The Toyota Corolla is unfailingly predictable. It’s easy to drive and a very fuel-efficient everyday car.
The Corolla line-up comes in all shapes and forms. It’s consistently earned positive reviews in Ascent Sport hatch and ZR hatch versions, predominantly thanks to the available hybrid powertrain that makes it very efficient.
It’s only logical that if a little of something is good, more must be better?
The beauty of the Corolla Hatch is its dynamic and sporty shape, which looks brighter, bolder, younger. However, one of the biggest complaints about the hatchback is the lack of comfort for rear passengers and its small boot.
By comparison, the 2022 Toyota Corolla Sedan Ascent Sport Hybrid offers considerably more space for everyone, but great achievements are usually born of great sacrifice.
In our case, more space means the sedan looks like… well, just another Toyota sedan.
There is no price difference between hatchback and sedan bodies for Ascent Sport Hybrid models, so it all comes down to your personal preference.
The price for our Ascent Sport Hybrid sedan starts at $27,395 before on-road costs. By comparison, the petrol version costs $2000 less, starting from $25,395 before on-roads.
An additional $575 will be charged for metallic paint (choose between black, silver, grey, or blue) in case you’re not a Glacier White type of person.
For an extra $1000, you can add factory satellite navigation and DAB digital radio.
2022 Toyota Corolla pricing:
- Toyota Corolla Hatch Ascent Sport: $25,395
- Toyota Corolla Sedan Ascent Sport: $25,395
- Toyota Corolla Hatch Ascent Sport Hybrid: $27,395
- Toyota Corolla Sedan Ascent Sport Hybrid: $27,395
- Toyota Corolla Hatch SX: $28,795
- Toyota Corolla Sedan SX: $28,795
- Toyota Corolla Hatch SX Hybrid: $30,795
- Toyota Corolla Sedan SX Hybrid: $30,795
- Toyota Corolla Hatch ZR: $32,695
- Toyota Corolla Sedan ZR: $34,195
- Toyota Corolla Hatch ZR Hybrid: $34,695
All prices exclude on-road costs
Corolla Ascent Sport highlights:
- 16-inch alloy wheels (15-inch w/ aero caps for hybrid sedan)
- Automatic bi-LED headlights
- Automatic high-beam
- LED daytime running lights and tail lights
- 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (wired)
- 4.2-inch information display
- Six-speaker sound system
- 60/40 split-fold rear seats with centre armrest
- Heated, power-folding mirrors
The 2021 Toyota Corolla has a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on testing conducted in 2018.
It scored 96 per cent for adult occupant protection, 83 per cent for child occupant protection, 86 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 76 per cent for safety assist.
Standard features across the range include:
- Autonomous emergency braking
- Pedestrian detection (day/night)
- Cyclist detection (day)
- Lane-departure warning
- Lane-keep assist
- Lane Trace Assist (centring)
- Adaptive cruise control
- Traffic sign recognition
- Reversing camera
- 7 airbags incl. driver’s knee
Additionally, SX and ZR variants gain blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
It’s highly unlikely you’ll get an oh-what-a-feeling here.
The Ascent Sport Hybrid is all about economy and efficiency, so it’s no surprise the interior was made on a budget as well.
It’s simple, predictable and borderline boring. Just pure functionality and absolute necessity. It looks like Marie Kondo has tidied it up to the point when nothing sparks joy.
Keyless entry and push-button start system are definitely pluses. Unlocking the car doesn’t require pressing a button; just slide your hand into the door handle to open.
This is a standard for most of the new cars now, but if you’re upgrading from an older model that never had this feature, you’ll realise soon enough that it’s a massively underrated feature.
No key is needed to start the engine as well, the start button is located on the left side under the steering wheel.
The front seats in a black fabric trim are soft and quite comfy. The driver’s seat is adjusted manually (an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat is only available in the top-spec ZR version). The door handles and the dash are hard plastic with some splashes of polished black inserts.
The position of the 8.0-inch infotainment display was a bit of a surprise. To my disappointment, it isn’t integrated into the dash at an angle pointed towards the driver, instead requiring a bit more eyes-off-road time.
