With over 50 million units, the Toyota Corolla is the best-selling car in the world. In the USA alone it is one of the most popular car models, in Europe this model designation has been paused for a good 13 years and was sold as the Auris. With the version updated since 2018, it has the original name again. Since then, the golf opponent has been called Corolla again. With the GR, which has been available since 2022, Toyota wants to set the tone in terms of sportiness and equipment. In the test we look at the most interesting details.
In an older Toyota commercial, the full hybrid model drives past an electric car waiting at the charging station at the end of the commercial with a smiling driver, a comparison that ends up being a bit questionable. A full hybrid drive is definitely a car based on an internal combustion engine. At Toyota, the full hybrid, as a more traditional core of the brand messages, will probably continue to determine the sales program for a few years to come. And at the latest with the end of the environmental bonus this year, the full hybrid models will move more into focus.
With the new model, Toyota, as a Golf competitor, relies on an all-round vehicle with many practical details for everyday use and also appeals to long-distance drivers with the latest full hybrid drive. In the 2023 test we drive the spacious touring model. Technically, Toyota uses the classic chassis with MacPherson struts and a multi-link rear axle for improved driving comfort.
Toyota Corolla sales figures in Europe
2.0 l full hybrid technology
For some buyers, the suitability for long-distance journeys and the independence from the charging station are still decisive purchase incentives. Our test car uses the typical full hybrid configuration with a combustion engine and an electric motor for purely electric short trips. The Corolla TS has been available with a more powerful drive since early 2023. This configuration is primarily aimed at frequent drivers as an alternative to diesel. The sporty GR variant is equipped with a four-cylinder petrol engine with 152 hp and a 113 hp electric motor. The GR thus achieves a system output of 196 hp (144 kW). The starting price for this configuration as a GR Sport is 39.640 euros with a lavish range of assistance systems or details such as partial leather seats, an easily configurable sound system or the matrix LED light.
The basic principle of Toyota is an extensively preconfigured variant, the scope for further customization is limited. It is striking that extras are often only available in equipment packages.
Long-distance test - semi-autonomous driving
In the current models, Toyota relies on the latest generation of the "Toyota Safety Sense safety systems". The aim is to avoid collisions in different traffic situations. A single-lens camera and a millimeter wave radar serve as the basis for traffic monitoring.
The position for controlling the adaptive cruise control is optimally integrated directly at hand height on the steering wheel. It is then simply operated using the right thumb. Activation takes place via a pressure point and takes about 2 seconds. Then “Radar ready” appears in the central display. The speed is then also set using two pressure points on the right-hand side of the steering wheel. The distance to the vehicle in front can be set in three stages.
In the latest generation, adaptive driving is also actively possible in slow city traffic or in traffic jams on the motorway at speeds of 0-30 km / h. If the car comes to a standstill, light pressure on the accelerator is enough to reactivate the automated cruise control. In combination with traffic sign recognition, even the maximum permitted speed can be adjusted directly at the touch of a button.
When driving on the motorway, the hybrid drive in combination with the planetary gear has some technical limitations. When accelerating, the dynamics and interior noise have also been improved compared to the previous version. The touring model accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in sport mode in around seven and a half seconds. With the help of the shift paddles on the steering wheel, you can switch through the "virtual" gears and influence the speed level while driving. In the combination of both engines, the combustion engine switches off in many situations, typical of which are driving downhill, braking or taxiing to a red traffic light.
In everyday use, the tightly designed suspension makes a good impression, and the steering gives good feedback on the road surface. The larger track width and the longer wheelbase achieve greater driving comfort compared to the predecessor. The electric drive cannot be switched on directly, but you can read from the rev counter whether the electric motor is working. Don't be fooled by the consumption data of 5,3 liters Super specified in the brochure. In fact, we were only able to achieve a consumption of between 5 and 6 liters in summer outside temperatures in ECO mode with the E mode constantly switched on. In the sporty driving modes, the consumption values are beyond 6 liters.
Practical details are provided in the interior. The trunk is easy to load and has a separate storage compartment thanks to a divided floor. Mainly utensils can be stored here that you want to take with you all the time while driving. A light strip illuminates the trunk comprehensively and the split rear backrest can be folded down remotely.
The space in the interior is now more generous and the space in the rear has also been increased thanks to a wider wheelbase. In terms of workmanship, the Corolla is now equipped with higher quality. The materials and the design of the controls are more ergonomic. All information and setting areas are summarized in the information display on the center console. The display resolution and the presentation are designed more for functional use. However, the functions are called with a slight delay.
The front seats can be adjusted several times and offer good lateral support. The central display is clearly laid out and offers an individual representation of the middle display via the buttons on the left steering wheel. You can choose between driving information and transferring content from the info display.
The new top-of-the-line Corolla GR models are characterized by better performance when accelerating and overtaking. Compared to the previous models, it drives quieter and more relaxed and offers a good amount of space. The consumption values in practice are mainly influenced by the selected driving mode. The new driving assistance systems offer a wide range of relief for the driver, especially on long journeys.
Test from summer 2023
How do you like the Toyota station wagon?
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