Recently we were pondering how much cars cost around the world, and how affordable they are for the people who live there.

    With at least 44 million sold across the world since 1966, the Toyota Corolla is the world’s most popular nameplate. Given its ubiquity and almost universal availability, it’s a good reference point – a good Big Mac substitute, if you will – in our little investigation.

    It’s also affordable without being bargain basement, and has easily comparable specs regardless of where it’s made and sold.

    That said, the market positioning of the Corolla is quite different around the world. In Australia and the United States, it’s more of an entry-level model. In Europe, Japan, and developing markets it sits further up the food chain.

    We’ve decided to focus on the Hybrid variant as its the most commonly available drivetrain, and also allows us to see what type of premium Toyota is charging across various markets.

    Measuring affordability across different parts of the world is a tough nut that some economists spend a lifetime trying to crack.

    We’ve decided to use the World Bank’s adjusted net national income per capita data for simplicity and ease of comparison.

    Ideally we would use median income as it better eliminates the effect of small number of exceptionally high earners in developed nations, and smoothes out the large wage inequalities present in rapidly developing economies.

    For this piece we’ve gone into a quite a bit of depth about all these factors for Australia and the world’s five largest markets, with the United Kingdom as a proxy for Europe. We’ve also thrown in one outlier that should always make you feel less sticker shock.

    If you’re not in the mood for a War and Peace tome on global Corolla pricing, skip to the end where we’ve put a whole bunch of pricing and affordability data into easily digestible charts.

    Australia: From $26,335

    How much does it cost?

    In Australia, even the entry-level Corolla Ascent Sport is available with a 90kW, 1.8-litre hybrid drivetrain.

    With a price starting from $26,335 before on-road costs, the hybrid is $3000 more than the 125kW 2.0-litre manual or $1500 more than the 2.0-litre CVT.

    Where does it sit in the range?

    The Corolla is the second-most affordable vehicle in the Toyota Australia range, although not by much.

    The Yaris range was launched earlier this year, and its pricing has been much talked about since. The significantly smaller model kicks off at $22,130 for the 88kW Ascent Sport 1.5-litre manual, just $1205 less than the larger, more powerful entry-level Corolla.

    The entire range (sorted by entry price)

    Yaris, Corolla, HiLux, Yaris Cross, Camry, C-HR, 86, RAV4, Prius V, Prius, HiAce, Kluger, Fortuner, Prado, Granvia, Land Cruiser 70 Series, Land Cruiser 200 Series, and Supra.

    How well does it sell?

    The made-in-Japan Corolla has been Australia’s top-selling vehicle that’s not a ute for a number of years.

    Last year 30,468 were sold in Australia, giving it a healthy lead over the Hyundai i30 (28,378) and Mazda 3 (24,939) which held down the podium positions in the small car segment.

    If Hyundai had decided to rebrand the Elantra as the i30 sedan before the generation switch, the South Korean model would have taken first place with a combined total of 31,022.

    Is it affordable?

    According to the World Bank’s numbers, the average net income in Australia is $60,693 (US$43,346). The hybrid Corolla Ascent Sport represents just a tad over 43 per cent of average net income.

    This, as we’ll soon see, means Australians are getting great bang for their buck.

    What do you get for the money?

    • Dusk-sensing bi-LED headlights
    • Air conditioning
    • 16-inch alloy wheels (15-inch with aero caps on hybrid sedan)
    • 4.2-inch information display
    • 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system 
    • Six-speaker audio system
    • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
    • Electric mirrors
    • 60/40 split-fold rear seats with centre arm rest
    • Rear fog lights
    • Heated, power-folding mirrors
    • Adaptive cruise control
    • Lane departure warning with steering assist
    • Autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection
    • Hill-start assist
    • Reversing camera
    • Active cornering assistance
    • Seven airbags

    USA: From US$23,400 excluding sales tax (AU$32,300)

    For American customers, only the made-in-Mississippi sedan is available as a hybrid. The imported hatch is only sold with a 125kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

    How much does it cost?

    While the entry-level L CVT starts at US$19,825 you need to step up to the LE to gain access to the hybrid.

    The petrol LE CVT is priced from US$20,275 before sales tax, meaning the LE hybrid carries a US$3125 ($4400) premium over its non-electrified sibling.

