What is it?
Farewell, then, Toyota Auris, welcome back Toyota Corolla. Goodbye countless marketing millions spent establishing a new name and fresh reputation, hello old friend. Out with the old and in with the older, although it is surely not just me pondering why the passing 13 years have replaced recollections of the dull but worthy family hatch with a nostalgic fondness, lightly sizzled by memories of victorious Castrol-sponsored world rally cars?
If ever there was a right time to change the name, it’s now, as this ground-up, all-new car launches with all the incumbent R&D investment and expectation you might expect for a vehicle that has been benchmarked to beat the class best. So while you might reasonably argue that it would have been more straightforward if the naming U-turn hadn’t been made several months after the car was unveiled as an Auris at this year’s Geneva motor show, the truth is that when Corollas start running down the line in Burnaston, Derbyshire in a few months time, surely only Google will recall it.
Most significantly, today’s Corolla arrives sat atop the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), a complex name for underpinnings that, in this form, have already demonstrated considerable promise in cars such as the high-selling CH-R SUV, hybrid Prius and soon-to-be-on-sale Lexus UX.
Of note, too, is the fact that there is a choice of just two petrol hybrid engines, a decision Toyota says is down to there being no significant customer demand for either a straight petrol or diesel. There’s the 121bhp 1.8-litre motor currently used in the C-HR and Prius, plus a new 2.0-litre version with 178bhp, each attached to different hybrid systems. These will be offered with the hatch and Touring Sports (estate), which will be sold in the UK.
In line with its stated goal of setting class standards “for best in class comfort and driving engagement”, the Corolla is 4370mm long, 1790mm wide and 1435mm high, with a wheelbase of 2640mm. That makes it 40mm longer and 30mm wider than the outgoing Auris, and 25mm lower. The obvious rivals are the Ford Focus (8mm longer, 35mm wider, 19mm higher and with a 60mm greater wheelbase) and the Volkswagen Golf (115mm shorter, as wide, 17mm higher and 3mm smaller in wheelbase.