2022 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid review

This is one of the most popular cars in the world and has been a constant factor in Aussie sales charts for decades, we find out why.

The Toyota Corolla is one of the best-selling vehicles in the world, with more than 50 million units sold during its lifetime. We get behind the wheel of the cheapest hybrid variant to find out what it’s all about.

WHERE THE

Small car prices have skyrocketed in recent years and Toyota’s Corolla range is no exception.

Prices start at about $29,000 drive-away for the base Ascent Sport and go up to $38,500 for the premium ZR. You can add hybrid power for $2000 and a sedan body is available for free.

We tested the Ascent Sport Hybrid hatchback with a price tag of about $31,000 to drive.

The Ascent Sport model is a no-nonsense affair with 16-inch alloy wheels and LED lighting.

Inside is an 8-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are several USB charging points on the front and Bluetooth connectivity. Satellite navigation and digital radio cost extra.

The instrument panel feels outdated, with mostly analog dials with a small 4.2-inch digital information display. Toyota backs its cars with a five-year/unlimited mileage warranty and capped service is very cheap at just $205 each or $1025 over five years.

COMFORT

Toyota has some of the most comfortable seats in the industry, offering great support and adjustability.

Ascent Sport variants have cloth upholstery, while there are hard plastic surfaces that make the cabin feel a little cold and uninviting.

There’s plenty of room in the front for taller passengers, while the rear seats are snug but have plenty of legroom for a small hatch.

There are no vents or charging points for rear passengers. The boot is a stingy 217 litres, which is significantly less than the smaller Toyota Yaris hatchback. If you need more luggage space, the sedan is a better choice, as it has a luggage capacity of 470 liters. The suspension smooths out most bumps and bumps well, but you’ll feel bigger lumps and ripples. The road noise is disturbing on uneven road surfaces.

SAFETY

The Ascent Sport class lacks key safety features such as blind spot monitoring and rear intersection warning, which alerts you to cars approaching from the side while you’re backing up. You have to pay an extra $3000 for the SX class for those features.

The Corolla brakes automatically when it detects a possible collision with a car, pedestrian or cyclist. Lane-Keep Assist pulls on the wheel to keep you on track if it senses you are wandering. Seven airbags provide comprehensive collision protection.

THE DRIVING

Toyota combines a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor up to 90 kW. There are no official combined torque figures.

Thanks to the electric motor, it feels fast and is most at home in traffic. It feels stable on the highway, but it lacks the grunt for smooth overtaking. Toyota has pushed the wheels to the corners of the vehicle, giving it a planted feel and go-kart-like cornering. The short front and rear overhangs make it one of the easier cars to park in tight urban environments.

Fuel economy is the big selling point. The Hybrid only drinks 4.2L/100km of the cheapest unleaded petrol. The Corolla will really hit this number in the real world and if you’re careful with the throttle you can sometimes beat the official number in traffic.

PRONOUNCEMENT 3.5/5

The Corolla Hybrid is a fun-to-drive hatchback that’s expensive to buy, but cheap to drive and own.

ALTERNATIVES

Kia Cerato S, from $27,490 ride

Cheap and well equipped small car that lacks some important safety equipment.

Mazda3 Pure, starting around $31,200

Good looks and industry leading standard safety. Thirsty compared to the hybrid, yes.

Hyundai i30, starting at $27,990

Well built with a more powerful engine, but lacks some safety technology.

TOYOTA COROLLA ASCENT SPORT HYBRID VITALS

PRICE Drive away about $31,000

ENGINE 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine and electric motor, 90 kW

WARRANTY/MAINTENANCE Five years/unlimited mileage, $1025 over five years

SAFETY Seven airbags, automatic emergency braking system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane assistant and radar cruise control

THIRST 4.2L/100km

RESERVE temporary

LUGGAGE 217 liters

Originally published as 2022 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid review

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