The new 2.0-litre hybrid engine is only available on step-up Design models and above. They gain 17in alloys, electric heated door mirrors, rain-sensing wipers and LED fog lights, with prices starting from £23,375 for the 1.2-litre manual.
Top-spec Excel models can be equipped with either the 1.8 or 2.0-litre hybrid, with prices beginning at £27,345. Equipment includes 18in alloys, sports seats, keyless entry and part-leather upholstery.
The switch to the Corolla name marks the end of the Auris worldwide, and marks a return of the Corolla name to the UK market after an absence of 13 years. It also marks the car’s switch to the brand’s Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform. A Corolla saloon, built alongside the C-HR in Turkey, won’t come to the UK.
The Corolla was revealed at the Geneva motor show with Auris badging, suggesting that Toyota made the decision about the car’s name after its Geneva reveal. It will be available with a choice of petrol hybrid engines, but no diesel option.
The only conventional option is a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol motor with 114bhp. Two hybrid variants will be offered: the 121bhp 1.8-litre motor currently used in the C-HR and Prius, plus a new 2.0-litre version with 178bhp. The same powertrains will be offered across all three bodystyles of the new Corolla range.
Speaking at the reveal of the latest version of the small car, Toyota’s European boss, Johan van Zyl, said that the decision to axe a diesel variant was due to customer demand, noting that 41% of Toyota’s European sales in 2017 were hybrid models.
Van Zyl said: “In Europe, Auris is the model which moved [hybrid] technology from niche to mainstream. It’s been a breakthrough car for Toyota, because most have been bought by people new to the model or the technology.”
Speaking about the decision to remove diesel engines from its passenger cars in Europe, van Zyl added: “Customer demand is a clear sign that our petrol-electric hybrids are a strong and popular alternative.”
The new Corolla is built on the TNGA platform. Van Zyl said: “TNGA gives the car rigidity and a low centre of gravity. These are the qualities you need for outstanding comfort, handling and driving pleasure.” Styling, particularly at the rear, takes clear direction from the 2009 Lexus LF-Ch concept, which previewed the CT hatchback.