• Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

Toyota Corolla GR Sport evaluation: now with fifth-gen hybrid technologies Critiques 2023


Mar 15, 2023

Oh goody, is the GR Corolla lastly coming to the UK?

Sadly not – that 300bhp motorsport-bred weapon remains a distant dream on these shores. The Corolla you see above is merely specced out in GR Sport trim, and in spite of the badge, there are no dynamic enhancements to speak of: you just get some GR-badged bits (starter button, seats, sills and so on) for a sportier appear.

But just before you click away in disappointment, there’s been some other news on planet Corolla that may possibly have passed you by. Particularly, the debut of Toyota’s fifth generation hybrid-electric technologies, which has brought some added overall performance.

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Go on, I’m listening…

Effectively, your powertrain solutions stay 1.eight- and two.-litre hybrids, but they now present each far better overall performance and far better efficiency courtesy of a redesigned energy manage unit and electric motor, plus a lithium-ion battery that is 14 per cent additional highly effective but 14 per cent (18kg) lighter than previously.

The 1.eight-litre engine now outputs 138bhp (up 18bhp), bringing a 1.eight-second reduction in the -62mph time to 9.1 seconds, although the two.-litre technique outputs 193bhp (up 15bhp), with half a second possessing been shaved from the -62mph time, taking it down to 7.four seconds.

The entire technique is also now additional effective than ever just before, with CO2 emissions from 100g/km for the 1.eight-litre engine and 98g/km for the two.-litre, although fuel economy begins from 64.1mpg. Which all sounds quite wholesome certainly.

That is all effectively and fantastic on paper, but in the actual planet?

Let’s not beat about the bush: the old 1.eight-litre Corolla was rather slow and uninspiring. Toyota says it is recalibrated the earlier linear accelerator to concentrate on driver input and energy delivery, and although the new one particular is far from hot hatch fast, the enhanced zero to 60mph time is quite welcome, especially when joining motorways and overtaking. 

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But that is not to say it is any much less vocal when you do floor it, largely due to its CVT gearbox, which remains far much less refined compared to some thing like the new Honda Civic. When up to speed it quietens down nicely, and there’s a surprising quantity of silent operating to be had about town in EV mode, with the dashboard handily (and rather addictively) telling you how substantially of your journey you just completed working with the electric motor only. It is just that middle ground that remains some thing of a bugbear.

So, light use of the throttle remains the Corolla’s satisfied ground, at which point you will come across it a quite companionable cruiser. Our test drive occurred to coincide with a weekend wedding trip that needed transporting 4 individuals and all their luggage from London to Nottingham and back once again: against our GR Sport trim’s claimed 60.1mpg, we saw 49.8mpg, about a quarter of which, we spent in electric mode. And most of that although stuck in the capital, we really should add.

That sounds a bit of a squeeze…

There’s perks to getting the designated driver, do not y’know – your comfort is priority. And in our GR Sport trim’s sportier common match bucket-like sports seats, I was completely satisfied, in spite of my six foot two frame. No complaints from my up leading passenger, either.

But you are not incorrect in the rear, exactly where even my companions below six foot identified life a tiny cramped, not helped by these sports seats which consume into knee area. The threat of the train dwelling was sufficient to make them pipe down, thoughts.

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We also managed to match all our luggage in the surprisingly spacious boot, even though worth nothing at all that exactly where the 1.eight-litre (as we had right here) gives 361 litres, the two.-litre’s larger engine signifies the battery is relocated below the boot floor, shrinking this to 313 litres.

Something else I really should know?

As element of the 2023 updates all models get a customisable 12.three-inch instrument show with various distinctive modes to toggle by way of, along with Toyota’s most up-to-date ‘Smart Connect’ ten.five-inch infotainment show as common, a substantially welcome upgrade.

Though the OS itself is not the most visually attractive about, it is pleasingly user friendly aside from the absence of any physical switchgear. Even though you do at least get a handy column of shortcut buttons down the left-hand side. Plus, Toyota has applied prevalent sense and kept the climate manage panel – full with knobs and buttons – separate. Hurrah!

In any case Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wireless connectivity are lastly common all through the line-up. As are LED headlights, heated front seats, aircon, wireless charging, a reversing camera, and front and rear parking sensors, even on entry-level versions.

How substantially does it expense?

Costs for the 1.eight-litre begin at £30,210 or £31,955 for the two.-litre in entry-level Icon trim, with an uplift of £570 to Design and style trim, £1,210 once again to GR Sport trim, and £410 to leading spec Excel trim. On lease, you happen to be searching at a beginning cost of £420 per month for the 1.eight-litre or £490 per month more than 3 years with an initial deposit of £3k.

There’s no doubt that this is the very best-searching generation Corolla but, with this GR Sport trim especially eye-catching, but although the enhanced overall performance is substantially welcome it nonetheless can not compete with the likes of the Ford Concentrate, Honda Civic and Volkswagen Golf to drive.

Do not ask as well substantially of it, even so, and it is expense-helpful, capable (little) loved ones runaround – no poor issue at a time when lots of of us are feeling the pinch additional than ever.

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