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Toyota Corolla

Fuel efficiency Ancap rating
$28,630–$77,800 3.9–8.6 L/100km 5

The Toyota Corolla is the most popular passenger car in Australia.

Available in both hatchback and sedan body styles, it has long proven a winner with local buyers – having now been on our shores for more than 50 years.

Toyota Corolla Price

Ascent Sport$28,630–$31,680

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Featured Review

2023 Toyota Corolla Sedan Hybrid Red Sam Rawlings 31

2023 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport hybrid sedan review

A Corolla sedan isn't particularly attention-grabbing but with updated hybrid and media systems, it's a good, basic, cheap-to-run machine

23 Feb 2023

Few cars are as well-known as the Toyota Corolla. It’s such a powerful name that when other markets changed its name to Auris – I still cannot work out why that happened – Toyota Australia was having none of it. A generation passed and the nameplate returned the world over.

Despite the path well-trodden by the Prius to get out the word about hybrid, that car has disappeared from our shores because nobody bought it. Why would you when you could buy a Corolla for a lot less money and, perhaps almost as importantly, have fewer people laugh at you in your under-wheeled spaceship.

Toyota could have built an empire on electrification but instead of chucking itself at EVs, has decided to keep sharpening the hybrid saw. A few weeks back I drove the Corolla ZR hybrid hatch and came away even more impressed than I was before. Now it’s the sedan’s turn, but this time in entry-level Ascent Sport form.


How much is it, and what do you get?

The hybrid Corolla sedan kicks off at a very competitive $31,680 before on-road costs. I don’t think there’s any other hybrid on the market that brings this much space for the money, and it’s a thing that continues to baffle me in such a competitive market.

The new media system looks much more modern, with a lighter sat-nav interface. Sadly the same cheap buttons flank the screen.

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How do rivals compare on value?

A small hybrid sedan from another manufacturer? There isn’t one, and definitely not at this price. The closest thing you can get is the Kia Niro hybrid, but it’s substantially more expensive, and not a sedan.

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Interior comfort, space and storage

The sedan’s wheelbase is 2700mm, just 40mm longer than the hatch’s. The Hyundai i30 sedan rides on a longer wheelbase and the Kia Cerato sedan and hatch ride on identical but longer wheelbases but seem to make more of it. The length seems all about the boot.

Behind a nice wide-opening boot aperture is 470 litres of cargo space, much bigger than that of the Corolla hatch. If you need a hybrid that can carry things, this is the Corolla for you. The boot in the sedan is also more usable than that of the, with a more regular shape. Toyota doesn’t offer a seats-down capacity figure.

Compared to the Corolla hatch, things still aren’t exactly roomy in the sedan's back seat, with tight legroom but improved headroom. You have pockets in the doors – which are larger than those of the hatch – and the cup holders move to the centre armrest.

The rear seat itself is comfortable enough and a middle passenger won’t be so uncomfortable that a short trip will cause problems.

In the front, you’re treated to the excellent front seats from the hatch. I’ve said it before; I feel like someone from Toyota rode in the front of a Peugeot and said, “Hey, they’re really nice, we should do that!” They look good and apart from being a little soft with the cloth trim, are quite supportive.

The narrow centre console houses two cup holders, a couple of switches and the gear selector. Ahead of these is a space for your phone and the USB-C port.

I can’t say I’m a fan of the plastic steering wheel and genuinely wonder if they’re that much cheaper than something wrapped in a nicer covering. It just feels really cheap and even the base model Kia Seltos doesn’t have one anymore.

The new touchscreen is so much nicer to use than the old one and has wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto. Much nicer hardware and software bring this car into the 2020s although it still takes a little getting used to.

Climate control switchgear is still a naff line of chrome buttons that look really cheap, along with some of the low-grade plastics in the cabin. It is, however, pretty hardy looking and feeling in here, with the vibe of a fleet special.

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What is it like to drive?

The last time I drove a Corolla hybrid sedan I was disappointed. It was really quite slow, although very smooth and didn’t use much fuel. The lack of pace was disappointing and meant I had to work it hard to get it moving.

Luckily, Toyota’s mid-2022 Corolla refresh sorted that right out. For MY23, Toyota has fitted an updated electric motor, smaller hybrid componentry and switched to a lithium-ion battery pack from the ancient Ni-Mh unit.

The whole system is lighter and power increases by 13kW. I can't help feeling that more torque reaches the front wheels, but Toyota won't say what the combined torque figure is.

Toyota cheekily calls this a self-charging hybrid when in fact it’s exactly the same hybrid concept it has had on the market for two decades. The 1.8-litre petrol engine turns the front wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission, with an electric motor buried in there to deploy on acceleration and harvest energy from braking.

It now feels far peppier due to the extra power of this new hybrid set-up, which is quite handy and sufficiently gruntier that the front wheels cheerfully chirp. Although that could be down to the very cheap tyres fitted by Toyota to help keep costs down. They’re fine, I guess, but if they can’t handle the torque of the engine in the dry, perhaps a slightly better set might be in order.

Ride and handling aren’t as sparkly as the hatch, with a bit of extra weight and length and, I assume, a more conservative suspension tune. The result is a little more roll than the hatch, but nothing to upset stomachs or take away from the fairly serene driving experience.

Disappointment with the old car’s slowness has been replaced with a new-found fondness for the way it goes about its business. It’s not going to win any races but it’s more relaxed for someone like me knowing it’s got a bit more go.

It’s quite a nice car to drive around in even if it doesn’t look particularly cool.

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How is it on fuel?

