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2018 Toyota Corolla price, specs and release date

The 2018 Toyota Corolla has been launched in Australia boasting new styling, active safety updates and a price jump…

Toyota has launched its 12th-generation Corolla hatchback complete with active cruise control, active lane-keep assist, automatic up/down high-beam and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) standard across the range.  But there’s a catch – a big base-model price hike.

The previous-gen Corolla Ascent manual was priced from $20,190 plus on-road costs, while the new range starts with the Corolla Ascent Sport manual priced from $22,870+ORC. And that’s for the six-speed manual transmission – the only model grade in the range to get one.

The optional automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) now boasts a ‘fixed’ first gear like a conventional auto, and it now asks a $1500 premium at $24,370+ORC, well up from the previous Corolla Ascent auto’s $21,790+ORC.

The CVT-only Corolla SX asks $2500 extra from $26,870+ORC, and the likewise CVT-only Corolla ZR steps up another $3500 to $30,370+ORC – both roughly the same as before.

For the first time, however, all three model grades score a hybrid/CVT option for $1500 above petrol/CVT pricing, with the Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid asking $25,870+ORC, the Corolla SX Hybrid requiring $28,370+ORC, and the Corolla ZR Hybrid needing $31,870+ORC.

The standard engine is now a 125kW/200Nm 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder, for the first time in a Corolla featuring direct injection, delivering a 21.3 per cent power hike and 15.6 per cent extra torque over the previous 1.8-litre. Combined-cycle fuel consumption, of between 6.0 litres (CVT) and 6.3L (manual) per 100 kilometres, is also improved by up to 6.0 per cent.

The hybrid utilises a carry-over 1.8-litre petrol engine producing 72kW/142Nm, and the electric motor 53kW/163Nm, for a combined 90kW and 4.2L/100km consumption. That’s actually 0.1L/100km higher than before, though it previously cost a bit over $27K+ORC.

Standard equipment on the Corolla Ascent Sport includes 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic on/off LED headlights with auto up/down high-beam, active cruise, lane-keep assist, AEB, 4.2-inch colour trip computer screen, 8.0-inch colour touchscreen with reversing camera, while the hybrid exclusively adds keyless auto-entry and dual-zone climate control.

The Corolla SX adds that last duo to the petrol/CVT, plus front foglights, blind-spot monitor, leather-wrapped steering wheel, digital radio, integrated satellite navigation with SUNA live traffic updates and wireless phone charging.

The Corolla ZR then ups equipment to include 18-inch alloys, leather-trimmed and heated front sports seats, a 7.0-inch colour trip computer screen, ambient lighting, a head-up display, plus an eight-speaker JBL audio system.

Hybrid gets nothing exclusive with those two model grades, however, where all Corolla petrols get a full-size alloy spare, all petrol-electric versions get a space-saver.

Meanwhile every version of Toyota’s latest small car is 40mm lower, 30mm wider and 45mm longer than before, while the all-new generation sits on a 40m-longer wheelbase.

Built on the same Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) as the dynamically excellent C-HR and Camry, a 10mm-lower centre of gravity, improved front-to-rear weight balance, and 60 per cent increase in torsional rigidity are the main claims of improvement.

The new Corolla, which weighs between 1320kg and 1420kg depending on the engine and model grade, also runs a multi-link independent rear suspension (IRS) set-up across the range for the first time, where previously IRS was reserved for the single-spec hybrid only.

Gone are claims of cheap pricing – six years ago the then-all-new Corolla hit rewind by two decades on the pricing clock, launching from $19,990+ORC – and in its place comes claims of “dynamic” performance, “premium” ride comfort and an “upscale” interior.

“Through our commitment to produce more appealing and dynamic cars … Corolla hatch leapfrogs everything in the affordable small-car segment and sets the new benchmark,” Toyota Australia’s vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said in a statement.

Watch out for our first drive impressions at 10am Thursday to see if that’s true. The all-new Toyota Corolla hatch goes on-sale this week.

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Dan DeGasperi

Dan DeGasperi