It's a return to a traditional name for the radical replacement for the Auris
- The Toyota Corolla will be built in UK, and promises to be as reliable as ever
- Promises big improvements over previous model
- Will have two hybrid powertrains plus one conventional petrol engine
- Toyota will have a tough time encouraging the young or image conscious into this car
- Sharp styling, but does it look exciting enough to stand out in this market sector?
The replacement for the outgoing Toyota Auris hatchback brings back one of the car industry's most famous nameplates. The Toyota Corolla, which should go on sale in the UK will be pitched right at the heart of the one of the most hotly-contested market sectors – and its maker promises that it will be capable of being a class-leader.
That's a big ask when you're up against the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, SEAT Leon, Vauxhall Astra as well as the huge proliferation of mid-sized family-oriented SUVs typified by the Nissan Qashqai and SEAT Ateca.
The old Auris was a very worthy and rational purchase – particularly in hybrid guise – but not exactly the most exciting thing to look at or drive. But that's all set to change now that the new Toyota Corolla has been announced. Like the outgoing model it will be built in the UK, and should hit roads at the beginning of 2019.
Furthermore, it'll be the first to feature the Japanese manufacturer’s Dual Hybrid Strategy - a choice of two different petrol-electric powertrains, plus a conventional 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol.
Two types of Toyota Corolla hybrid
As well as the fuel-sipping 122hp 1.8-litre combustion engine and battery-powered motor combination we’ve driven in various Prius and C-HR guises (including one we ran for six months), the new Corolla will also feature a more performance-focused 2.0-litre unit with 180hp.
Toyota says there’s more to the new motor than a small boost in displacement – for a start it’s calling it the Dynamic Force Engine, which sounds like something from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The firm’s own press material promises an ‘energised drive’, plus paddles to shift the CVT transmission's simulated gears manually.
Trick engineering means it’s more efficient and increased mid-range pulling power. Plus, when you press on Toyota promises that the hybrid system will keep engine revs down and draw more electric power from the battery, avoiding the old car’s noisy, lacklustre acceleration.
All of this sounds great – pick the 1.8-litre hybrid if you want the ultimate Corolla fuel economy, or the 2.0-litre version if you want small bills but also like putting your foot down every now and again.
So, what about a diesel version? There won't be one. Aside from the Land Cruiser SUV, as well as its vans and pickups, Toyota has already confrimed that diesel-engined vehicles will disappear from its price lists before the new Corolla even goes on sale.
Any other changes for the 2019 Toyota Corolla?
As well as a more dynamic look, Toyota has announced a load of new tech that fits into its New Global Architecture.
Whether or not these innovations will make their way into the Corolla is yet to be seen, but we certainly hope the new continuously variable transmission automatic will feature, thanks to its clever new launch gear and revised ratios, which means better performance at all speeds but especially from a standing start – a weak point in the old Auris hybrid.
There’s also a new six-speed manual gearbox, which can adjust the engine revs when changing gear to ensure smooth shifts, and an exciting-sounding E-Four all-wheel drive system for hybrid electric vehicles.
Will there be a Toyota Corolla Touring Sports?
Yes. Toyota says that the Corolla Touring Sports will be unveiled on 2 October.
It remains to be seen whether there's a market for such a car alongside better-known models like the Peugeot 308 SW and Ford Focus Estate - especially given the proliferation of SUVs that claim to do much of the same job.
But, given that the old Auris Touring Sports sold decently well, its maker clearly thinks replacing it is worth the effort.
The Parkers Verdict
With its sharp new styling, we reckon that Toyota is in the money when it says that the 2019 Corolla will be more of a showroom pull than the old Auris. It's based on the same underpinnings as the C-HR and Prius, so it will also drive pretty smartly, and will be on the pace in terms of hybrid tech.
What will be interesting to see is whether it will attract buyers from rival carmakers, as well as picking up Toyota faithful looking to replace their Auris – we'll know more when we get behind the wheel later in 2018.