The most sold car! 2023 Toyota Corolla facelift Hatch vs Touring Sports (Hybrid) REVIEW
Behind me is the most important car in the world. Why is that? Well, the Toyota Corolla is the most sold car and also in many rankings, the most reliable car in the world. And when they facelift it, it affects millions of car buyers. So we're going to tell you all the details with Thomas on Autogefuehl in 4K, full screen, full length! Let's go with this new front here.
A sportier front grille, and also new headlamps with Matrix LED as an option. And you can either get a pure petrol engine for US markets, European markets will be hybrid only. And then you can see here, this blue-backed Toyota logo indicating that this is the hybrid. A word about number plates, please! Well, I really envy the US states which do not require a front license plate.
Just looks so much better on all the vehicles. You can really see the front grille especially because front grille design has become so large and impressive and so on. Well in Europe, we always have them in the front. And the European headquarters of Toyota is placed in Belgium. And there, they have the red number plates in the front and I think that just looks weird.
So, sorry to our Belgian friends but maybe you think that yourself when you're from Belgium, saying like, "Hey, can we get like nicer-looking number plates in the front?" So yeah, red for our front number plates... It's just like, 'in your face, bro!' Length is at 4.37 meters or 172 inches. The hatch's here with a shorter wheelbase than the sedan or the estate.
We have it here in Jupiter blue. Soon I'm going to show you an Ash Gray estate. Here, we have 18 inch rear as well so the high trim. Pretty cool styling indeed.
It looks already sporty if you even don't have this new GR Sport trim, which will be on the estate. And the characteristic sign is actually more towards rear. When you look at it from the side profile, it's shorter in the top part, longer in the rear like a...
like a yacht or cruise ship -you know?- this design detail. In the rear, you get these samurai cut taillamps. There you see that Lexus and Toyota design definitely play together.
And it's such a sculptural rear actually. It looks really unique. But the disadvantage is because of this small area right here and the big here, you do lose trunk space. We'll also see that very soon. However by this tablet area here, you can see that it has this beautiful effect that the Corolla and the hybrid logo actually, they mirror themselves in the vehicle.
Very peculiar effect, yeah. This here is the channel of details. In this facelift, you now get this sportier contrasting lower bumper as well. Next to the hatch version in the US, for example, rather the sedan is being sold. And in Europe, we have the estate, the Touring Sports as the longer model at 4.65 meters or 183 inches. So both sedan and estate are around 30 centimeters or 10 inches approximately longer than the hatch.
This here is also the new GR Sport which is also available for the hatch. And the GR Sport adds more sporty accentuations. For example, this honeycomb style front grille and the lower black accentuations, also 18-inch wheels and also a sportier rear appearance. Now to the famous Autogefuehl interior review where we also check door closing sounds and so on.
This is the key fob, nothing special. And the door closing sound... is also nothing special. Nice wide contrast stitch. This is also soft right here.
So the top structure here looks good. The window levers, not that good actually. These nice entry badges right here in the lower part, and then I'm really a fan of these floor mats, you know, with the contrast around. That looks like from a super high luxury car. That's still real buttons at the steering wheel for example, for the volume control right here and right side for the cruise control.
Take a look at the seats. They're actually pretty spectacular because even in normal trims, they are integrated head restraint-alike sports seats. So they look pretty fancy. This case here is fabric on the inside. Base seats will have full fabric.
Higher trims here, for example, with leatherette on the outside. And these here also have some microfiber at the inside bolsters. Pretty beautiful. We'll soon also take a look at the GR sports seats.
In the US, you can also get a full leatherette called SofTex. GR Sports interior features red contrast stitches. The base seat form is the same.
It has the sportier seat with integrated head restraints. But you can see here, fabric on the inside, leatherette on the outside. Bright accentuations and this GR stamped in here at the head restraint. So also a beautiful design for the GR Sport. And red contrast stitches, also a thing here for the GR Sport inside of the steering wheel and the rest of the cockpit.
So a little bit more spice with this sporty trim. Seating position - surprisingly comfortable because yeah, with 1.89 meters or 6'2, to me, this is a tiny vehicle but I sit very, very well in here! Headroom-wise, it works. And also this sport seat actually, it is sporty and comfortable at the same time. So you feel like we would be sitting in a bigger vehicle.
