Sam says it’s a winner


While I always drive test vehicles without preconceived perceptions, admittedly, I did wonder what the fuss was about when it came to the Corolla Hatch Xr. It was after all, just a Corolla.  


Then I opened the door and my interest level was piqued a bit more. It was the Xr model which meant it had bucket seats and an immersive and classy interior. I quickly reminded myself not to be taken by this, there are much more important specs to consider.


Then I started the car and my interest positively soared. It started with a thrum that I did not expect from a Corolla. It almost seemed like the car was almost vibrating to go. Once I did leave, I was sold within seconds. It wasn’t ‘just a Corolla’ anymore.


The drive

The power is phenomenal. The Xr has a 1.2 litre turbocharged engine with a 10-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic Continiously Variable Transmission (CVT). This allows for 85 kW of power and torque of 185 Nm. The fuel consumption is set at 6.1 litres/100km.


You can expect a powerful as well confident drive from the Corolla Hatch. When you reach 120km/h, it feels as if you are only reaching the tip of the iceberg. The Xr has so much more power to give. Added to this, the smoothness of the ride is impressive. So much so, that at times you barely even know you are driving at the maximum speed limit at times.


The superb drive is as a result of the ‘Toyota New Global Architecture’ (TNGA) foundation on which all Toyota’s future powertrain and vehicle development is based. It is meant to bring consistency to the driving quality, and revolutionise designs and engineering. It is central to Toyota’s mission to build ever-better cars that are more stylish, more enjoyable and even safer to drive.


The result is a car that is thoroughly enjoyable to drive. Nothing is better than a car that you want to jump into and drive just for the enjoyment of it and the Corolla Hatch has that in spades. You feel in-tune and in absolute control with the hatch.



The exterior design of the Corolla Hatch is also based on the TNGA platform. Various adjustments have been made to create a much sportier appearance than what the car has ever had before. It is even an improvement on the Auris which is what the Corolla Hatch replaces.


As mentioned, the interior design creates a classy yet sporty look and feel. The ergonomics of the car combine to make driving a very pleasurable experience. The bucket seats are composed of leather and Alcantara suede with coloured stitching. It creates the feeling that you are almost sitting in a cocoon but without feeling stifled.


The rear passengers are considered as well. There is increased room allowing you to seat two passengers comfortably. Rear passengers have their own cupholders and there are ISOFix car seat anchors. The seatbelt alert also sounds for rear passengers if they have not buckled up.


Tech and safety

The Corolla Hatch also has considerable tech and safety features. The electronic parking brake works ultra-intuitively, automatically engaging and disengaging when turning the vehicle on and off. The multi-function information display is crystal clear, particularly noticeable with the reverse camera.


The Xr variant has power-adjustable driver lumbar support, seat-heating function for driver and passenger and blind spot monitoring (BSM). My only critique is that the boot is very small, however, this is unlikely to be a concern for the intended drivers of this car.


Needless to say, the Corolla Hatch Xr is not ‘just a Corolla.’ The drive is outstanding and no other feature has been neglected either. Toyota has made considerable strides in their attempt to introduce the ‘boldest and most dynamic hatchback on the market, without compromising interior usability.’”



Good to know

The specs of the Corolla Hatch Xr

Engine: 1.2 litre turbocharged engine

Transmission: 10-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic CVT

Power:  85 kW

Torque: 185 Nm

Claimed fuel efficiency: 6.1L/100km

Price: from R367 100

Warranties and service plans: All Corolla Hatch models come standard with a 6-year/90 000 km service plan and 3-year/100 000 km warranty. Service intervals are set at 12 months/15 000 km


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