    While significantly more than the $1500 jump in Australia, the Corolla LE petrol sitting below the hybrid has a 104kW, 1.8-litre engine rather the more powerful 2.0-litre available further up the range, and standard in Australia.

    Unlike most other countries, the USA doesn’t advertise car prices inclusive of sales tax. This is primarily due to different sales tax rates imposed by states, counties, and cities.

    States such as Oregon, Montana, New Hampshire, and Delaware have no sales tax, where some jurisdictions in Tennessee have a combined sales tax rate of 9.5 per cent to offset lower property and income taxes.

    Using a median sales tax rate of 6.9 per cent, the Corolla LE Hybrid is US$25,014 ($35,300) before on-road costs.

    The entire range (sorted by entry price)

    Yaris, Corolla, C-HR, Prius, Camry, Prius, RAV4, Tacoma, 86, Sienna, Venza, Tundra, Highlander, Avalon, 4Runner, Supra, Sequoia, Mirai, LandCruiser.

    Where does it sit in the range?

    Just like in Australia, the Corolla is second-most affordable model in Toyota America’s range.

    There the range starts with the US$15,650 ($21,900) Yaris sedan and US$17,750 ($24,900) Yaris hatch. Both of these vehicles aren’t “true” Yaris models, but instead rebadged Mazda 2s built in Mexico with a different nose.

    When 2021 rolls around, both Yaris models will be dropped from the range and the Corolla will become the entry model of a range that tops out at US$87,745 ($123,000) for a high-end LandCruiser.

    What are its main competitors?

    For much of the recent past, the Corolla has been in a dogfight with the Honda Civic for bragging rights in the compact car segment. Other major players in the segment include the Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3, and Volkswagen Jetta.

    The Big Three have decided to quit the sector entirely with the Chevrolet Cruze ending production in 2020, the Ford Focus retired in 2018, and the Dodge Dart given its marching orders in 2016.

    How well does it sell?

    The short answer is that the Corolla sells well.

    The long answer? Sales are good, but declining like everything else that’s not an SUV, crossover, or pickup truck.

    Last year, Toyota sold 166,214 Corollas in the USA according to Good Car Bad Car, making it the 11th most popular passenger vehicle. It wasn’t even close to being the most popular Toyota, ranking third behind the RAV4 (302,574) and Camry (204,945).

    In the compact car segment, the Corolla came in second, switching places with the Honda Civic (200,941). This can be partially blamed on the switch over to a new generation.

    Is it affordable?

    The World Bank says the average net income in the US is US$53,497 ($74,900), meaning that a base Corolla hybrid bought outright would account account for almost 47 per cent of the average net income.

    What do you get for the money?

    The LE Hybrid has roughly the same spec has the Australia Ascent Sport Hybrid.

    Key differences are the standard 15-inch alloy wheels (Aussie hatches have 16-inch units), a 7.0-inch instrumentation display (4.2-inch in Australia), keyless entry with push button start, and satellite radio compatibility.

    How much does a Toyota Corolla Hybrid cost around the world?

    UK: From £24,185 (AU$44,200)

    The hatch is made in the United Kingdom, while the sedan is made in Turkey and sports the “prestige” front-end design.

    In the UK, the Corolla is only available with hybrid drivetrains. Both the hatch and wagon are made in the company’s UK factory in Burnaston, while the sedan comes from Turkey.

    How much does it cost?

    The hatch and sedan ranges both start at £24,185 ($44,200), while the wagon kicks off at £25,455 ($46,500)

    All of these models are fitted with the 90kW 1.8-litre system we’re familiar with, but for £1745 ($3200) more you can upgrade to the more powerful 137kW 2.0-litre hybrid.

    The entire range (sorted by entry price)

    Aygo, Yaris, Corolla, Prius, C-HR, HiLux, ProAce, GT86, Camry, RAV4, ProAce City, ProAce, Land Cruiser (Prado), LandCruiser Commercial, and Supra.

    Where does it sit in the range?

    The Aygo, a small city hatch just under 3.5m long and powered by a 54kW 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, kicks off the Toyota UK range at £13,855 ($25,300).

    The next step up is the hybrid Yaris, which begins at £20,790 ($38,000).

