2019 Toyota Corolla chasing segment-leading safety

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The upcoming Toyota Corolla will help redefine the small-car segment in terms of active and passive safety, bringing a host of driver aids to put even some Lexus models to shame.

The 12th-generation Corolla, which launches in August, will come standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2, encompassing a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and autonomous-emergency braking.

The latest safety suite from Toyota can also detect pedestrians and other vehicles at night, and gains the ability to detect cyclists in daytime.

In addition, every new Corolla will gain adaptive cruise control and lane-departure alert with steering assist and automatic high beam. That makes it the only vehicle in its segment with these as standard features across the range, including the absolute base model.

Other safety features available in higher grades include lane-tracing assist, designed to help turn the vehicle on the highway or in heavy traffic to aid in ‘reducing driver burden’. Additionally, an intuitive road-sign-assist package will be offered, capable of identifying certain stop, give way, do not enter and speed limit signs.

Although pricing hasn’t been confirmed – currently it ranges from around $20,000 to $30,000 – we suspect a slight price increase is on the cards to account for the extensive standard gear.

Toyota Australia’s vice president of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, told Australian media at the Corolla’s launch in San Diego today the car will remain ‘extremely competitive and affordable’.

“It will remain the leader of its segment and continue as Australia’s best-selling passenger car,” Hanley said.

“We are positioning the new Corolla as a premium, high-quality hatch focused on performance and technology with more attractive styling, more spec including advanced safety, and more powerful yet more efficient drivetrains.”

The new model is based on the company’s TNGA platform, shared with the new Camry, C-HR and Prius. Apart from a 60 per cent increase in torsional rigidity, the Corolla is 40mm longer and 25 mm lower, while the cowl height has been lowered by 47 mm.

Toyota will offer the Corolla in three variants, each of which is offered with a new 2.0-litre petrol engine in manual or CVT, or an updated 1.8-litre hybrid-electric powertrain with a CVT. It marks the first time the hybrid power unit will be offered across the range.

“With the new Corolla, we’re stepping up our hybrid strategy by offering this technology across the range, rather than a single grade.”

The new 2.0-litre engine will pump out a healthy 126kW of power and 205Nm of torque, which compares favourably to the current car’s 103kW and 173Nm. Fuel economy figures are said to be improved, however official figures remain unconfirmed for now.

The hybrid model’s performance and electric-only range are also subject to confirmation, but Toyota says the average owner should be able to commute 50 per cent of the time on electric power.

Potential customers will be glad to know the new Corolla will get a more advanced CVT, designed to improve the feel of its power and torque delivery.

With 10 programmed ‘gears’, as well as sports mode and paddle shifters, the new CVT will bring about what Toyota calls a ‘launch gear’, enabling a more conventional (less elastic) feeling off the line.

As you might already know, the Corolla has the title of ‘world’s best-selling car of all time’. With about 45 million sales to date, one Corolla has been built and sold somewhere in the world every 37 seconds. Of that 45 million, the company estimates around 30 million are still in operation today.

Australia has accounted for a massive 1.4 million of those Corollas, around one of five Toyotas sold in Australia. It has remained Australia’s best-selling passenger car for the past five years.

Features, which aren’t yet 100 per cent confirmed for each grade include:

  • 16 and 18-inch alloy wheels
  • 8-inch satellite navigation screen
  • Dual-zone air-conditioning
  • A 10-speaker JBL sound system
  • Keyless smart entry and start
  • 7-inch colour MID
  • Colour head-up display
  • Wireless phone charger.

One notable exception remains Apple CarPlay, which is offered on North American models but remains under consideration for Australia for the time being, with a launch date that remains unconfirmed.

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