Review of the 2022 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid
It’s one of the most popular cars in the world and has been a constant feature of Australian sales for decades, we find out why.
The Toyota Corolla is one of the best-selling vehicles in the world, having sold over 50 million units in its lifetime. We get behind the wheel of the cheaper hybrid variant to find out what it’s all about.
Prices for small cars have skyrocketed in recent years and Toyota’s Corolla lineup is no exception.
Prices start at around $29,000 drive-away for the base Ascent Sport and go up to $38,500 for the top-spec ZR. You can add hybrid power for $2,000, and a sedan body is available at no cost.
We tested the Ascent Sport Hybrid sedan priced around $31,000 drive-away.
The Ascent Sport model is a no-frills affair with 16-inch alloy wheels and LED lights.
Inside, there’s an eight-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are several front USB charging points and Bluetooth connectivity. Satellite navigation and digital radio are extra.
The instrument cluster looks outdated, featuring mostly analog dials with a small 4.2-inch digital info display. Toyota covers its cars with a five-year/unlimited-km warranty and capped maintenance is super cheap at just $205 a pop or $1,025 over five years.
Toyota offers some of the most comfortable seats in the industry, offering good support and adjustability.
Ascent Sport variants have cloth trim, while hard plastic surfaces can make the cabin feel a bit cold and unattractive.
There’s plenty of space up front for taller passengers, while the rear seats are comfortable but offer decent legroom for a small hatch.
There are no air vents or charging points for rear passengers. The trunk holds a paltry 217 litres, which is significantly less than that of the small Toyota Yaris hatchback. If you need more luggage space, the sedan is a better bet as it has a 470-litre boot. The suspension does a good job of smoothing out most bumps and road imperfections, but you’ll feel bigger bumps and undulations. Road noise is intrusive on rough road surfaces.
The Ascent Sport grade lacks key safety features like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, which warns you of cars approaching from the side when backing up. You’ll have to shell out an additional $3,000 for the SX grade for these features.
The Corolla will automatically brake if it detects a potential collision with a car, pedestrian or cyclist. Lane Keeping Assist will tug on the steering wheel to keep you in the right lane if it senses you’re wandering. Seven airbags provide comprehensive crash protection.
Toyota combines a 1.8-liter four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor to produce 90 kW. There are no official combined torque figures.
It feels quick thanks to the electric motor and it feels most at home in traffic. On the highway, it feels stable, but lacks the grunt for hassle-free passing. Toyota pushed the wheels toward the corners of the vehicle, giving it a planted feel and kart-like cornering. The short front and rear overhangs make it one of the easiest cars to park in tight urban environments.
Fuel consumption is the main selling point. The Hybrid only drinks 4.2 L/100 km of the cheapest unleaded gasoline. The Corolla will actually hit that number in the real world and if you’re careful with the throttle you can sometimes beat the official number in traffic.
The Corolla Hybrid is a fun-to-drive hatchback that’s expensive to buy but cheap to run and own.
Kia Cerato S, from $27,490 drive-away
Inexpensive, well-equipped small car that lacks some key safety features.
Mazda3 Pure, from around $31,200 drive-away
Beautiful appearance and top-notch standard safety. Thirst compared to the hybrid, however.
Hyundai i30, from $27,990 drive-away
Well-built with a more powerful engine, but it lacks a few safety technologies.
TOYOTA COROLLA ASCENT SPORT VITALS HYBRIDS
THE PRICE About $31,000 by car
ENGINE 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine and electric motor, 90 kW
WARRANTY/SERVICE Five years/unlimited km, $1025 over five years
SECURITY Seven airbags, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keeping assist and radar cruise control
THE THIRST 4.2L/100km
LUGGAGE 217 liters