    It should be noted in the UK, the hybrid-only C-HR and Prius are priced much closer to the Corolla than they are in Australia. There the Prius goes from £24,875 ($45,400) and the C-HR begins at £26,245 ($47,900).

    That’s a premium of just £690 ($1300) for the Prius, and £2060 ($3800) for the C-HR.

    In Australia, the Prius is a whopping $11,555 more than the base Corolla hybrid, while the 85kW 1.2-litre C-HR is $6080 more than the 2.0-litre CVT Corolla. Because the hybrid is only available in the range-topping C-HR Koba, a petrol-electric C-HR is $11,330 more than a base Corolla hybrid.

    The Toyota UK range ends with the £57,490 ($105,000) LandCruiser Invincible which, despite the name, is a Prado instead of a 200 Series.

    How well does it sell?

    The Corolla doesn’t feature in the top five cars in its class to the end of September 2020 in figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, meaning it trails the class-leading Volkswagen Golf (58,994) and Ford Focus (56,619), as well as the fifth-placed BMW 1 Series (28,688).

    It, however, ranks third — behind the Nissan Qashqai and the Mini range — for production in the UK with 148,106 built in Derbyshire.

    Is it affordable?

    According to the World Bank’s figures, the average net income in the UK is about £27,500 ($50,200). The entry-level Corolla hybrid would account for just shy of 88 per cent of the average net income.

    What do you get for the money?

    Compared to the Australian Ascent Sport Hybrid, the UK-spec Icon Hybrid gains dual-zone climate control, and heated front and rear seats.

    Japan: From ¥2.404 million (AU$31,400)

    It should be noted the Corolla sedan and wagon models sold in Japan have a shorter wheelbase and overall length, as well as 40mm narrower bodies.

    Despite these changes this is the first generation of Corolla where all variants exceed 1.7m, meaning owners will have pay extra annual road taxes.

    How much does it cost?

    The hybrid sedan kicks from around ¥2.4 million with the familiar 1.8-litre drivetrain, which is a ¥467,500 premium over the entry-level 1.8-litre CVT variant.

    For the home market, the Corolla is also available with a hybrid all-wheel drive system that kicks off from ¥2,601,500.

    The more practical wagon, as well as the larger, sportier hatch, both command a premium of ¥84,500.

    The entire range (sorted by entry price)

    Pixis Truck, Pixis Epoch, Pixis Van, Passo, Pixis Joy, Pixis Mega, Yaris, Probox, Corolla Axio, Roomy, TownAce, Raize, Yaris Cross, Sienta, Aqua (Prius C), Porte/Spade, Corolla, Allion/Premio, HiAce Van, Copen, C-HR, Noah/Voxy/Esquire, Prius, Prius Alpha (Prius V), 86, RAV4, HiAce Wagon, Harrier, JPN Taxi, HiLux, Camry, Alphard/Vellfire, Prado, Crown, Land Cruiser 200, Supra, GranAce (Granvia), Mirai, and Century.

    Where does it sit in the range?

    If you think the Toyota Australia range is sprawling, the company’s range in Japan is truly mind-boggling.

    The line-up kicks off with a clutch of kei cars rebranded from Daihatsu, with the cheapest passenger vehicle being the Pixis Epoch hatch at ¥858,000 ($11,500) and stretching up to ¥1.75 million for a fully loaded Pixis Mega, an itty bitty people mover.

    Outside of kei cars, the Toyota range begins with the ¥1.2 million ($16,300) Passo and ¥1.4 million ($19,000) Yaris, and the new Corolla serves as the peak of Toyota’s most affordable models and a bridge to more expensive models such as the Camry and Crown.

    For now the older ¥1.55 million ($21,070) Corolla Axio sedan and ¥1.7 million ($23,100) Corolla Fielder wagon, both of which are based on the previous-generation Yaris platform, remain on sale. Not only are they cheaper to buy, they have a lower annual road tax as they are under 1.7m wide and have 1.5-litre engines.

    All these vehicles are a far cry from the 5.0-litre V8 hybrid Century, which is ¥20 million ($267,000) if you really want to know.

    How well does it sell?

    Despite the presence of the similarly sized but narrower, 2007-era Premio/Allion twins, the Corolla nameplate (104,406) surged into fourth place on the “normal” size car charts by the end of 2019.

