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Launched in 2020, the 12th-generation Corolla sedan adopted the striking new design language and TNGA platform shared with its hatchback sibling. Offering an all-new platform, new engines and daring design, it helped transform the ‘humble’ Corolla from stylish commuter to standout sedan.
In September 2021, a hybrid variant was added to the Corolla sedan line-up, helping bring Toyota’s pioneering hybrid technology to mainstream models.
While the 2021 model employed the familiar 4th-generation 1.8 hybrid engine (also used in the Corolla Cross), the latest iteration is powered by a 5th-generation 1.8-litre Petrol-Electric Hybrid powertrain offering enhanced performance, refinement and efficiency. A new Lithium-Ion battery with enhanced cooling capacity, sits at the core of the upgrade.
The ‘5th-gen’ hybrid engine offers a 14% increase in Total System Output – up from 90 to 103 kW (+13 kW). The existing 2.0-litre Dynamic Force engine option remains, gaining an extra 1kW and 3 Nm – for peak outputs of 126 kW and 203 Nm. Fuel consumption checks in at a modest 3.9 litres per 100 km for the Hybrid and an equally impressive 5.9 for the 2.0 petrol. CO2 emissions register at 90 and 134 g/km, respectively.
Both engine options are now exclusively paired with Toyota’s self-shifting CVT transmission, helping maximise system efficiency as well as catering to prevailing market trends.
Exterior Design Changes
The Corolla sedan maintains its eye-catching design, while subtle tweaks have been implemented to now differentiate the sedan and hatch variants. New horizontal slats in the front bumper replace the current mesh design, with revised lower moulding further differentiating the two models.
Revised headlamp clusters feature Bi-LED lighting elements with new larger, J-shaped DRL elements. For the first time, the DRL and turn-signal functions are performed by the same lighting diodes – adding a touch of visual flair.
Moving to the rear, the lower bumper diffuser has changed to an all-black design.
Corolla sedan buyers have the option of seven exterior paint finishes. The familiar neutral shades of Glacier White, Satin Silver, Celestite Grey and Platinum White Pearl are joined by Cinnabar Red, Attitude Black and Moonlight Ocean Metallic.
A revised digital instrument cluster on the Xs grade features an enlarged 7-inch Multi-Information Display (MID). Xr variants retain the existing digital instrument cluster.
A new, black and red interior trim option offers buyers additional personalisation alongside traditional black. All grades now feature leather trim.
Wheel & Tyre
Hybrid models ride on 16-inch alloy wheels shod with 205-55-R16 rubber, while the 2.0 Xr (petrol) sports stylish turbine-shaped 18-inch alloy wheels paired with 225-40-R18 tyres. Models equipped with 16-inch versions feature a full-size spare wheel while 18-inch alloys use a space saver spare.
Specification & Features
The interior lighting elements are upgraded to the LED type, providing excellent illumination and low energy use. A wireless charger has been added to all models, providing modern convenience while additional USB chargers – including Type-C format -have also been added.
Xs models feature a new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with capacitive switchgear for ease of use. Xr models boast a new generation system with Voice Recognition, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and built-in navigation functionality. Occupants can also select from different display modes and designs.
Safety & Security
Another key change is the inclusion of Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 on all Corolla models. TSS 3.0 represents the latest advancement of Toyota’s active safety system – which incorporates semi-autonomous driving aids. Camera sensor resolution is increased, while using a wider-angle lens. The radar sensors have also been enhanced helping to increase the detection range and recognition.
As before the system consists of Pre-Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Trace Assist, Auto High Beam (AHB). In addition, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Safe Exit Assist (SEA) also forms part of the Xr grade package.
Model Line-up & Pricing
The existing two-grade strategy (Xs and Xr) has been retained, creating a model matrix of 3 variants with two engine options.
Corolla 1.8 Xs Hybrid – R 502 600
Corolla 1.8 Xr Hybrid – R 521 800
Corolla 2.0 Xr CVT – R 517 100
Peace of Mind
All Corolla models are sold with a 6-services/90 000 km service plan (intervals set at 15 000 km). Petrol models carry a 3-year/100 000km warranty, while hybrid models hold an 8-year/195 000 km warranty plan. Service and warranty plan extensions can also be purchased from any Toyota dealer (220 outlets).
All Toyota models come equipped with Toyota Connect, including a complimentary 15 Gb in car Wi-Fi allocation, vehicle telematics and enhanced user features via the MyToyota app.