So no complaints at all about the comfort. Also because of the fabric surface here, it stays cool in summer stays warm in winter, and also somewhat breathable. So very satisfied with that and also with the steering wheel position and so on. Manual control, in and out, up and down, and also in a very smooth way. So this perceived quality when you sit here in the driver's seat is actually pretty good.
Interior cockpit overview, clean layout. I really like the soft touch here at the dashboard with the white contrast stitches. New screens - updated US models get the seven-inch and eight-inch.
European models here get now full glory - 12.3-inch digital instruments on the left. And on the right side, 10.5 inch and soon more details to all of these. Interesting is that we have still real buttons, for example, a volume control on the screen with buttons.
Yes, a real climate unit here. Easy to turn, also for the vent strength and so on. Really appreciate this easy solution. Software update, you can see here, even the car's internal GPS is smooth and responsive now. First time we would actually use it in Toyota. It's actually pretty cool.
And it's also interesting that you can set the display brightness. At the moment, it's set to dark mode but you can also have it automatic the light or the dark mode. Then CarPlay integration, that one is also wireless. Android Auto would be wired at this moment. And we also have the JBL sound system in here. And this is actually delivering a very decent sound for this vehicle.
Maybe also because of this acoustic area here in the front. And rearview camera. This is also kind of disappointing.
Bad resolution, and also somewhat colorless. These are the digital instruments. Pretty clear to read.
You also have some adaptive contents like this, what you want to see in the middle part. But... really? This is the map guidance in the instruments? Not sure if this is going to be helpful in any way.
Yeah, so rather keep it with reading the speed, I guess. CarPlay and Android Auto doesn't show that, by the way. This is just the car's internal map. But again, not really that helpful. And you also get this head-up display.
Middle console in the front, inductive charging pad. And then you have here, this seat heating. Two levels. And listen to that... Old school clicking sounds.
And then further down below, shifting up to the Sports Mode, down to the Eco Mode. So it's also about the throttle input. And then this shifting lever is actually quite cool. It's a real old-school lever and then listen to that...
Yeah, when you do the quarter mile, you would do like this! Yeah, just kidding. Here, this is not D mode. And when you put one mode further behind, you're in the B mode. And the B mode is actually when you're going downhill for a long time that engine brake is on, that you don't kind of like, overcharge the battery in a way.
Disappointing in this interior, the cupholders, the material, and also not adaptive. And also this middle armrest here, it's just loosely attached. And yeah, that is really I mean, this is a high-trim interior. XSE in the US. Sometimes called Lounge in Germany, for example.
The only thing is you have a lot of space here. USB-C charger and 12-volt power supply. And rear seating in the hatch, remember the hatch has a shorter wheelbase than the sedan or the estate. And it means, well, headroom is okay, yeah.
I do touch the ceiling with my hair, but that's fine actually. And also the bench here is long enough and it's actually quite comfortable to sit on. But legroom just does not work. See here, I don't fit in here when I'm also driving. And see here, this cool, comfortable, sporty-like seats, they're very voluminous and therefore also limit rear legroom. So rear legroom is probably the thing that this vehicle does not have.
Now to the trunk here, manual opening and it's a really light hatch. It's actually fun to open it. 360 liters.
Would be 310 litres with the 2.0L hybrid actually. So this one here is a little bit bigger, volume-wise. And you have here, this sill. It will be different in the estate version where you have no loading sill.
Soon going to show you that. And the length in the hatch is about 75 centimeters or between 29 and 30 inches. And the width here between the wheel arches in the, you know, where the seats go is a lot more like 95 centimeters/37 inches. It's just longer here in the very back part. So yeah, it's a small hatch so you're always somewhat limited in the trunk. You can fold the seats.
There is this step then here. The total length here when I fold the seat, 1.50 in meters or 59 inches. Now the rear interior of the Touring Sport, the estate, it's also similar for the sedan because they have a longer wheelbase. And that means here, I can sit behind myself in the rear.
So that works, barely. It's close, yes but in the hatch, you know, it was like here. It wasn't working at all. And of course, the big difference Touring Sports here, the estate, electric hatch, and then this vast area. We can see right here.
And I'm really impressed by the build quality of details now by Toyota. For example here, this top cover has rails on the side and you press it like this. Well, that is as we know, from premium vehicles. So the hatch was ending right here at 75 centimeters or like 29/30 inches. Right here.