    Topping the pile was the Prius (125,587), which kicks off from ¥2.6 million ($35,300). The podium places were taken by the Nissan Note hatch (118,472) and Toyota Sienta people mover (110,880).

    All of these vehicles were easily outsold by top four kei class, which was lead by the Honda N-Box (253,500).

    Is it affordable?

    With an annual net income of ¥3.34 million ($44,700), the Corolla Hybrid’s price constitutes 72 per cent of average net income.

    China: From 135,800 yuan (AU$28,500)

    Like market-leading Volkswagen, Toyota has two different joint venture partners – each of which produces a slightly different version of the new Corolla.

    FAW Toyota makes the Corolla with the “prestige” design, and GAC Toyota produces the Levin with the “sporty” front we have in Australia.

    Both the Levin and Corolla are also available with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, although at present the PHEVs are still based on the previous-generation model.

    How much does it cost?

    The entry-level Corolla Hybrid kicks off at 135,800 yuan ($28,500), which is a 16,000 yuan ($3400) premium over the base 1.2-litre turbo CVT model.

    At the GAC Toyota dealership, the nominally sportier Levin Hybrid has a slightly higher starting price of 138,800 yuan ($29,300) that’s a significant 23,000 yuan ($4800) over that car’s base 1.2-litre CVT model.

    What do you get for the money?

    Compared to Australian Ascent Sport Hybrid, the base Corolla Hybrid makes do with halogen headlights, but does have a air quality (particulate matter) display and a China-specific infotainment system.

    The GAC Toyota entire range (sorted by entry price)

    Yaris, Levin (Corolla), C-HR, iA5 EV, (GAC Aion S), Wildlander (RAV4), Camry, Levin PHEV, C-HR EV, Highlander, and Alphard.

    The FAW Toyota entire range (sorted by entry price)

    Vios (Yaris), Corolla, Izoa (C-HR), RAV4, Avalon, Corolla PHEV, Izoa EV, Crown, Prado, and Vellfire.

    Where does it sit in the range?

    Given the sheer size of the Chinese market both the GAC and FAW Toyota ranges are very compact, especially compared to sheer weight of models available from Volkswagen.

    That’s probably because Toyota’s joint ventures were only set up either side of the turn of the millennium.

    As it stands, only the Yaris and Vios lines — the latter of which begins at 71,800 yuan ($15,000) — stand below the Corolla/Levin models.

    Is it affordable?

    With an average estimated annual income of 51,535 yuan ($10,800), the Corolla Hybrid would account for 269 per cent of average net income.

    While this places it well it out of reach for the “average” person, China’s 1.4 billion-strong population has a growing middle and upper middle class that dwarfs most other nations, and for whom the Corolla falls well within reach.

    How well does it sell?

    According to the Best Selling Cars Blog, in 2019 the Corolla Hybrid was the country’s top-selling “new energy” vehicle, which includes hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and full EVs. The Levin Hybrid took fourth place.

    How much does a Toyota Corolla Hybrid cost around the world?

    Brazil: From 140,690 reals (AU$35,100)

    How much does it cost?

    The locally-made Corolla line has a standard 2.0-litre flex fuel engine and the base model costs 110,190 reals ($27,500).

    Stepping up to a hybrid powertrain requires an additional 30,500 reals ($7600).

    The entire range (sorted by entry price)

    Etios, Yaris, Corolla, HiLux, Prius, SW4 (Fortuner), RAV4, and Camry.

    Where does it sit in the range?

    The Brazilian range begins with the Etios at 60,590 reals ($15,100). This developing-market model features a 3.8m hatch and 4.3m sedan, and was launched in India in 2010.

    As far as we can tell, Brazil is the last place still making the Etios. And thanks to the country’s high import tariffs, it may stay in production for a while yet.

    Above this is the emerging-market iteration of the Yaris, which starts at 78,690 reals ($19,600) for the hatch.

    From both of these models, it’s a big step up to the Corolla and the other models in Toyota’s showroom.

    Is it affordable?

    With the World Bank estimating the average Brazilian earns 42,035 reals ($10,500) per year, the Corolla Hybrid represents 334 per cent of average net income.

    How well does it sell?

