Opinion: Buying the new Corolla makes even more sense now… Or does it?

Sometime in the recent past, Toyota notified the public of its move towards locally-produced hybrid models. Manufactured at their Kwazulu-Natal plant, the new Corolla, Corolla Cross and Rav4 models are set to turn the market on its head.

Up until recently, South-Africans could only purchase small hatchback hybrids at a starting price of R500 000, while luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz and Lexus added somewhat of a premium price to this. The cost-benefit analysis then just proved not to be as enticing for locals.

Now, Toyota has turned the market on its head as the new Corolla Cross and Corolla are on sale for R413 000 and R419 000 respectively, while the Rav 4 Hybrid will be sold at R555 000. Not only are these models the best-priced hybrids currently on the market, but they are also similarly priced to non-hybrid segment models.

The Corolla models are claimed to run at 3.5 litres (Corolla) and 4.3 litres (Corolla Cross) per 100km, while the Rav 4 is said to consume only 4.7 l / 100km. Comparing these to the fuel consumptions of their relative non-hybrid segment competitors, the hybrid models are seen as the logic next step for any family car owner.

The Corolla itself landed on the scene in the 1960’s and took the market by storm. Ever since it has been one of the most renowned local brands due to its excellent reliability claims. Within a dying sedan market, the Corolla remains as one of the only survivors.

With the addition of the hybrid battery and petrol prices skyrocketing, the Corolla is capable of covering 800km on a single 43 litre tank of fuel. Sure, the 120kW is not as punchy as the 125kW from the 2.0 Corolla Xr, but at R44 000 and a fuel consumption of 2.3 litre / 100km less, the Xs makes far more sense out of a financial viewpoint.

Secondly, while the Xr model is equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen with USB, Bluetooth, Android Auto / Apple CarPlay connect, adjustable cruise control, lane departure and assist warnings, in-car wifi and leather seats, the Xs hybrid model includes LED head- and taillights, daytime running lights, keyless entry and start, heated and electric side mirrors, cruise control, a reverse camera, climate control, as well as an infotainment system with Bluetooth, USB and Apple Car Play and Android auto connectivity.

Sure, the Xr has a few more luxuries and looks somewhat sportier, but it certainly comes with a price. Both in terms of initial car purchase and fuel spending.

Let’s make your decision even more difficult.

Toyota’s new compact SUV, set to slot in just below the Rav4 in terms of size, will sell for between R349 900 and R448 300.

While the Corolla Hybrid will only be sold in an Xs variant, the Corolla Cross will sell in both the Xs (R413 000) and Xr (R448 300) variants. The Corolla Cross Hybrid Xs will then be R 6000 cheaper than the Corolla Xs Hybrid, while the Corolla Cross Hybrid Xr will be R20 400 cheaper than the normal Corolla Xr and R29 000 more expensive than the Corolla Xs Hybrid.

All three of the Corolla and Corolla Cross Hybrid models will be sold with a 90 000km service plan, 3-year / 100 000km warranty and an 8-year hybrid warranty.

Furthermore, all Corolla Cross models will include an anti-theft system, auto door-lock, ISOFIX anchor points, driver + passenger + side airbags, vehicle stability control and ABS with EBD and hill assist control.

Additionally, the XR models will include adaptive speed control, blind spot monitoring, lane trace assist and pre-collision systems.

The Xs Corolla Cross Hybrid will also include more features than the Corolla Xs hybrid itself in that it will include two USB ports, a TFT-type display dual zone air conditioning, park distance control and a black leather interior. The Corolla Xs hybrid has a fabric interior.

Similar to the XS Corolla, the Xs Corolla Cross has LED headlamps, touchscreen with app connectivity and reverse camera.

Additionally, the Xr Corolla Cross Hybrid will be sold with 18” alloy wheels, black and grey radiator grille, a choice of black or red leather interior and LED interior illumination.

While the Corolla Xs hybrid is an excellent vehicle in its own right, the new Corolla Cross hybrid models might just win more favour with the public. 

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