Toyota Auris reverts to Toyota Corolla name ahead of 2019 launch

Toyota confirms the return of the Corolla nameplate in the UK, and an SUV variant could be on the cards too

Toyota has confirmed the return of the Corolla – the new Auris presented at the Geneva Motor Show back in March will be badged as such when it goes on sale in Britain early next year. 

The Auris nameplate will be dropped globally, with the firm’s C-segment offering and Volkswagen Golf rival to be offered in three different styles. Alongside the hatchback variant, an estate bodied Corolla Touring Sports wagon will be presented at the Paris Motor Show this October. 

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“There is no better moment than the launch of the upcoming new generation model to reintroduce the Corolla name to our C-segment hatchback and wagon”, said Dr Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe. Toyota says that the move to bring back the Corolla name makes sense, given the new car’s extensive changes owing to its all-new platform.

A saloon version has been confirmed as well, though we’ll have to wait to find out if this version of the new Corolla will be offered in Britain. Toyota has also trademarked Corolla Cross, strongly suggesting that a jacked up crossover inspired version is being considered. 

Toyota is ramping up its commitment to hybrid technology with the new Corolla. The Japanese firm has confirmed that it will no longer offer diesel power on its models – bringing Toyota into line with its Lexus luxury division – and the new Corolla will lead the way for the firm’s latest hybrid tech.

As before, the Corolla is a rival for the VW Golf and Ford Focus, but it’s brand-new from the ground up. It uses Toyota New Generation Architecture (TNGA) chassis components, so that means it shares technology with the latest Prius hybrid and C-HR crossover models.

Toyota is making bold claims about the new Corolla, claiming that it will be a more rewarding drive than the rather dull current car. To that end, Toyota has fitted a more sophisticated multi-link rear suspension set-up and the bodyshell is more rigid, too.

The new Corolla has a look that takes some inspiration from the likes of the C-HR and new Supra. It’s 40mm longer than the car it replaces, and all of that extra length has been added between the front and rear axles. This should help to increase the amount of room in the cabin. The rest of the new model’s design exploits the switch to TNGA to be 25mm lower and 30mm wider than the old Corolla, and the front overhang has also been cut by 20mm, improving the car’s proportions.

Darkened windows on the cars on the show stand mean interior details are still under wraps, but the exterior styling is a hefty evolution from the current car’s, with slim headlamps and tail-lights (incorporating LED tech) along with chunky, aggressive front and rear bumpers, plus a lower grille whose shape, Toyota claims, is designed to emphasise the latest car’s width.

There are big changes under the bonnet, too, for instead of the outgoing model’s range of petrol engines and a single hybrid, the new Corolla gets a choice of electrified powertrains and just a single conventional option. Toyota hasn’t issued any details on the output or performance of the regular petrol, a 1.2-litre turbo, but we’d expect it to have similar figures to the version that’s in the C-HR (and the current Auris); so around 114bhp.

The big-selling hybrid will be the well-known 1.8-litre set-up that is currently seen in the Prius and C-HR, which produces 120bhp. This can be driven on electricity alone “up to 50 per cent of the time during everyday commuting”, according to Toyota.

But the Corolla will also introduce a new 2.0-litre hybrid configuration, with 177bhp, and Toyota says this powertrain will have a greater focus on performance to better exploit the TNGA platform’s benefits. That model will have steering wheel-mounted shift paddles to allow the driver to take manual control of the car’s CVT transmission.

Toyota has confirmed that the new Corolla will be built at the company’s UK plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire, following £240m of fresh investment in the factory to get it ready for TNGA production. The car will go on sale early in 2019, and its starting price is likely to be similar to the current Auris at around £20,000.

Check out the latest news from the 2018 Geneva Motor Show

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