The silly ADR test spat out a 3.9L/100km combined consumption figure to put on a sticker but in this case, it wasn’t so silly. In a week of varying use, our Corolla hybrid sedan returned an indicated 4.3L/100km.

Some folks swear blind that the trip computer could be off by 20 per cent, but I think that’s probably a little brave because it turns out that I filled it and came away with the same 4.3L/100km calculation.

The fuel tank is only 43 litres but with these figures, it's not a big drama.

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How safe is it?

The Corolla won its five-star ANCAP rating in 2018. The testing regime today may not see it hold on to that crown given the need for a centre-front airbag.

There is, however, a good list of features, such as my personal favourite, reverse cross-traffic alert.

The updated safety package includes more features in the auto emergency braking system, such as looking out for motorcyclists and helping to stop you from launching out across a junction if someone is coming your way.

For the kids, there are two sets of ISOFIX points and three top-tether anchors.

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Warranty and running costs

Toyota’s five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty applies to all Corollas.

And, as ever, you’d be mad not to service with Toyota because each of the first five services will cost $205 each for a total of $1025 over the five years.

It’s entirely likely that most if not all of these will be done in under 90 minutes so you can mooch around and play with your phone while they do it.

Service intervals are set at 12 months or 15,000km. A further two years of cover is on offer for the drivetrain if you keep servicing it with Toyota after the regular warranty expires.

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The Corolla hybrid sedan is not particularly stylish, roomy, cutting-edge or exciting, least of all in base Ascent Sport trim. The hatch isn’t hugely exciting either, but it does look a bit sportier and drives better than ever.

Regard the sedan as more of a load hauler and the real keys here are the improved media system and boosted hybrid set-up. The two of them deliver a more appealing package and despite a fairly basic cabin, it’s a pretty comfortable ride, even for long journeys.

You probably won’t buy a Corolla sedan for any other reason than it ticks the financial box, but with low running costs, a good warranty and lots of other sensible things, it’s definitely one where the head will win.

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Score breakdown
Safety, value and features
Comfort and space
Engine and gearbox
Ride and handling

Things we like

  • Brilliant fuel economy
  • Improved hybrid powertrain
  • New screen

Not so much

  • Plastic steering wheel
  • Cheap tyres
  • A bit boring to look at



Toyota Corolla variants and specifications

VariantPriceTransmissionBodyDoorsPowerFuel Type
Ascent Sport$28,630–$31,680Variable AutomaticHatchback, Sedan5, 490–126 kWPetrol
SX$31,780–$34,280Variable AutomaticHatchback, Sedan5, 490–126 kWPetrol
ZR$35,620–$39,620Variable AutomaticHatchback, Sedan5, 4113–126 kWPetrol

What Safety Features does the Toyota Corolla have?

The 2023 Toyota Corolla comes standard with dual frontal airbags, side chest-protecting airbags, side head-protecting airbags (also known as curtain airbags), and a driver knee airbag for enhanced safety. Additionally, all variants of the Corolla feature three grades of autonomous emergency braking (City, Interurban, and Vulnerable Road User) as well as lane keep assist (LKA) with lane departure warning (LDW) to help drivers stay alert and avoid collisions. These standard safety features make the 2023 Corolla a reliable and safe choice for drivers in Australia.

What are the Toyota Corolla Dimensions?

VariantBodyOverall LengthOverall WidthWeightRear seat up (to lower window)
Ascent SportSedan4,630 mm1,780 mm1,365–1,375 kg470 L
Ascent SportHatchback4,375 mm1,790 mm1,360–1,370 kg208 L
SXSedan4,630 mm1,780 mm1,375 kg470 L
SXHatchback4,375 mm1,790 mm1,360–1,370 kg208 L
ZRSedan4,630 mm1,780 mm1,375 kg470 L
ZRHatchback4,375 mm1,790 mm1,360–1,370 kg208 L

What is the fuel economy for the Toyota Corolla?

VariantFuel Economy (city)
Ascent Sport3.9–6 L/100km
SX3.9–6 L/100km
ZR3.9–6 L/100km

What warranty does Toyota offer for the Corolla?

Being a Toyota, the Corolla is guaranteed affordable capped-price servicing. Reflecting its hardcore intent, intervals are shorter than a Corolla hybrid, with maintenance due every six months/10,000km.

Three years of servicing is capped at $300/visit, for a total of $1800. The Corolla is covered by a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty.


More News

The Toyota Corolla ranges in price from $25,395* for the 2.0 Ascent Sport CVT, and $34,695* for the 1.8 ZR Hybrid e-CVT

*Pricing excludes stamp duty, other government charges and options. Prices subject to change.

The Toyota Corolla was built in Japan.

The Toyota Corolla has a 5 ANCAP crash safety rating.

The Toyota Corolla is available in unleaded petrol fuel types.

The Toyota Corolla is available in 5 and 4 door models.

The Toyota Corolla is available with boot spaces between 208 litres - 470 litres.

About the Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla is the most popular passenger car in Australia.

Available in both hatchback and sedan body styles, it has long proven a winner with local buyers – having now been on our shores for more than 50 years.

Despite dominating in its small car segment, these days it does it tough against the likes of SUVs and utes trying to find a place in the top 10 best-sellers list, but it still offers plenty of appeal as a first car, fuel-efficient runabout, or ride-sharing vehicle.

The Corolla is available in three grades: the Ascent Sport, SX and ZR. All variants come with a choice of either a 2.0-litre petrol engine or 1.8-litre hybrid, combined with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and two-wheel drive. The ZR sedan is only offered with the petrol.