TOYOTA SAYS THE MODEL WILL APPEAL TO BOTH MAINSTREAM DRIVERS AND FLEET OPERATORS
Toyota New Zealand plans to have a hybrid version across its model range within the next few years, with the Corolla the latest to join the line-up.
Priced from $38,490, the Corolla hatch hybrid is based on the petrol GLX version and is expected to be popular with businesses.
Toyota NZ says the Corolla hybrid will appeal to fleet and companies as the running costs of this model show significant savings over the petrol version.
Toyota NZ’s general manager of sales, Steve Prangnell, said over a five-year period the fuel savings, when compared with a Corolla GLX petrol, were expected to be around $2500, with resale value of the hybrid expected to be $1000 more than the petrol version.
“It easily stacks up financially,” said Prangnell.
“We expect it will appeal to people who want a hybrid and prefer to drive a more mainstream-looking car, as well as fleet managers who recognise the dual advantages of lower running costs and a better carbon footprint for their business.”
The Corolla hybrid has fuel consumption of 4.1l/100km and CO2 emissions of 96 g/km, while the GLX petrol has 6.1L/100kms and 143 g/km.
Toyota NZ expects to sell up to 400 Corolla hybrids in the second half of this year, and 850 in 2017.
Globally, Toyota sells 24 hybrid models and nine Lexus hybrids in more than 90 countries. In New Zealand there are now seven hybrid versions: three Prius models (the C, V and hatch), three Camrys and now the Corolla.
Lexus NZ has eight models on sale here – the IS300h, ES300h, NX300h, RX450h, CT200h, GS300h, GS450h and the LS600h — with 50 per cent of its sales locally now hybrid.
Toyota Motor Company now produces a million hybrids in 10 months, with the parent company expecting to reach total global sales of 1.5m hybrids per year, reaching a total of 15m built by 2020.
In New Zealand the taxi business takes up a lot of the Camry hybrid stock, while the all-new Prius is proving popular with private buyers. A bonus for hybrid owners is that the cost of the battery replacement has halved. The price used to be around $8000-$9000; now it is $3000-$4000.
The Corolla hybrid battery also has an eight-year warranty.
That battery and hybrid system produces a combined output of 100kWs when paired with the 1.8-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with Power, Economy and Electric Vehicle modes.
The hybrid also differs from the GLX petrol version by having larger front brakes (to help the hybrid’s regenerative braking), Michelin low-rolling resistance tyres to improve fuel efficiency and double wishbone rear suspension with a stabiliser bar for improved handling and road hold.
On the outside, the Corolla hybrid has LED headlights and LED daytime running lights, plus hybrid badges on the front fenders and hybrid emblems at the front and rear.
Inside the car, a hybrid drive economy meter replaces the tachometer and a 4.2in colour infotainment display screen has been added.
But on the downside, the Corolla hybrid has no satnav (that’s saved for the more expensive Corollas) and no Apple CarPlay, so you could use your smartphone to help navigate.
Toyota NZ says there are no plans at present to offer Apple CarPlay, as TMC is still considering this upgrade.
But I’d say you could expect to see that (and the Android version) in the next-gen Toyotas as the app works so well (as seen in such vehicles in New Zealand as the Holden Spark, VWs and Audis).
The GLX’s air conditioning system has been upgraded to an automatic dual zone system in the Hybrid. The gear selector is the same resin type as used in the Prius.
The media launch of the Corolla hybrid was held in Manawatu with the drive route from Palmerston North airport to the Manfeild racetrack in Fielding.
The route took in urban and country driving before a fuel economy test on the Manfeild track.
Though the official figure from the Corolla hatch is 4.1l/100km, some of my colleagues recorded 3l/100km, while Toyota NZ staff in previous training days on the track had gone below that.