As we’ve previously reported, the graphics don’t feel particularly high resolution, loading times are quite laggy, and the overall look and feel lacks the polish of European rivals as well as Mazda’s latest interface.
The display is operated both by touch and hard buttons. I find it a good thing – the buttons give you immediate feedback and allow you to focus on the road instead of checking if you touched the right spot on the screen.
You do get wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto too, which helps avoid the standard system if you want to avoid it.
When it comes to storage, you’ll find a deep central bin with an armrest, two cupholders and door pockets with plastic separators, a decent-size glovebox and a tray for small items under the dash.
The back seats have plenty of legroom. However, there are no air vents for rear passengers in this grade.
The rear seats have a 60/40 split-fold which allows utilising even more space in the boot, which comes in a pretty impressive 470 litres.
I always keep my two golf bags in the car (full-size and driving range size), yoga mat and beach tent (a girl must be prepared for any situation) and try to squeeze my groceries in between.
The Corolla Sedan Ascent Sport makes all this cargo look less crowded.
The Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid is powered by a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 72kW of power and 142Nm of torque, mated to a nickel-metal hydride battery and two electric motors.
The main drive motor produces 72kW of power and 142Nm of torque. The combined system output is 90kW.
Power is delivered to the front wheels via a continuously-variable transmission.
After spending most of my life in combustion-only vehicles, I immediately noticed how quiet the car is, especially at low speeds or when you’re stationary thanks to its hybrid powertrain.
EV mode (the button is located near the gear stick) locks the car in battery-only mode, which I find brilliant. It will not last you more than a short distance under light throttle, of course, but it’s enough to silently sneak out early in the morning without waking up your neighbours.
No noise, no vibration – just peace and quiet. It does get a bit noisier on the highway, though.
The Toyota Corolla is a responsive, comfortable, and relaxed commuter car. It’s built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform launched in 2015.
Why does TNGA matter? The main focus lay on improving the key aspects of performance: moving, turning, and stopping. It resulted in a complete remake of the powertrain (engine, transmission, HEV unit) and basic frames (chassis).
The platform brings a lower centre of gravity, increased stability, and advanced rear suspension. TNGA has already been applied to 40 model lines under the Toyota umbrella.
The Corolla Hybrid slurs smoothly along on light throttle inputs, although the petrol engine and CVT combination can be a bit raucous when you really put your foot down. You can switch to faux manual gear selection for better response if needed, but this isn’t a natural sports car.
This is a gentle and predictable car to drive… but my driver type is on the dynamic side of the spectrum.
I like to merge often, go faster where I legally can, and arrive at my destination at least a minute faster than my GPS has predicted. If you’re like me, the Toyota Corolla Ascent Sedan might not be the best companion for this.
Regardless of the driving style, what I appreciate is Corolla goes through the corners without fuss, and the CVT shuffles through its virtual ratios smoothly. It’s pretty comfortable to be in, both as a driver and as a passenger, and that’s more the point of a Corolla anyway.
I love the quietness of the hybrid, however, you start hearing some road noise as soon you push the speed up to around 100km/h. This is something you can forgive on a shorter ride, but it might get quite annoying if you’re planning a long trip.
I must admit, the moment you start driving, interior concerns do not disappear but definitely fade into the background. Yes, there are prettier cars out there, but no, they don’t deliver an enjoyable 3.9L per 100km.
In addition to its five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty that covers any part, panel or accessory made by Toyota, the Japanese manufacturer offers additional two years of engine protection if you stick to your annual service schedule.
The hybrid version also comes with the standard guarantee on a new hybrid battery that lasts for up to 10 years.
Toyota claims the Corolla Sedan Ascent Sport Hybrid’s combined fuel consumption is 3.6 litres per 100km. My personal record stands at indicated 3.9L at an average city pace.
The yearly service is capped to a fixed rate for the first five years. You can find a service price calculator on the Toyota website.
The Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid definitely looks less exciting as a sedan than a hatchback.
Moreover, according to Toyota’s advertising the car delivers a “self-assured presence of modern prestige” – sorry, but we’re struggling to see that.
At the same time, if you’re looking for a car that comes with plenty of space in a compact-ish package, the Toyota Corolla Sedan is great option.
It’s straightforward, reliable, predictable, safe and saves you money at the bowser.
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