That is where the hatch trunk is ending. And now here, we have this longer and that's like a meter or 40 inches. And the height is at 65 centimeters or 26 inches. And folding everything here, really flat. And the total length then to the front seat, almost 1.80 meters or 71 inches. And look at that beautiful integration of the trunk light here.
It's on both sides actually. Segmented kind of, LED. That's well done. Depending on the market, you also get non-hybrids. For example, the US, hatch is pure petrol only and you get the hybrid with the sedan.
But European market is all about the hybrids now with the Corolla. And major upgrade, now the fifth generation hybrid. That means lithium-ion battery now.
Higher capacity, better performance. At the same time, lower consumption and also more efficiency in the whole system also for the pure combustion engine part. There are two versions, the 2L hybrid has been upgraded and now at 7.5 seconds in the acceleration figure. So half a second quicker. And the 1.8 hybrid which we have here today,
even more major upgrade. Now at 9.2 seconds in the acceleration figure, and that means almost two seconds quicker indeed. Acceleration... That was 0 to 70 km/h And you might have heard that it was not as bad as from the sound, if you compare it with the previous hybrid gen, this being the 5th Gen.
So basically you have, especially when you drive normally and so on, lower RPM, less engine noise. At the same time, more performance. Also because of the new battery and so on. That sounded not too bad, you know? So they call this here eCVT but it's not a mechanical old CVT you know, where you have this you know, like this cone and the bell running over it to different status. That's like the old CVT mechanical concept, but their eCVT here is working with a planetary gearbox, but is working like a CVT.
Very interesting system indeed and it is definitely smoother now. This was the Sport mode. Otherwise, you would normally go to the Normal mode. Then the throttle input is also normalized.
In Sport mode, throttle input's a little bit more. Steering-wise, doesn't make a big difference actually. And making use of this hybrid drivetrain is really driving it in a very, very smooth way.
So just slightly on the throttle, then maybe going off the throttle, a little bit on the brakes, you use recuperation again. You have these electric moments. This one is not about how far does it go all-electric. It's always changing back and forth, and then you can also score a good mileage. We're talking about fuel consumption later on at the end of the driving part. Here also when you're going uphill and I accelerate a little bit harder maybe, you hear it is not as noisy as before.
And at the same time, you've also experienced that especially the 1.8 hybrid is so much quicker than before. It's 1.7 seconds quicker to be very exact, if you compare it to the previous gen.
So upgrades for both engines, also for the 2.0L hybrid but the upgrade here in the 1.8L is just more significant. That's very interesting.
If you talk about which one is more efficient, by the way, the 2.0L engine is more efficient. Why? The combustion engine part is more efficient, actually. They get the same battery, the new lithium-ion battery, but the combustion engine part is more efficient with the 2.0L engine although it is the more powerful one. It just has a higher efficiency factor actually. Very interesting aspect as well.
But both will score good consumption figures for sure. In general, the driving is super smooth also from the whole vehicle suspension is also doing a good job. The steering is pretty light but exact and precise. So I also like that. It gives you a good feeling to the vehicle.
And these sport seats here, they hold you tight. But at the same time, they're comfortable. So although it's a really small car here as hatch, it conveys a feeling already of being somewhat larger and more comfortable. And this will, of course, even more so count for the sedan and the estate version which also have a longer wheelbase. Here, the hatch would then be a little bit more versatile vehicle that you can, you know, have some fun in lane changing. And it is indeed a lot of fun.
These engines, they are tuned for efficiency so they are not about most fun. So they're not that responsive. With the pure petrol engine, you will have some kind of a different driving feeling.
The hybrid is really more tuned into that smooth driving and the smooth transitions, and that's also fun. I can also show you later when we're more stationary or parking in and out. There you can also make use of that one and then, for example, ease in and out of the parking lot, just pure electric. That's also pretty cool.
So you always calm down when you're driving that one here. And in this new 5th Gen hybrid system, that helps you to calm down because you don't have this eCVT effect that you had in the previous generation. A little bit is still there but definitely less than before.
I think it's also handles very well in the corner. At the moment, going uphill. But it's also interesting as for the consumption with the topography changes because at the end of the day, when you have this hybrid system, you gain back some energy and topography changes are not bad at all with normal combustion engines without any hybrid system where you cannot gain back energy.
