Toyota Corolla 2021 ascent sport hybrid

2021 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid sedan long-term review: Introduction

$27,395 Mrlp
  • Fuel Economy
  • Engine Power
  • CO2 Emissions
  • ANCAP Rating
Our latest long-termer is the best-selling the car the world has ever seen, albeit not in this particular colour...
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When it comes to superlative claims, being the ‘best selling nameplate’ in the world, ever, is pretty hard to beat.

The Toyota Corolla has been a feature of the global automotive marketplace since 1966, and when Toyota celebrated a half-century of Toyota production in 2016, some 44.1-million ‘rock-and-rollas’ had been produced.

That, according to a neat infographic on the Toyota website, is enough to stretch the entire Corolla production line, nose-to-tail for 194,000km, which equates to five-laps around the earth, or the mileage at which any Corolla is just getting settled in.

Given global production of the iconic Toyota is around 130,000 units per year, we’re pretty close to the 50-million unit mark now, which is why our latest long-term review car is possibly one of the most relevant.

Our Volcanic Red Metallic ($500 option and one of nine choices – albeit, not one we’d probably make) 2021 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid Sedan is the entry-level trim to your Corolla with a boot adventure and is priced from $27,395 before options and on-road costs.

2021 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid Sedan
Engine configurationFour-cylinder petrol with hybrid drive (twin-electric motors and 1.3kWh battery)
Displacement1.8L (1798cc)
Power90kW combined, 72kW @ 5200rpm (petrol only)
Torque142Nm @ 3600rpm
TransmissionCVT automatic
Drive typeFront-wheel drive
Power to weight ratio66.2 kW/t
Fuel consumption (combined cycle claim)3.5L/100km
Fuel consumption (combined cycle on test)-
Fuel tank size43L
Estimated range1200km
Sales categorySmall car (sedan)
Key competitorsHyundai i30 sedan / Kia Cerato / Hyundai Ioniq

In terms of range position, you can stick to petrol and three-pedals and start with an Ascent Sport Manual at $23,895, or go with more of a fancy look, but lose the hybrid drivetrain in the process, and choose the ZR Auto at $34,195.

But considering the level of equipment on the Ascent Sport Hybrid, even with our car’s optional Satellite Navigation and DAB+ digital radio package ($1000), there’s not really any need to venture any further afield.

The system works well, although having the standard navigation assistant reminding you of school zones and any time you stray just 1km/h above the posted limit, can get a little annoying!

The base hybrid includes keyless entry and start, single-zone climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, and a 4.2-inch digital display in the instrument cluster.

It also includes the Toyota Safety Sense technology suite, which adds lane keep assist, pre-collision detection and braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, road sign assist, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert and even an automatic high beam assist.

That’s on top of seven airbags and a five-star ANCAP safety rating (from 2018). For clarity, you can step up to the $30,795 SX Hybrid sedan to add blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert.

2021 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid Sedan
Length4630 mm
Width1780 mm
Height1435 mm
Wheelbase2700 mm
Turning circle10.8m
Boot volume470L
Tare mass1360kg
Wheels/tyres195/65 R15 Bridgestone

Sure, it might not be as swish as some other cars getting about, and the ‘aero hubcaps’ on the 15-inch wheels are pretty awful, but the simple cloth seats are comfortable, the six-speaker sound system is adequate, and the 470-litre boot useful enough to make the little ‘Rolla a very likeable proposition.

In fact, if early feedback from the rest of the CarAdvice team is anything to go by, we’ll struggle to actually find anything wrong with the little orange three-box.

I will say, however, that the pronounced nose of the Corolla may help with its aerodynamic profile, but it scrapes on driveway transfers more often than some sports cars!

The 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is paired with two electric motors and a 1.3kWh battery pack. Power output is a modest 72kW at 5200rpm and 142Nm at 3600rpm, but outright pace isn’t the Corolla Hybrid’s primary goal, effortless daily efficiency is.

As we have seen time and time again, Toyota’s claim of 3.5L/100km combined cycle use, is wholly achievable, which gives the Corolla a real-world single-tank range of around 1200km.

2021 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid Sedan
ColourVolcanic Red Metallic
Price (MSRP)$27,395
Options as tested$1,500
Servicing 3yr$540
Servicing 5yr$900
ANCAP safety rating5-star (2018)
Warranty5 years / unlimited km

So what we have, is a car you don’t need to charge, barely need to fill, want for nothing in terms of usable tech and equipment, and has enough room for four people and luggage in comfort. Other than the colour, what’s not to like!

Which leads to what we’ll do with the Corolla while we have it in our care.

At a high level, we’ll use the car as an urban runabout to try and find any weak points in the ‘world’s best-selling nameplate’ armour.

And, given the car is always on the shortlist for anyone working in rideshare, delivery or other gig-economy work, we’ll simulate a few stints of long hours and multiple trips behind the wheel to see how the Corolla’s comfort levels and efficiency hold up in concentrated bursts.

As always, if there is anything you’d like to see or know about the 2021 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid Sedan (other than whether we can shorten its 35-character name), please let us know in the comments below.

Until then, we’ll keep Corolling along, wishing it was blue, or silver, or white, or…