Appeared in 2018, the twelfth generation of Corolla is a great commercial success. In France, last year, nearly 17,000 copies were sold, which makes it the fourth best-selling compact sedan behind the Renault Mégane, the Citroën C4, the Peugeot 308. It is even ahead, the Volkswagen Golf and the Mercedes A-Class. And the same is true for the first five months of the year. A great success, even if it should be noted that it is the break called Touring Sports which arouses the most interest since it represents 57% of sales.
The GR versions gain specific shields, again camouflaged here.
Four years after its debut, the Corolla is now benefiting from a restyling, but given the enthusiasm it aroused, Toyota decided not to transform it in terms of style. Thus, the only changes relate to the “GR” sports versions which adopt new front and rear bumpers.
Inside, the transformations are more significant and the Corolla gains in modernity. It thus adopts a fully configurable 12.3-inch digital instrumentation whose ergonomics remain quite complex and a 10.25-inch multimedia screen against 8 previously. No revolution, but the changes are noticeable. The design of the dashboard remains classic but pleasant and the same goes for the quality.
Small trunk and reduced rear roominess, here are undoubtedly the weak points of the Corolla, in particular in sedan.
Logically, the practical aspects do not evolve whether for the sedan or the station wagon. It’s a shame because these are not the strong points of the Corolla, in particular the sedan, due to a very average habitability and a reduced loading volume with only 361 liters for the 1.8 and even 313 liters, i.e. lowest values in the category very close even to a city car. The station wagon mitigates these defects due to an extended wheelbase which allows it to gain legroom but also the trunk with a capacity of 581 litres.
Who says restyling, also implies enrichment of the equipment. Thus, Toyota has improved the package of driving aids and in particular the anti-collision system with new functions such as a side collision avoidance device.
But it is at the level of the engine cover, that it is necessary to turn to find the biggest evolutions. Thus, the 1.8 engine sees its cumulative power increase, going from 122 hp to 140 hp (+14%), while the 2.0 engine goes from 184 hp to 196 hp (+6%). These power increases allow the Toyota to improve its performance. Equipped with the new 1.8 engine, the Toyota Corolla goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.2 seconds against 10.9 seconds previously. Note that the C02 emissions of this version are unchanged at 102 g/km. With the 2.0 hybrid engine, 100 km/h is reached in 7.5 seconds, a gain of half a second, while CO2 emissions should decrease by 3 g/km to 107 g/km. Toyota has mainly modified the electronics with a lighter but above all 14% more powerful battery compared to the previous one. Thanks to this, Toyota gives more coherence to its range with a Corolla which stands out more easily from the Yaris Cross and especially the 2.0 thus provided, appears to be better suited for the Corolla Cross, the future compact SUV version, which will arrive on next year.
Before more complete tests in early 2023, we had the opportunity to take control of version 1.8, which represents the majority of sales (72%) in France. The Corolla has always been fun to drive, but it suffered from its CVT gearbox, which was too noisy during the acceleration phases. Good news, the 2023 vintage mitigates these flaws! Thus, in town, the operation of the box is carried out in complete transparency as was the case before. On the faster network (motorways or national), this is where the progress is clearly the most visible. So yes, the transmission is still heard, but it’s much more bearable.
Thanks to the more powerful battery (value unknown at the moment) and a more reactive and sensitive accelerator pedal, accelerations gain in tonicity by returning to the height or even overtaking the competition. The approval improves significantly especially as the behavior of this Corolla is still as good, even if the GR versions will be slightly firmer. Body movements are well controlled and comfort is very good. The compact is therefore positioned in the high average of the segment, even if we would have liked a little more dynamism. This small defect is compensated by the frugality of the mechanics. Thus, on a route – admittedly not very demanding – in the Brussels region, we recorded an excellent average of 4.8 l/100 km.
This 2023 vintage does not transform the Corolla. Quite the contrary. The Japanese compact, which has enjoyed great success, does not transform its exterior style, modernizes its interior presentation and above all optimizes its hybrid system with more power and enhanced pleasure. At a time when Honda has just unveiled a particularly convincing new Civic, the innovations brought to the Corolla come at just the right time. Pricing is not yet known. It will go on sale in February 2023.