March 29, 2023 11:34 pm

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 additional efficiency.

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Go on, I’m listening…

Effectively, your powertrain selections stay 1.eight- and two.-litre hybrids, but they now present each improved efficiency and improved efficiency courtesy of a redesigned energy handle unit and electric motor, plus a lithium-ion battery that is 14 per cent much more strong however 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, when the two.-litre program outputs 193bhp (up 15bhp), with half a second obtaining been shaved from the -62mph time, taking it down to 7.four seconds.

The entire program is also now much more effective than ever just before, with CO2 emissions from 100g/km for the 1.eight-litre engine and 98g/km for the two.-litre, when fuel economy begins from 64.1mpg. Which all sounds pretty healthier certainly.

That is all effectively and very good on paper, but in the true globe?

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 when the new one particular is far from hot hatch swift, the enhanced zero to 60mph time is pretty welcome, specifically when joining motorways and overtaking. 

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But that is not to say it is any significantly less vocal when you do floor it, largely due to its CVT gearbox, which remains far significantly 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 considerably of your journey you just completed making use of 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 delighted ground, at which point you will obtain it a fairly companionable cruiser. Our test drive occurred to coincide with a weekend wedding trip that expected transporting 4 persons 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 when stuck in the capital, we should really add.

That sounds a bit of a squeeze…

There’s perks to becoming 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 delighted, in spite of my six foot two frame. No complaints from my up best passenger, either.

But you are not incorrect in the rear, exactly where even my companions below six foot located life a tiny cramped, not helped by these sports seats which consume into knee space. The threat of the train house was adequate 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 implies the battery is relocated below the boot floor, shrinking this to 313 litres.

Something else I should really know?

As component of the 2023 updates all models get a customisable 12.three-inch instrument show with several diverse modes to toggle by way of, along with Toyota’s newest ‘Smart Connect’ ten.five-inch infotainment show as common, a considerably 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 utilized typical sense and kept the climate handle panel – comprehensive 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 considerably does it expense?

Costs for the 1.eight-litre start off at £30,210 or £31,955 for the two.-litre in entry-level Icon trim, with an uplift of £570 to Style trim, £1,210 once again to GR Sport trim, and £410 to best spec Excel trim. On lease, you happen to be hunting 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 ideal-hunting generation Corolla however, with this GR Sport trim specifically eye-catching, but when the enhanced efficiency is considerably welcome it nonetheless cannot compete with the likes of the Ford Concentrate, Honda Civic and Volkswagen Golf to drive.

Do not ask also considerably of it, having said that, and it is expense-helpful, capable (little) family members runaround – no terrible point at a time when lots of of us are feeling the pinch much more than ever.

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