    According to Best Selling Cars Blog, the Corolla was the company’s most popular model in Brazil in 2019, holding down 14th spot overall. It also outsold class rivals such as the Honda Civic (33rd) and Volkswagen Jetta (58th).

    India: Probably from ₹1.7 million (AU$32,200)

    The Corolla is currently absent from the Indian market, but is currently scheduled to return from early 2021. Reports from India indicate the new model will be offered with a hybrid drivetrain.

    Pricing for the old model began at ₹1.5 million for the 1.8-litre petrol.

    It’s not clear what type of premium a hybrid drivetrain will add as both the Camry and Vellfire people mover are offered solely as hybrids.

    Will it be affordable?

    According to the World Bank numbers, the average net income is around ₹128,000 ($2400), which means our estimated starting price for the hybrid Corolla to be 1326 per cent of average net income.

    Although clearly out of reach of many in India, the Corolla will still have a sizeable potential customer base in a country of almost 1.4 billion people.

    Whether any of these people will look past Maruti Suzuki, which controls 50 per cent of the market, and Hyundai with a further 20 per cent, is anyone’s guess.

    How much does a Toyota Corolla Hybrid cost around the world?

    Russia: Not available

    The world’s largest country is the only one of the top five markets not to offer a hybrid option in the Corolla. In fact, it’s the only major market not to offer a hybrid of any description, not even the Prius.

    In another quirk, the imported C-HR has a starting price that’s 41,000 roubles ($754) more than the locally-produced RAV4.

    The entire range (sorted by entry price)

    Corolla, Camry, RAV4, C-HR, Fortuner, HiLux, Prado, HiAce, Highlander, Land Cruiser 200, and Alphard.

    How much does a petrol Corolla cost?

    In Russia, the Corolla is powered by a 90kW 1.6-litre with a six-speed manual transmission. It will set you back 1.36 million roubles ($25,100).

    Is it affordable?

    According to the World Bank the average person has a net income of 652,413 roubles ($12,000), meaning the 1.6-litre Corolla is 209 per cent of average net income.

    How much does a Toyota Corolla Hybrid cost around the world?

    Singapore: From SG$120,888 (AU$124,700)

    We’ve included Singapore not because it’s a major market, but because if you ever have any doubt that cars in Australia are affordable you can always cast your mind to Singapore.

    How much does it cost?

    To encourage residents to use its excellent subway and bus services, the Singaporean government requires all cars to have a Certificate of Entitlement (COE), which lasts for 10 years.

    A limited number of new COEs are made available every year, and they’re sold via an open bidding system. Currently COEs for cars with over 97kW or a 1.6-litre engine is around SG$40,000 ($40,800).

    The price of a COE is factored into car’s advertised price. With this in mind, it’s disheartening to learn the entry-level 1.6-litre Corolla is priced at SG$95,888 ($99,000). The hybrid model tops the Corolla range, and requires an extra SG$25,000.

    Is it affordable?

    With an annual income of SG$68,100 ($70,300) the “average” Singaporean has plenty of money at their disposal, but even a humble Corolla Hybrid is worth 178 per cent of average net income.

    And in 10 years time when the COE expires, that Corolla will likely be sold off for scrap.

    Other markets around the world

    How much does a Toyota Corolla Hybrid cost around the world?

    Even from the small selection of markets above it’s easy to see the Corolla Hybrid, as well as the regular petrol-only variant, is very affordable in Australia.

    In raw terms, our Corolla hybrid is the cheapest in the world when using Aussie dollars and our base petrol model is only bested by those sold in Canada and Mexico, although these countries use a 1.8-litre engine instead of our 2.0-litre unit.

    How much does a Toyota Corolla Hybrid cost around the world?

    Prices don’t tell the whole story, however, because it’s affordability for local residents that matters most.

    While a Corolla is definitely a pricier article in Europe and Japan than it is in Australia, the USA and Canada, it’s affordable for many.

    Outside of these developed nations, it’s clear the Corolla — hybrid or otherwise — is real stretch for many.

    Derek Fung

    Derek Fung would love to tell you about his multiple degrees, but he's too busy writing up some news right now. In his spare time Derek loves chasing automotive rabbits down the hole. Based in New York, New York, Derek loves to travel and is very much a window not an aisle person.

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