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Toyota Corolla has had an excellent reputation for reliability and good build quality for decades but evolved aesthetically over the past few years.

By Rubin van Niekerk

Buying a Toyota is also a pragmatic decision based on cost efficiency and future value. Since Toyota’s focus on interior and exterior aesthetics it has significantly increased sales and resale value. Toyota is renowned for high levels of brand loyalty and cars are often passed on within families.

I don’t think I have ever heard anybody complain about unreliability or disappointing trade ins. Over the summer holidays we were lucky enough to spend a month in a new 12th generation Corolla sedan hybrid and understood why it’s so popular in a market dominated by SUVs and crossovers. Its enormously spacious with a massive boot, making it the ideal run about whether in congested traffic or heading for the hills. As big guys we never felt cramped, and my number twelve feet found ample space in the footwell, and even extremely tall people enjoy plenty of headroom.

The superb fuel economy at 5,2 litres/100km was phenomenal. More patient driving would improve fuel economy. Nobody likes speedbumps, but the Corolla effortlessly glided over them, challenging most SUVs.

Another noteworthy aspect is the well-insulated and silent cabin that competes with more expensive premium cars. With hybrids you expect low noise levels when driving gently, but the Corolla takes it to the next level with minimal road noise enhanced by very silent tyres, which all contributes to lower stress levels and a relaxing drive.

Interior wise the quality of materials used is excellent and great for hot weather over long distances. The level of standard equipment was impressive, and we did not expect such a great sound system or such a user friendly 8-inch infotainment system. The huge boot could easily accommodate a bicycle or almost anything bigger.

A 1,8-litre engine produces 103kW in combination with the hybrid engine ensured perky performance, which was an unexpected surprise. I’m not a fan of CVT transmissions but found that a generous power to weight ratio improves CVT noise levels substantially during hard acceleration, whilst offering durability and much lower maintenance costs. We enjoyed the quick acceleration without the typical whining CVT sound. CVTs in general have improved considerably and are generally more cost effective. Driving the hybrid as you should, in other words allowing the engine to do most of the braking then your fuel consumption also improves.

I would highly recommend the Corolla Hybrid for a test drive as it offers so much comfort and value.

Pricing at R532 200 includes a 3-year/100 000km warranty and a 6-year/90 000km Service Plan.

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