The eagerly-anticipated new Toyota Corolla Hatch(back) will be launched in South Africa in early 2019. With its eye-catching styling and sophisticated packaging, this important C-segment contender now has a distinctly different personality to its sedan sibling. Here’s what you can expect from the new range:
The new Corolla Hatch is built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture platform, which also underpins the Prius hybrid and C-HR compact family car. So, apart from having a lower centre of gravity, a new multi-link rear suspension, 60% stiffer body and improved weight balance, the new Corolla is 40 mm longer, 30 mm wider (therefore generally more spacious) and 25 mm lower than its predecessor.
The new Corolla Hatch’s rear aspect is dominated by the distinctive LED tail light clusters. Note the sporty bumper and tailgate spoiler.
The new Corolla Hatch will arrive on the local market in early 2019, to follow closely on the heels of its recent introduction in Australia (whose derivatives are pictured here). But whereas the range Down Under includes 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol (with peak outputs of 125 kW and 200 Nm), as well as range-topping hybrid derivatives, we understand that the local line-up is likely to kick off with the 85 kW/185 Nm 1.2-litre turbopetrol engine from the C-HR, which will be followed by the 1.8-litre (Atkinson Cycle) petrol-electric version, replete with advances in engine, electric motor and battery technologies.
New CVT transmission
The standard 6-speed manual ‘box is said to feature rev-matching technology, while the automatic option will be a new Direct Shift continuously variable transmission that offers a 10-speed sequential shift mode, a mechanical launch gear and 3 driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport.
The elaborate grille treatment, replete with a chrome surround strip, gives the hybrid version impressive road presence.
Although the sharp-ended, low-slung styling and hunkered stance of the Corolla Hatch need no introduction – the 5-door variant has generated much excitement since its Geneva Show reveal – some exterior features that are worth noting are LED headlights with tail lights (the former with and daytime running lights), front and rear fog lamps, heated electric exterior mirrors and 16-inch alloy wheels, possibly going up to 18-inch units in top-spec versions.
The future-forward interior of the Corolla Hatch is, however, its biggest revelation… It’s fitted with wider, more comfortable seats trimmed in either fabric, leather or a combination of the 2 (spec dependent), and its slick slimline fascia includes an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display (yes, apparently the newcomer’s native system will be offered on SA-spec vehicles) and instrument cluster with a full-colour 4.2-inch multi-info display. Whereas manual air-con, power windows and door bins with bottle holders (front and rear), an electronic parking brake, USB and auxiliary audio inputs, a 12V accessory socket and 60/40-split rear seats will be standard, higher-spec models could feature dual-zone aircon and smart entry and start.
The new Corolla Hatch’s fascia design is unfussy and characterised by a large infotainment screen and instrument cluster. Note the standard electronic parking brake.
Some of the top-end features that have been offered on the new Corolla (to reiterate, they’re not yet confirmed for our market) are a wireless charging pad, a 7-inch multi-info display (with analogue and digital display options), LED ambient lighting as well as a head-up display!
Safety spec relative to local market
The various Toyota Safety Sense features on the Australia-spec newcomer, including the pre-collision safety system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, active cruise control, lane trace, -departure warning and -centring with steering assist and road-sign recognition technology, are not feasible for the SA market. But, we anticipate that local Corolla derivatives will feature a full complement of airbags (front, knee, side and curtain), a reverse-view camera, ISOfix child restraint anchors, ABS with brake assist, vehicle stability control and, hopefully, active cornering control.
When the new Corolla Hatch comes to market in early 2019, it will most likely be backed by a Toyota Service Plan for 6 services/90 000 km with the option to extend through Toyota Genuine Extended Service Plan. Further product details will be revealed at the vehicle’s official launch.