Every topography change is basically a fuel loss, you know? But here, that's definitely different. Yeah, once again, about this B mode in this shifting selector, this would be really when we're going downhill on the other side and you're going like Alpine pass down again for like half an hour and you want to use the engine brakes so that the normal brakes don't overheat. And at some point, the batteries also fail from the recuperation and then you can't get any more energy in that battery. So you would need basically, this B mode. I also think it's really cool how the drive modes, they change here with a visualization.
Normal and Sports, Sport goes red and so on. That's actually a very nice effect to give you some more emotional character. And also these new digital instruments here, they help you with that as well. You can also set the cruise control here at the right side.
Different modes depending on what you want to have. For example, you can also activate the active lane-keeping assist. Let's see how that one turns out.
Here, you can see it follows this slight bend. Actually also in a smooth way. Then the distance to the truck in front of me is being kept. Not too intrusive. 'LTA unavailable soon' says here because it wants me to take control the steering wheel. That was for show purposes.
So that was actually quite smooth. And here, we can also accelerate up the hill then now. Yeah, then you hear this effect a little bit. But again, it's not too hard actually.
Now a little bit faster into corner. Yeah, there is where the hatch is actually a lot of fun. Pretty cool.
So and also when you go like a little bit left and right. The only thing is that sometimes, the steering is a little bit too light for me. That's probably for comfort reasons that they want to have it easy when parking in and out. But when sporty driving, it could give you a little bit more feedback, I think.
But it's not too bad overall. And again, there's no dead zone area. So you have feeling and control over the car basically all the time. And we have very nice curvy roads here and it's really a lot of fun so especially because of that sporty seating position. Let me just try once again with ECO mode and the steering.
Normal mode... Sport mode... No, there's not really a feeling. I wouldn't have any difference.
Normal mode... Sport mode... It's more about how fast the RPMs pick up, how quick the throttle input is. That is then the main difference then here.
Is this 1.8 hybrid enough or do you have to go for the 2.0L engine? So far, I would have said Yes, the 1.8 was just too slow. Now with this power upgrade, I think you can also very well go with that one. It's more about the entry price definitely if you want to save money there.
Since the 2.0L engine is a little bit more fuel saving, it won't be big difference but a little bit more, you can also argue that on the long run, it might be better to go for the 2.0L engine. And also if you think about resale value, the 2.0L engine might make more sense. So both are definitely attractive now with these new acceleration figures. If you have the additional money or if the leasing rate isn't that different, go for the 2.0L engine.
More displacement is usually pretty helpful. And when it's also more efficient, you might also get back the money then over time if you drive it for a very, very long period of time and so on. If you want to keep the entry price low, then this 1.8 engine is now in this new generation here, also absolutely fine. Remember, all these cars have front-wheel drive. So also when you go for the normal non-hybrid engine, for example, in the US hatch will be front-wheel drive and you won't have this hybrid effect that you still would have if you really hammer the throttle rather than an understeering effect because of the front-wheel drive.
But it does not have too much power so that won't be the most crucial effect. As for the roundabout visibility, we know we have this very, you know, screaming out design. And for that, it's actually quite decent.
The B pillar is pretty big. Therefore we also have these blind spot monitors that help you when cars are overtaking. But to the rear, it's surprisingly good actually. So, good view to the rear because of this huge rear mirror. And difference then in sedan and estate, they are somewhat different in driving. Not too big, and not too much.
The weight difference, for example, hatch and the estate is just... I think it was like 60 kilograms or something. So it's, you know, the significance is that little that they even have the very same acceleration figure, the hatch and the estate with the same engines, of course. And the only thing you will notice is you have a longer wheelbase in the sedan and the estate. And that's why they will be a little bit more stable when running straight.
They give you a little bit more, let's say, motorway satisfaction, stability feeling. But then in the corners, the hatch will be a little bit more agile. But it's not too big actually but you will have a little bit more fun here in the hatch and little bit more calmness and stability in the estate and in the sedan.
So, I think I really like the changes here with the facelift. Not only visually, also interior wise with the infotainment upgrade and also specially then with the engine that this one is actually more fun. And yeah, overall just a very smooth driving experience with this system here overall. Here now also when it's getting a little bit tighter, I like how in that last turn-in, how precise the wheels were following my commands.
