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Toyota Corolla 2023: hatch and sedans score upgraded tech, safety and features but with a price hit


Hybrid Corollas suffer price rises of up to $3785 over outgoing models, but enjoy better specification and 13kW power gains

Toyota’s upgraded Corolla hatch and sedan have launched with upgraded multimedia, a more powerful hybrid drivetrain and connected services range-wide.

But prices are up to reflect the changes, the entry fee leaping from $25,395 to $28,130 plus on-roads for the petrol Ascent Sport in both hatch and sedan guises.

Toyota Corolla ZR 2023 rear
Toyota has updated the Corolla hatch and sedan range for 2023

While this $2735 jump hurts, it’s the in-demand hybrids – thanks to their excellent 4.2L/100km combined economy – that have seen even larger price hikes.

An Ascent Sport hybrid hatch is up $3235 to $30,630, while sedan versions climb an even chunkier $3785 to $31,180.

For hatchback shoppers, an SX petrol climbs $2485 to $31,280; SX hybrid $2985 to $33,780; ZR petrol $2425 to $35,120 and ZR hybrid $2925 to $37,620.

Sedans are up $2485 to $31,280 for an SX petrol; $2985 to $33,780 for an SX hybrid and $2425 to $36,620 for a ZR petrol. A new tree-topping ZR hybrid sedan costs $39,120.

Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport 2023 driving
A new hybrid system should make the Corolla quicker off the mark

What do Corolla buyers get for their extra hard-earned?

Hybrid shoppers now score Toyota’s upgraded fifth-generation hybrid powertrain, offering a 13kW increase for a combined output of 103kW from the 1.8-litre petrol four-cylinder with newly-developed front-axle mounted electric motor.

An improved lithium-ion battery has also enjoyed gains – both input and output power are increased while weight drops by 14 per cent.

Toyota’s multi-media systems have lagged behind most competitors in recent years, so news of the Corolla receiving its latest generation units is welcome.

Toyota Corolla ZR 2023 interior
The 8.0-inch screen looks to be a decent upgrade

The 8.0-inch touchscreen has better definition and we’re promised “improved usability” with a new screen layout and shortcut buttons for the driver’s side.

All feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. DAB+ digital radio is standard range-wide, and a USB-C port has been added below the touchscreen.

Some features not universal

Confusingly for Corolla shoppers (and motoring writers), specification differs between the same grades depending on if it’s a hatch or sedan, petrol or hybrid.

For example, Corolla Ascent Sport hatches now get a 7.0-inch multi-information display (up from 4.2-inches) in the instrument cluster, while ZRs debut a 12.3-inch full digital instrument cluster.

Buy an Ascent Sport sedan and you get built-in sat nav (but only if you get the hybrid) while hatch versions get a rear seat reminder.

Toyota Corolla ZR 2023 digital dash
A full-width 12.3-inch digital driver’s display is offered on the top-spec ZR grade

Only Ascent Sport and SX grades get exterior changes: new 16-inch wheels and a redesigned front grille. While we’re confusing you, all SXs get rain sensing wipers, but only the hatch adds remote climate control pre-conditioning and parking sensors front and rear.

Download the myToyota Connect app and owners can remotely check fuel, driving range, whether doors and locked and whether windows are up or down. You can remotely lock the car, start it, beep the horn or activate the hazard lights. It will also help you locate the car if you lose it in a car park.

Safety improvement across the range

All Corolla’s gain Toyota Connected Services which can provide assistance in an emergency. If the airbags are deployed or if a collision is detected the car automatically notifies an emergency call centre, allowing the driver to communicate with an operator.

The owner can manually trigger a call to a call centre via a roof-mounted SOS button, while the Connected Services can help authorities track the vehicle if stolen.

As we’ve seen with other brands, such services don’t come for free. Buyers get Connected Services complimentary for one year from delivery date, and after that time “fees and charges may apply thereafter.” Such a fee is to be confirmed.

Toyota Corolla ZR 2023 front
Toyota’s Connected Services will be offered for 12 months for free

Safety-wise the updated Corolla sees its Toyota Safety Sense active safety suite improved. Pre-collision safety adds motorcycle detection, intersection collision avoidance support and emergency steering assist.

We’re also promised existing active safety features – as well as cameras, radar sensors and radar cruise control – have been improved. All hatches get blind spot monitoring – although curiously not all sedans.

Colours are also a bit jazzier. Sunstone Orange and Lunar Blue join the hatch palette picks, while ZR hatch buyers can option a two-tone black roof. Sedans can now also be had in Dark Grey and Eclipse Black.

Corolla range continues to expand

Early next year the eagerly-awaited 220kW/370Nm GR Corolla hot hatch lands, with Toyota Australia confirming approximately 500 units will reach our shores.

The all-wheel-drive big brother to the instant icon GR Yaris will be the fastest ever Corolla, and dealers have been incredibly busy fielding early expressions of interest.

Toyota GR Corolla 2023 black front 3/4
The Corolla range will continue to expand with the arrival of the GR early next year

For the family rather than fast roads, the Corolla Cross small SUV went on sale last month and registered a healthy 1025 sales through October.

That eclipsed the normal Corolla’s monthly numbers by over 100, and made it third best-selling sub $40,000 small SUV behind only the MG ZS and Mitsubishi ASX. A solid start from a model that was easy to predict would see strong initial sales.