Bargain hunters might be more attracted to the new Corolla sedan over its hatchback sibling — and it all comes down to size.
Its boot that’s more than twice the capacity (470L) of the hatch’s and there’s an extra 60mm between the front and rear wheels, so you get more metal for the same money.
There’s extra legroom, although the Corolla is still a small car and there are no rear air vents.
Toyota believes the sedan’s new hybrid version will broaden its appeal to families, fleet operators and Uber drivers.
The 90kW 1.8-litre hybrid set-up is old school but effective. Acceleration is robust at city speeds and fuel consumption, a claimed 3.5L/100km, is about half that of most small cars.
The perky 125kW 2.0-litre is paired to a clever continuously variable transmission with a regular first gear for more predictable take-offs. It’s slick and progressive, although there are thrummy vibrations when taking off briskly.
With prices starting from $23,335 (plus on-roads) the petrol-powered Corolla matches its hatchback sibling in equipment and price. Hybrid versions add $1500.
Grades are Ascent Sport, SX and ZR, almost identical to the hatch. The top-shelf ZR comes standard with a sunroof — adding $1500 to the hatch price, at $33,635 — but isn’t available as a hybrid.
Wheels and tyres fitted to the Ascent Sport and SX Hybrid sedans are aimed at optimising fuel economy. The 15-inch wheels have plastic covers to enhance aerodynamics (Hybrid hatch versions are fitted with 16-inchers) and the low rolling resistance rubber also has less grip.
The steering isn’t as direct and the tyres start to wail at moderate cornering angles.
Thankfully the core DNA of the Corolla ensures the driving experience is still sound.
Toyota Corolla Hybrid sedan
Price: From $26,335 plus on-roads
Warranty/servicing: 5 yrs/unlimited km, $875 for 5 yrs/75,000km
Safety: 5 stars, 7 airbags, AEB, rear camera, lane keep assist, road sign recognition
Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cyl, electric motor, 90kW/163Nm
Originally published as The ideal car for bargain hunters