It's a Guy Thing

Uber Good

Toyota Corolla Hatch 1.2T XR CVT

With its new talisman the fleet and rental sector as well as uber drivers are beginning to salivate. But in order to cajole customers up through the brand from a Yaris, the new Corolla hatch needs to offer something apart from low running costs, implacable resale value or an interior that any uber driver spends his life praying won’t be vomited in from Friday to Sunday.

The C-HR may look like a faster piece of kit but it’s the Corolla that will open up a few car lengths in a quick direction change. That’s because the center of gravity is lower but also because the rear suspension carries a few degrees of toe-in. This has a profound effect on agility, enlivening the rear in a way that causes it to leap at corners in a manner expected by a car with four-wheel steering.

I don’t think many Corolla hatch drivers will fully appreciate a setup that delivers those sneaky rewards at the edge but hatchbacks are supposed to be the fun body style with a handling brio that doffs a cap to those brighter days of RunX.

It’s good to see Toyota’s 1.2-litre turbo engines winning the votes for new model ranges. The only other feasible choice could, in future, be a hybrid of sorts like we saw arrive in C-HR far into the crossover’s lifecycle. The six-speed manual gearbox is fine but we’re moaning less about the CVT gearbox than we ever have. This one comfortably eclipses all the versions employed by other Japanese brands in terms of smoothness and quietness.

Inside meticulous local product specification means that Corolla hatch ends up competitively priced with great value. But it’s blatantly obvious that Toyota has spent money on a touchscreen and skimped elsewhere although tech-savvy individuals will be horrified by the screen’s chunky bezels as well as its crash-landing on the dash. This is still a company that is clumsy with the fitment of new digital tech – no help from BMW here.

Keeping in mind how sedan sales are sinking month on month and hatchbacks are still defiantly jostling with crossovers, the new tactics by Corolla are fresh but also grounded on solid facts. You can always rely on hatchbacks to inject fun into a package, we just didn’t expect this quantity of it. JP