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The Corolla has remained a core model in Toyota’s global line-up and the world’s best-selling nameplate; it has evolved for more than fifty years, with the first model appearing in 1966 and it has kept pace with the changing needs of customer tastes and has taken on new technologies for safety, comfort and convenience.

The updated model is very much a development of the current twelfth generation range and with the introduction of the company’s fifth generation hybrid electric technology, 1.8 and two litre electrified powertrains that offer increased power and a more rewarding drive, yet with improved efficiency. Total power from the 1.8 litre system is 138bhp, which means a 1.8 second reduction in the rest to 100kph (62mph) time to 9.1 seconds. For the two litre system, total output has risen to 193bhp and half a second has been shaved from the rest to 100kph (62mph) time, taking it down to 7.4 seconds. CO2 emissions are from 100g/km for the 1.8 litre and 98g/km for the two litre. The new model is equipped as standard with the latest Toyota Smart Connect+ multimedia system, with faster response and greater functionality, plus a fully digital, customisable 12.3 inch combimeter. Also major advances in the Toyota Safety Sense active safety and driver assistance systems, with new and enhanced features that recognise and help the driver avoid a wider range of everyday driving hazards. These safety and multimedia functions are future proofed, with software updates deliverable over-the-air via the car’s data communications module.

The Corolla gains a more refined and contemporary appearance with changes to the front grille mesh pattern, fog lights and alloy wheels. Depending on the market some models gain new multi-LED headlights with an Adaptive High-beam System (AHS). A new lighting signature combines seamless daytime running lights and turn indicators in a single J-shaped unit that wraps around the headlight unit. The exterior paint choices include vibrant new colours inspired by current trends in design and fashion and some models can be specified with a bi-tone paint finish, combining the body colour with a contrast black roof, pillars and rear spoiler. I always say that alloy wheels add a lot to the look of a car, and thankfully few steel wheels are seen nowadays. The latest Corolla does not disappoint in this department, new design alloy wheels are introduced, 16, 17 or 18 inch depending on the model. Moving to the interior and welcome news, it is more modern and premium with new graphics, trims and embossed patterns that add three-dimensional depth and tactile appeal to the upholsteries, surfaces and finishes. The trim and seat upholstery combinations follow new dark and light themes with co-ordinated colours and finishes to give the cabin a contemporary and elegant feel. LEDs are now used for all the interior lights, giving added brightness but using less power.

Further welcome news, the advances made with the fifth generation hybrid system include improvements in drivability; the driver experiences a better relationship between the use of the throttle and vehicle response is more consistent, predictable with controllable performance and a better acceleration feel makes for more confident driving. This has largely been achieved by calibrating the throttle better to suit familiar driving scenarios, such as stop-start traffic and frequent changes in speed limits. The acceleration also adapts to up and downhill driving, synchronising the engine speed with the driver’s inputs to give a more natural feel and easier drive. Running at lower rpm also makes the system quieter when driving at highway speeds.

Offering a choice of bodystyles, the Corolla in its latest guise will continue to appeal to a wide variety of drivers; particularly in Ireland where it has been a firm favourite for many years.

Ian Lynas

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