Long-term test (Introduction): Toyota Corolla Hatch 1,2 Xr CVT

The Toyota Corolla Hatch is a massive switch for me [sorry, Pete – editor]. I’ve driven long-term bakkies for about five years now and have made them work hard. Now that my weekend workload has eased off, it’s a pleasure to slide into a midsize hatch instead of climbing up and into 4x4s. Although I do miss the extra visibility from sitting high, the nippiness and ease of parking is a joy. I also have an affinity for the CH-R which is rather similar to the Corolla Hatch thanks to its shared drivetrain and platform. 

Talking of styling, this is very much in the eye of the beholder, so my feelings that the Corolla Hatch’s design is a touch too fussy is probably not shared by many others. The colour of our test unit is Oxide Bronze, an unusual hue which helps to hide some of the more unusual curves and lines. 

Inside, it’s a revelation for Toyota. The seat design on Xr models is sporty and well bolstered, with a grippy suede surface surrounded by leather. The steering wheel and gearlever are finished in 

leather and the instrumentation and controls all look and feel up- market. The touchscreen is within easy reach except for one of the rotary knobs. Thankfully, the volume wheel is closest to the driver, something seldom found in our right-hand-drive market. Apart from the touch-and-swipe screen, there are four buttons on either side for important functions. Below is another array of switches for the dual-zone climate control. The steering column is adjustable for rake and reach, and there is an informative and attractive trip-computer display which gives instant and average consumption, range to empty, outside temperature, odo and so on. 

The steering is electrically assisted. It feels light but stiffens up when the sport button is pressed, which also increases the revs of the engine when making enthusiastic use of the throttle. The continuously variable transmission has 10 steps, which are too many because the torquey 1,2-litre doesn’t need it. For manual shifting, you use the gearlever and the engine speed hardly drops between changes. Still, it works well and is possibly more economical than opting for the six-speed manual Xs model (tested in the June 2019 issue), where you will have to do a lot more on-and- off-the-throttle action. 

Standard spec is generous, and I look forward to exploring these features in future updates.

After 1 month
Current Mileage:
 820 km
Average fuel consumption: 
7,91 L/100 km
We like: 
upmarket interior; sporty seats; full-size alloy spare
We don’t like: 
smallish boot due to large spare wheel

 

Long-term test (Update 1): Toyota Corolla Hatch 1,2 Xr CVT

It hasn’t taken long to really start enjoying the Hatch. The ease of operation, comfort, good quality audio and controls combine to make short and long trips pleasurable. On the West Coast’s R27 road, where motorists stick to enforced speeds between 100 and 120 km/h, the cruise control comes in handy. With the big-screen display of fuel consumption plus a multi-coloured smaller display in the main instruments, it becomes an incentive to reduce fuel consumption. So far, this has worked well: the consumption figure has dropped from more than 8,0 L/100 km to 7,45. 

 After 2 months
Current Mileage:
 2 463 km
Average fuel consumption: 
7,45 L/100 km