There's been a lot said and written about the new (2018) Corolla, but 6 months into owning mine I'm seeing many, many more on our roads. It seems obvious that it is winning - and will continue to win - over new buyers or those upgrading from a previous model.
I've always loved or "been into" cars and many question why I drive a Corolla now, and why it was the replacement of choice for my Range Rover Evoque. Well, life changes, having started my own business which involves a lot of driving, I needed solid reliability, which was something my Range Rover never gave me from new. The Corolla hybrid efficiency really sold me when I knew I'd be covering a lot of kilometres, but more the fact that I have a friend with a 2004 Corolla who has been driving for 6 months with the check engine light on, and yet it keeps going!
She just doesn't care about this poor car and it continues to drive. That's what I needed at the time.
6 months into my Corolla, we've covered 16000kms, and the average fuel consumption is 4.2 litres per 100km. With all my freeway and city driving, I'm getting approx 950kms out of $40-$45 per tank of fuel, and capped price servicing annually is $175 is a hard deal to beat.
The majority of my driving is freeway between the Southern Highlands and Sydney, and I find the Corolla to be VW-like in how it feels firm on the road, grippy on corners and will take off when overtaking or pushed hard. Comfort is really helped by the supportive seats and good tyres. Unsure how the ZR fares but I simply couldn't consider the ZR without any spare tyre offered.
Uphill can be, well, a bit of an uphill climb and a struggle where Power Mode can help release some extra torque, but ECO mode works well around city and suburban streets. What I do enjoy though is once you really get a feel for the accelerator and your heaviness on it, you can get the car to go in EV Mode on an 80km level gradient or even down 100km/h on any decline, and then you're just cruising around with no emissions, no cost and charging your battery at the same time.
While a lot has been said about the boot space (pretty dismal), it works for me being the sole driver and occupant. It's more than liveable for my purposes, so it would work for a couple and be fine for a grocery shop - but you'd be hard pressed to get prams, bikes or anything else in.
That said, I'm seeing more and more on the road, so it's obviously luring in buyers. I really think it comes down to the brand and its known reputation for Toyota reliability.
I feel that the safety tech is second to none in this range, with its lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring and other safety kit really keeps it up there with more expensive offerings. These are features that would've seen my Evoque cost well over $100k.
I suspect this Corolla shape will evolve over the next few years and hopefully with some alloy wheel options. But the SX looks good on the road and smart when using it (as I do) for business. Surely the next Corolla will improve on boot space and the lack of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, but on the plus side, I hear 2019 buyers now get a 5-year warranty. It's just too bad for those early adopters!
So yeah, the Corolla is serving me well for my needs and I'm really enjoying a Hybrid. I'm very keen to see the new RAV4 Hybrid when it comes out shortly!