New Toyota Corolla Saloon HYBRID – The Best Of Both Worlds.

The new Toyota Corolla Saloon has arrived in Ireland with a hybrid (petrol/electric) option for the first time, and a pure petrol engine too. Toyota Ireland predicts that 90% of new Corolla sales in Ireland will be of the hybrid variety, with the pure petrol engine model having to make do with a small slice of the market. As many customers now look for an alternative to diesel, Toyota’s vast experience of developing petrol hybrids put the Japanese brand in a strong position. In the Corolla Saloon, you’re effectively getting exactly the same powertrain as the Toyota Prius, but in a more practical package.

While many car manufacturer’s have turned their backs on the traditional saloon bodystyle in favour of hatchbacks, estates and SUV’s, Toyota have carved out a niche offering in the shape of the latest-generation Corolla Saloon. Although it is a relatively small market segment here in Ireland, Toyota bosses feel that it is a market in which they can actively compete, and ultimately dominate. With demand for saloon cars surging across eastern Europe, and in countries such as Russia and India too, it may be just a matter of time before the Irish car-buying public revert to saloon bodystyles yet again.

Longer Wheelbase;

The Toyota Avensis ceased production in 2018, and the new Corolla Saloon is tasked with attracting existing Avensis customers, along with many conquest customers who are attracted by what the new Corolla Saloon has to offer in terms of stylish good looks, generous equipment levels, premium-quality refinement, and state-of-the-art technology. The saloon sits on the longer of the two Corolla wheelbases (2,700mm), and offers the same large rear cabin as the Corolla Touring Sports estate – so generous leg, head and elbow room is guaranteed.

Unique Styling;

The new Toyota Corolla Saloon is built on the same Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform as the rest of the models in the Toyota Corolla Hybrid family. However, the Saloon’s individuality within the Corolla family is reflected in its unique front and rear styling, with different bumpers, headlights and tail-lights being the most notable items. This new TNGA platform sits the powertrain 10mm lower for a corresponding drop in the car’s centre of gravity, and improved handling. The structure of the new Corolla is now 60% stiffer than the old one, and independent rear suspension is now standard. The geometry of the MacPherson struts at the front axle has also been realigned to deliver more communicative steering, leading to greater driver involvement than ever before.

Trim & Engine Options;

Four trim levels are available in the New Toyota Corolla Saloon Hybrid – Aura, Luna, Luna Sport, and range-topping Sol. While the pure petrol engine in the new Corolla Saloon is a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder unit, the petrol engine in the Hybrid has a cubic capacity of 1,798cc (1.8-litres). With the Hybrid powertrain, Toyota reckons that careful drivers will be able to complete as many as half of their urban miles using just electricity. The fact that the new Corolla Saloon is a self-charging Hybrid, this effectively means that there will be no cost to the driver when operating in full electric mode. With annual road tax of just €180, low maintenance costs, and regenerative braking helping tyres and brakes last longer, the new Corolla Saloon Hybrid should prove itself to be an excellent financial proposition. Additionally, there is no clutch to wear out due to the car’s standard CVT (single-speed automatic) gearbox.

Test Car;

My test car was a Corolla Saloon Hybrid in ‘Luna Sport’ specification, and was finished in stylish Ultra Silver metallic paint. With generous standard equipment across the entire range, my test car benefitted from 17” bi-tone black machine-faced alloy wheels, a space-saver spare wheel, rear privacy glass, piano black upper front grille, chrome insert on upper front grille, black lower front grille, black surrounds on front fog lamps, body-coloured front bumper, silver insert on front bumper, body-coloured rear bumper, chrome insert on boot door, body-coloured door mirrors, body-coloured door handles, chrome window frame, shark-fin antenna, follow-me-home headlights, dusk sensor, automatic headlight cut-off, rain sensor, remote boot door release in cabin, power-adjustable & heated door mirrors, automatically retractable door mirrors, remote door lock, underbody protection cover, drive mode selector, rear-view camera, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Road Sign Assist, Automatic High Beam, full-range Adaptive Cruise Control, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, Adjustable Speed Limiter (ASL), Emergency Brake-light Signal (EBS), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), front ventilated disc, high-mounted stop lamp (LED type), LED rear brake lights, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), rear combination lamps (LED type), Bi-beam halogen headlamps, LED daytime running lights, Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Driver Attention Alert, Lane Trace Assist, eCall emergency call system, Tyre Pressure Warning System (TPWS), Toyota Touch® 2 with ‘Go’ navigation system, and Toyota Touch® 2 multimedia system, along with many more comfort, convenience, and safety features.

On The Road;

On the road, my test car proved itself to be a relaxed car to drive – with terrific ride comfort, minimal body roll through corners, excellent composure on a variety of road surfaces, and premium-level build quality just some of the cars positive traits. With 122bhp and 142Nm of torque available, the Corolla Saloon Hybrid can sprint from 0-100km/h in 11.0-seconds, reach a top speed of 180km/h (where permitted), and is capable of consuming as little as 3.4 litres of petrol for every 100km’s driven on an urban driving cycle. On the motorway, the car is content to maintain a steady pace, as it will cruise along at 1,000rpm with the engine barely audible. At 4,630mm long and 1,780mm wide (excluding door mirrors), the Corolla Saloon commands a purposeful stance, while its slippery shape – with a drag co-efficiency (Cd) of just 0.282 – leads to minimal wind noise when on the move. The front seats offer a good range of adjustment, so you can easily get comfortable behind the wheel, while generous leg and elbow room can be enjoyed by all occupants. The ultra-modern cabin of the new Corolla Saloon Hybrid is a very pleasant place to be, with the use of light and dark colours in equal measure, soft-touch materials used in all of the important places, and excellent build quality evident throughout.

Pricing & Verdict;

 On sale now, the new Toyota Corolla Saloon Hybrid is priced from just €26,820 (ex-works), with my test car specification representing terrific value at just €29,995 (ex-works). I was extremely impressed by every aspect of the car I drove, and it is easy to see why the 12th generation of the most famous car name-plate in the world is destined to be another huge sales success. Offering enviable reliability, low running costs, comfort, refinement, and value for money, the new Corolla Saloon Hybrid is certainly ‘built for a better world’.

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