That is actually also fun in the corners. But the big question now is here when we finish our loop, we'll drive more kilometers now to get realistic result to give you the final fuel economy figure. So the fuel economy here on our trip, around 5L/100kms Decent results. That's 47mpg US, 56mpg UK.
That was 0 to 70 km/h with the 2.0L liter hybrid. Here, 196 horsepower. So approximately 200 horsepower and 1.7 seconds quicker. So almost two seconds quicker in the 0 to 100 kilometers or 0 to 60 miles in our acceleration figure. Here, the 2.0L hybrid if you compare it with the 1.8-liter hybrid.
What do you feel engine noise-wise, not sure if you also realized that during the acceleration, this high displacement directly leads to some more low-frequency engine noises. That's likable, I would say. So it sounds a little bit better in that respect. But of course, it does not change like the whole driving characteristic or something, you know? The same things count for that that you have more of a smooth driving experience with a lot of electric moments. And also in our first driving part, there's an interesting gauge right there. Last ride was also around 65% where we had the EV only.
So it's very interesting that most of the time, we've been driving electric. Still, there is some consumption because you need the combustion engine in the moment where, for example, you're going up and so on. Therefore, there's still significant consumption left. But you can see, especially in the city and so on, you drive locally emission-free for a lot of time. That's of course a good thing to improve the air in the city, for example. And it's also fun actually to ease this car around just pure electric here and there.
Then, you've seen the acceleration difference is there. We just have to see the difference, 0 to 70, that's also very interesting. And agility-wise, here, we also have the estate with a wheelbase that would be almost similar in the sedan. And you feel that indeed, you have a little bit less agility in corners. It feels a little bit calmer and more settled on the road. So when going straight, it's a good thing.
And in corners, the hatch is a little bit more engaging. But it's also not that I would say, "Oh, I'm driving a completely different vehicle." but just iteration of the vehicle. So both are fun to drive, the hatch is just a little bit more. And this one here is good when you're on a family trip on the motorway and so on.
You have all the luggage inside... yeah. But still here, driving the very same corners, it's a lot of fun. The interior room feel is, of course, also a little bit different then here with the estate just because of different acoustics we have from the rear. But also that's not a big difference. Still, sometimes the vehicles and their versions, they have just a different rear overhang.
Then the driving is more or less identical. But when they have different wheelbase, it always does differ a little bit. Do I really feel that I have the 2.0L engine in here instead of the 1.8? Told you about the sound different, slightly. When you really hammer the throttle, then you do feel a difference.
But when you're driving rather slowly, you know, and always set on this smooth, hybrid transition experience, then you don't feel too much difference actually. So it's more 'do you need a strong acceleration?' Do you drive more on the motorway, for example? Also, do you drive more with the car loaded with many people inside or much luggage? Then the additional horsepower, the strength of that bigger engine might play a role. But if that's not a crucial factor to you, then you might as well also live with the smaller engine. So when you keep it steady, let's say, like the 'perceived' difference is not that large. Of course, when you have moments like these, it's uphill, and then you go on throttle, then you feel it's a little bit more instant, that acceleration. And you just have a little bit more punch, it comes easier.
So it is a little bit cooler in the acceleration. Also here, the same thing is applied with this 5th generation hybrid drivetrain. So you have less of this rubberband effect from the known mechanical CVTs. Lower RPM, if you compare it to the previous generation hybrid.
And therefore, just an easier driving feeling. A calmer driving feeling. So really good, what they've improved with the engines. And we've already seen it with the hatch. Good fuel economy. Of course, here at our end of the test drive with the estate, we'll also take the fuel economy then here from the bigger hybrid system.
Overall, really cool drive. So no matter if hatch, estate or sedans, they're all kind of similar. Wheelbase is different. And also the drivetrains, they're also kind of similar. So you have small steps between individual engine and trims, and also the different versions of the very same car.
Still stays one Corolla for sure! We could not replicate the route 100% but more or less the same consumption here for the 2.0L hybrid, also around 5L/100kms. So 47 mpg US, 56 mpg UK.
It will depend then on the profile actually where it is more efficient. So when you have more share of pure combustion driving, then the 2.0L engine will actually be a little bit better unless you use more of that more horsepower you also have available. So it really depends actually.
But more or less, both a very, very good consumption figure as we know from the Toyota hybrids. You can also compare the Honda Civic Hybrid. Or brand internally, the Toyota Corolla Cross!