The fourth best-selling vehicle in 2021, the Toyota Corolla is a popular choice because of its simplicity, fuel efficiency and dependability. If you're looking for a moderately priced sub-compact car, the Corolla is the go-to option.
The 2022 Corolla comes in a hybrid format, enabling drivers to save even more fuel/km. Here we discover how Toyota has refined and improved the hybrid Corolla for 2022, as well as consider whether other vehicles in the marketplace might provide a better fit for your needs.
Possibly the key feature about the hybrid Corolla is that it's a hybrid! Hybrids deliver the fuel-saving and green feel-good factor of an electric vehicle, but without the need to use a charging station - the car generates its own electricity as it moves.
Other things that make the Toyota Corolla stand out include:
- LED headlights (which is a real plus, given that others in the Corolla class still struggle along with halogen bulbs.
- Depending on the trim, drivers can benefit from funky features such as privacy glass, chrome exhaust tips and a JBL audio system.
Exterior and Interior
If you like a sporty, fun vibe to your motoring, the Corolla is for you. It's available in sedan and hatchback variants - the hatchback has a sporty look, whilst the sedan is all edgy urban style. The Corolla is easy on the eye and generic enough to appeal to a wide audience.
Inside is well laid out, with a fair few soft-touch materials that give out a high-quality ambience. There's a reasonable amount of storage and little touches like ambient lighting add value. That said, it doesn't have the luxury vibe of a BMW, Mazda or Lexus - if interior looks are a priority for you, there are better choices out there.
Be warned: there isn't much room in the second row! It's great for smaller children, but if you regularly transport adults in the back, they'll be cramped on longer trips.
Boot space is reasonable and isn't compromised by the hybrid's battery.
Although the Corolla is available in other hybrid variants elsewhere, in Australia the 1.8l petrol hybrid teamed with a CVT transmission is the only option on offer for 2022. The engine delivers 90kw (142Nm of torque) and averages around 3.6l/100km.
Reviews of the driving experience are largely positive - the suspension has been revamped for 2022, resulting in a very comfortable ride. Handling is good and there's enough power for the Corolla to hold its own. It's not quite as fast as some of its rivals, but if you're looking to save on your fuel consumption, you're probably not going to want to waste petrol on swift acceleration.
There's very little not to like about the way the Corolla drives - some reviewers complain about wind noise at higher speeds, but other than that, it's an absolute pleasure to spend time in.
If tech matters to you, the Corolla may not tick all your boxes. Reviewers claim the 8" infotainment screen is fiddly to operate and suffers from poor resolution.
Apple Car Play and Android Auto compliant, it does what's needed, but certainly isn't a compelling reason to buy the Corolla. Other techy features include keyless start, the option of an upgrade to JBL speakers and front and rear parking sensors.
One of the best things about the Corolla is how safe it is. Fitted with Toyota's Toyota Safety Sense package, it benefits from a wide range of autonomous driving features that significantly enhance safety. Other safety features include seven SRS airbags, lane departure alert, road signs assist and an auto high beam feature.
5-star ANCAP rated, the range and quality of the safety suite is a strong point in favour of making the Toyota Corolla hybrid your next vehicle.
A basic spec Ascent Sport Corolla hybrid will cost around $27,395. At the other end of the price range, a ZR two-toned option hybrid will cost you around $35,645.
Pros and Cons
- Attractive, striking exterior
- Extremely safe
- Limited tech
- Uninspiring interior
The fact that the Corolla has been Australia's best-selling passenger car for nine years straight means it's pretty clear nobody's going to be disappointed driving one of these off the forecourt. Corollas are notoriously reliable, as well as being practical, very safe, fuel-efficient, great to drive, comfortable and spacious enough to suit the needs of most families. There's very little to fault.
What may be worth considering, however, is how much the subcompact family car market has changed in the past decade, particularly when it comes to hybrid options. South Korean manufacturers in particular have really upped their game when it comes to creating hi-tech hybrids that match (and even, in some cases, surpass) the Corolla's features and performance. If you look at models such as the Hyundai Ioniq and the Kia Niro, it's difficult to see how the Corolla is noticeably better.
In addition, the growth in public charging points (there are now around 3,000 in the country), as well as more competitive pricing, means if you're planning to go electric, it may be worth considering a plug-in hybrid or even an EV. The hybrid landscape is a fast-changing one - the Corolla is an excellent choice, but it's by no means the only great family hybrid out there.
Other Options to Consider
The Ioniq is arguably Hyundai's flagship hybrid, and it shows! Not only does its performance rival that of the Corolla, but it's also got noticeably better tech - a 10.25" infotainment screen, for example, and wireless phone charging. Hyundai has looked at sustainability throughout the vehicle. The interior, for example, features recycled and reclaimed materials, as well as bio-fabrics, industrial by-products and powdered woods.
The exterior benefits from LED lighting, heated and folding side mirrors and an adaptive front grille. Hyundai appears to have thought carefully about all the little details in the Ioniq - the result is a sophisticated, hi-tech car that's an attractive choice if you want a thoroughly modern hybrid.
If straightforward, practical, fuel-efficient driving is your style, the Kia Niro is well worth a second glance. It's not a flashy car, but it is very safe, great to drive and reliable. Reviewers were impressed by how well it drove, as well as its comfort and the range of tech it contained.
For motorists who favour practicality and value, the Niro is a good investment.
Not yet available in the hybrid form here, the i30 is a small, family car that is characterised by practicality, economy and comfort. Smaller than the Ioniq, it seats four in comfort rather than five. Arguably stronger on tech than the Corolla, the i30 is an understated choice that offers great value.