Corolla Hybrid

Buzzing about Jozi outs very best of Corolla Xr Hybrid

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A trip to Jozi a few weeks back required a fair bit of running around. So we were more than happy when Toyota handed us a Corolla 1.8 Hybrid Xr for our time there. Not only did this white Uber spec machine allow us to cruise around incognito, but it also slammed home just how effective hybrid motoring is in the city.

It’s already significant that Toyota’s world bestselling medium sedan now kicks off with bargain basement Hybrid models. Hybrid model cars traditionally came at a premium. No more. Now not only has Toyota upped the ante by delivering this more powerful 103 KW Hybrid Corolla, but a 500 grand petrol electric option is also the entry models to the range.


Slick, smart Corolla Xr cockpit

Not that there’s much entry level once you step inside. Ours was the step-up Xr model so it comes with it all. Its more an executive sedan in there these days anyway. Those erstwhile concerns of a dash that looked like an elephant’s bum lying on its side are long confined to history. This latest Corolla’s cabin is well presented, smart and slick.

No there’s even LED interior lighting in the silver and black finished black trim cabin the plain black. The easy to read dials gain a bigger 7-inch multi-Info display, while new capacitive switchgear CarPlay, Auto and built-in navigation functional 8-inch touchscreen infotainment gains different display modes.


Hybrid for the masses is big news

Ours had voice recognition, wireless phone charging and additional USB ports including a C jack for those of us blighted with MacBooks. Any accessory cable will be useful. Add Toyota Connect telematics, and the rest. Look, it’s sharp face was also tweaked and looks important enough, but you can happily hide amongst the bland Ubers. But Corolla is great inside.

The big news here is hybrid for the masses. Now with 14 percent more engine power for a 13% hike in total output, this new fifth-gen hybrid engine jumps thirteen kilowatts from 90 to 103 kW. Fuel consumption drops to a measly 3.9 litres at 81 g/km CO2.


Corolla Xr Hybrid thrives in the city

That thanks to the brand new fifth-generation 1.8-litre Petrol-Electric Hybrid powertrain’s enhanced performance, refinement, and efficiency. Core to the upgrade, the electric motor is also powered by new Lithium-Ion battery with enhanced cooling capacity. Like all Corollas now, the Hybrid retains Toyota’s step-shift-capable CVT transmission.

This latest hybrid system’s extra grunt is evident on the road. Both in the butt and on the fuel readout. We drove all around Jo’burg, in every kind of urban driving and until we got on the freeway, it delivered mid-3 litre per hundred economy. So if your school or daily commute is bumper to bumper, it’s pretty well unbeatable.


Easy to live with in so many ways

If the freeway is flowing, the economy suffers a little, so our overall average exactly matched Toyota’s claims. The fuel gauge took 150 km of urban driving to even budge. Corolla Hybrid goes well enough too, we’d even go as far as to say it’s brisk. Even if that CVT drone can get your goat.

The Toyota Corolla Xr sedan is easy to live with in other ways too. We enjoyed the intuitive infotainment, dials, and energy flow dioramas on both the dash and centre screen in the sharp and smart cabin. The climate control keeps you fresh and its comfy in there too. Access front and rear was easy, even for physically challenged passengers. The boot is huge.

We’ve always liked this latest Corolla. Now its smarter, sharper, and still well-priced. Not least of all, this Xr Hybrid model delivers otherworldly economy on the commute, which is where most people drive every day. Yes, it certainly is a city slicker. So much so that were on more than one pedestrian hailed us thinking we were their Uber! – Michele Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Corolla 1.8 Hybrid Xr
Engine: 103 kW 2142+e Nm 1.8-litre petrol I4 + e-motor
Drive: CVT FWD
0-60 km/h:        4.22 sec
0-100 km/h:       9.76 sec
0-120 km/h:       14.12 sec
0-160 km/h:       28.97 sec
400m:             17.0 sec @ 130 km/h
80-120 km/h:      6.78 sec
120-160 km/h:     14.89 sec
VMax:             180 km/h
Fuel:             3.9 l/100 km
CO2:              90 g/km
Range:            1,100 km
Warranty/Service: 3y 100K/6 service 90K km
LIST PRICE:       R532K
RATED:            8
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