Some facets of the way in which this new-groove affordable performance hybrid from Toyota gets down the road are eerily – some would say even jarringly – familiar; and yet others are irrefutable evidence of how determinedly this Japanese car industry giant has stuck with its hybrid synergy drive concept, upgraded and updated it over the past 20 years and significantly overhauled the driving experience it creates.
Still never better than when gliding through becalmed pockets of space in busy town or motorway traffic on genteel throttle applications, the Corolla also brings every other Toyota hybrid to mind under maximum pedal load, when it apes the operating behaviour of a CVT by simply spinning to peak power and letting the planetary gearing take up the slack.
But this ‘performance hybrid’ differs from the established Toyota norms quite markedly in the operating space between those two extremes – most notably in how much outright accelerative urgency it can muster, and how responsive it feels, on part-throttle. In both senses, it’s not overselling the car to describe it as a pacy-feeling drive. This Corolla is keen to get going when you tip into the right-hand pedal, in Sport mode at least, and without needing to send the revs into the stratosphere.