continuing only with self-charging full-Hybrid power. There are two electrified engine choices here, a 1.8-litre unit with 120bhp and a fresh 178bhp 2.0-litre powerplant that we’ve tried and really recommend. Both, as usual with Toyota hybrids, are mated to a belt-driven CVT auto gearbox with 6 virtual speeds. The 2.0-litre hybrid version is actually reasonably rapid, getting to 62mph in around 8 seconds.
Here, we’re looking at the Corolla hatchback that most customers of this model choose – there are also Saloon and ‘Touring Sports’ estate variants that sit on a lengthier platform. Inside the hatch, there’s a much smarter interior than Toyota has previously offered in this segment and an 8-inch ‘Toyota Touch 2’ centre stack infotainment screen that comes complete with a DAB tuner, a reversing camera and ‘Apple CarPlay’/’Android Auto’ smartphone-mirroring. There’s room for a couple of adults to sit comfortably on the back seat and you get a 361-litre boot, extendable to 1052-litres by extending the rear bench.
Running costs are satisfyingly low, a 1.8-litre hybrid model in base ‘Icon’ trim capable of up to 62.8mpg on the combined cycle and up to 101g/km of CO2.
There are five main trim levels – ‘Icon’, ‘Icon Tech’, ‘Design’, ‘Excel’ and ‘GR Sport’. Even entry-level ‘Icon’ variants are pretty well equipped, with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, dual zone air conditioning, a reversing camera and heated front seats that feature lumbar support. Plus you get the 8-inch centre dash ‘Toyota Touch 2’ screen, which includes the usual audio and smartphone-mirroring features. One of this Corolla’s strengths is its suite of Toyota Safety Sense camera safety features. These include automatic high beam, road sign assist, autonomous braking, adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist.
There are plenty of rivals in the family hatchback segment of course, but none of them feature this Toyota’s full-Hybrid engine. Competitors like Ford’s Focus, Volkswagen’s Golf, SEAT’s Leon, Skoda’s Octavia, Kia’s Ceed and the Hyundai i30 all feature mild hybrid technology, but that’s not really the same thing. Renault’s Megane, the VW Golf, the SEAT Leon and the Skoda Octavia all feature plug-in hybrid technology too – but that’s not the same thing either. Obviously, there’s a price to pay in this Toyota for its full-Hybrid tech, which means you can’t really compare this Corolla to conventionally-engined family hatch models from other brands, but if you’re prepared to pay a little more to get electrified efficiency, you’ll think the premium is money well spent.
This is the most class-competitive family hatch Toyota has offered in decades. And its full-Hybrid engine technology gives it a unique selling point.