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The world’s most loved car, the Toyota Corolla, is now available with a hybrid powertrain in New Zealand.
The Corolla Hatch Hybrid is based on the popular petrol engined Corolla GLX model and will sell for $38,490 with an eight year warranty* on the hybrid battery.
“With fuel saving hybrid technology in our largest selling passenger car we are giving more customers the opportunity to reduce their operating costs,” said Spencer Morris, Toyota New Zealand’s General Manager of Product.
“We’re taking it mainstream by marrying our biggest selling car with hybrid technology.
“Corolla is a logical and high profile extension of the normalisation of hybrid technology into volume models that was started by Camry here in 2010.”
Corolla Hatch Hybrid is expected to appeal to both fleet and company car buyers who wish to reduce overall running costs and private buyers who see buying a hybrid “as the right thing to do” but haven’t been able to stretch to the similar sized flagship Prius model.
Over a five year period, fuel savings of the Corolla Hatch Hybrid are expected to be around $2,500**, when compared to the Petrol Corolla GLX.
“It easily stacks up financially,” said Steve Prangnell, Toyota New Zealand’s General Manager of Sales.
“We expect it will appeal to people who want a Hybrid and prefer to drive a more mainstream looking car as well as Fleet managers who recognise the dual advantages of lower running costs and a better carbon footprint for their business.”
Toyota New Zealand expects to sell up to 400 Corolla Hatch Hybrids in the second half of this year, with total Corolla sales expected to exceed 6,000 in 2016.
“Customers have the choice of both our traditional Petrol range and now the new Hybrid Corolla, which with its competitive price will be on the shopping list for everybody looking at purchasing a small hatch.”
Mr Prangnell expects to attract sales away from other brand’s small hatchbacks where hybrid technology is not available.
Corolla Hatch Hybrid also gives Toyota the opportunity to dispel some of the myths and misinformation around the technology said Mr Morris.
“It’s not a plug in. Range anxiety is not an issue like a pure electric vehicle,” he said. “It improves fuel efficiency by reclaiming wasted energy through regenerative braking and engine stop/start.
Mr Morris said the petrol and electric motors can work in tandem, or separately depending on the circumstances to save fuel.
The Corolla Hatch Hybrid has ‘best in class’ overall fuel consumption of 4.1 L/100kms and CO2 emissions of 96 g/km. By way of comparison, the petrol engined Corolla GLX is rated at 6.1 L/100kms and 143 g/km.
The Hybrid Synergy Drive system has a combined output of 100kWs from the 1.8-litre Atkinson Cycle four cylinder petrol engine and the electric motor when working in tandem.
Power is transmitted by an electronic continuously variable transmission with Power, Economy and Electric Vehicle modes.
Apart from the powertrain, the other mechanical changes to the Corolla Hybrid when compared to the GLX model include; larger front brakes to assist regenerative braking, Michelin low rolling resistance tyres to improve fuel efficiency and double wishbone rear suspension with a stabiliser bar for improved handling and road hold.
On the exterior, the Corolla Hatch Hybrid can be distinguished from its GLX sibling by its bi-LED headlights and LED daytime running lights with automatic levelling and cleaners which are also fitted to the flagship Corolla Levin ZR petrol model.
There are Hybrid badges on the front fenders and hybrid emblems at the front and rear.
In the cabin a hybrid drive economy meter replaces the tachometer and a 4.2 inch colour multi-information display screen has been added. There is also smart entry and push button start, which again is only fitted to Levin petrol engined models.
The GLX’s air conditioning system has been upgraded to an automatic dual zone system in the Hybrid. The gear selector is the same resin type as used in the Prius.
The Corolla Hatch Hybrid has the same comprehensive package of safety equipment as the rest of the Corolla range, including anti-lock brakes with brake assist, electronic brake-force distribution, vehicle stability control, traction control, hill start assist control and a brake override system.
There are seven airbags and three point seat belts for all five seats, with three tether anchors and two ISOFIX points.
Other standard features include cruise control, manual tilt and telescopic adjustable steering column, leather steering wheel with audio and MID controls, power steering, power windows, front fog lights, power exterior mirrors, 60:40 split folding rear seats, CD audio system with 7 inch TFT display and reverse camera.
* Hybrid battery warranty valid for 8 years/160,000km, whichever occurs first under normal operating conditions.
** Fuel consumption varies depending on driving conditions / style, vehicle conditions and options / accessories. Source of fuel consumption data: ADR 81/02. Five year fuel cost based on 15,000km per annum at $2/L using 91 octane for Corolla Petrol and $2.10/L using 95 octane for Corolla Hybrid. Corolla Hatch Hybrid combined fuel consumption of 4.1L/100km compared with Petrol Corolla Hatch GLX combined fuel consumption of 6.1L/100km.