An eagle-eyed CARmag.co.za reader has sent us photographs of the new Toyota Corolla hatch parked alongside a road in Centurion, Gauteng.
Interestingly, the silver hatchback (here wearing Gauteng registration plates) had its rear badging taped up, preventing reader Fred Bezuidenhout from identifying the model designation.
At the end of August 2018, Toyota in Europe announced that the new Auris (as it was called at its unveiling five months before) was set to drop its name in favour of the Corolla badge “globally”, suggesting the latest version of the Japanese automaker’s hatchback would revert to the Corolla nameplate when it arrived in South Africa.
And now Toyota South Africa Motors has confirmed to CARmag.co.za that the Auris badge will indeed be dropped locally. However, for various reasons, this global decision has resulted in the delay of the local launch from an initial planned date in September 2018 to some point in February 2019.
In Europe, the new Corolla hatch will be offered with just a single conventional engine (in the form of the 1,2-litre turbopetrol that debuted in the C-HR) plus a choice of 2,0-litre hybrid powertrains in various states of tune. The engine options for South Africa have yet to be announced.
Overall length of the new model compared with the outgoing version has increased by 40 mm, all of which has also been added to the wheelbase. The height of the hatchback, meanwhile, has been reduced by 25 mm (and width increased by 30 mm), while the front overhang has been cut by 20 mm.
Running on the Japanese brand’s latest TNGA platform, Toyota promises its new Auris will offer owners an “energised drive, with more power and steering wheel-mounted paddles for a more dynamic, engaging driving experience”.