One of Australia’s best-known nameplates, the Toyota Corolla, will receive some noteworthy updates and enhancements during the second half of 2022.
In fact, from next year there’ll be a much bigger and more diverse range of vehicles tapping into its badge equity.
The series of changes comprises an updated volume-selling model led by a hybrid power bump; the brand-first GR Corolla hot hatch; and the introduction of a new higher-riding Corolla Cross SUV derivative to sit between the Yaris Cross and RAV4.
There’s every chance the latter will outsell the regular Corolla, as we’ve seen the Mazda CX-30 manage over the Mazda 3 at times.
Of most note from a volume perspective, as revealed last week, the Corolla hatch and sedan will come with a tweaked petrol-electric hybrid system offering a near 10 per cent power bump – up to 98kW from 90kW.
This should be noticeable at higher speeds and heavy throttle, since the current Corolla hybrid’s power delivery tapers off at higher speeds when the electric motor does less of the work.
Unfortunately, Toyota has made no mention of the 2.0-litre hybrid four-cylinder offered in markets such as Europe, which pumps out 135kW of power.
According to the latest data we have, 51 per cent of all Corollas sold in Australia were the hybrid, with that ratio only going to grow more in the petrol-electric model’s favour – particularly if fuel prices stay high.
It’ll also get some new wheels and colours, an updated infotainment system with USB-C outlets, and Toyota Connected Services through an in-built data communication module. These additions are expected to also feature on the non-hybrid petrol models, of course.
Hot hatch enthusiasts, it’s time to celebrate.
The long-awaited hardcore 220kW Toyota GR Corolla hot hatch is confirmed for Australia, with first arrivals scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2022.
If it drives with an intensity to match its exaggerated, modified looks, then we’re in for something great… It will round out Toyota’s flourishing GR performance range alongside the GR Yaris, GR Supra, and imminent GR86.
It leans heavily on the smaller GR Yaris, using a version of its manic three-cylinder engine, six-speed manual gearbox, and variable all-wheel drive system that can send as much as 70 per cent of engine output to the rear wheels.
It will subsequently give the Big T a readymade rival for icons such as the Hyundai i30 N, Volkswagen Golf R, Renault Megane R.S, and new-generation Honda Civic Type R.
Unfortunately while Toyota will build more than 8500 examples of the GR Corolla in its first year of production, more than 6500 of them are headed for the USA. The remaining 2000 will be sold in the rest of the world, including Australia. Don‘t expect any dealer demos…
With SUVs now commanding more than half the total market (compared to around 20 per cent for lower-riding passenger cars), Toyotra’s desperation for more crossovers is understandable.
Much as the Yaris Cross offers an alternative to the regular Yaris, the second-half of 2022 will bring the first Corolla Cross.
The all-new model will be available in Australia with a choice of front-wheel drive petrol and hybrid drivetrains, and a two-motor AWD model that introduces a new-to-market 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain.
While Toyota Australia is yet to confirm specifications for our market, the EU-market Corolla Cross with the 2.0-litre petrol-electric AWD drivetrain offers 146kW of system power, good for a 0-100km/h sprint in 8.1 seconds.
The Corolla Cross will go up against top-selling small SUVs, including the Mazda CX-30, Mitsubishi ASX, MG ZS, and Kia Seltos.