Kalle Rovanpera took this year’s top step of the podium at the all-important (historically and emotionally) EKO Acropolis Rally 2023. 70 years old and high on the list of the world’s favorite dirt rallies, the Acropolis celebrated with corresponding suspense, with lots of drama, mud, planters, branches, broken suspensions but always keeping the WRC flag high. Watching the Gazoo Racing WRT team gather in those days to applaud the all-important lead of the ever-kind and smiling hipster Finn, you realize that the game is important to Toyota and not just in terms of racing titles.
Gazoo Racing therefore gave the green light (same as that of the WRC hybrid era) to begin the cosmetic maintenance of Toyota cars, putting at the same time the now famous and glorious label of the racing arm of the Japanese brand. And here is the Corolla 1.8 Hybrid GR Sport of 140 hp (in its basic version we tested it when it entered the Greek market) with which we moved during the days of the Acropolis (and if it weren’t for the severity of the bad weather Daniel we would have done many nice things !).
We received the (for us) Corolla in the good, bi-tone, two-tone version in silver color with matte black roof lining, which for the needs of Gazoo Racing has a more dynamic appearance by adopting new design 18” alloy wheels and a rear bumper with also new look, diffuser and protective apron. It looks quite fishy (not at the level of … Fast and Furious), but at the same time it is serious and only the red inserts on the rims can cause a certain aesthetic … disturbance.
EVALUATION (OUT OF 10)
TOYOTA COROLLA 1.8 Hybrid 140PS
ROAD BEHAVIOR 8
DRIVER SATISFACTION 9
VALUE FOR MONEY 8
Inside, the seats have excellent lateral support, beautiful aesthetics and of course the embossed GR logo on the headrests. There is also a 3-spoke GR Sport leather steering wheel and the GR logo is added to the starter button, giving it that extra touch. In addition to the aesthetic differentiation, the new 140 PS hybrid system in the 1.8 atmospheric liters of a top-of-the-range engine proves to be extremely robust and efficient, especially in the Sport program (there are also Normal and Eco.
It starts with the improved eCVT gearbox having that skating feeling, but very much toned down compared to the past and the electric drive is a serious reality allowing the car in the urban fabric to move for a long time purely electric, achieving consumption below 1 .0 L/100km up to 4.4 L/100 km.
If you want to be… Kalle, the car has other individual qualities to show (frame stiffness, robustness, comfort, directionality) while also offering an adequate (given the nature of the car) level of comfort with Falken Z1EX ze914B tires of dimensions 225/40-R18. We moved on twisty tarmac tracks on good tarmac with confidence and good grip, having struts in the front and multi-links in the rear and only some parameterization in the gearbox (see preset gearshift positions) we missed wanting to slow down, effectively and permanently choosing the program B which offers enhanced regenerative braking.
The rest of the Corolla is what you expect, quality, with a digital environment composed of two screens rich in Greek information (and some ergonomic issues from the multifunction steering wheel), adequate spaces for the front passengers, moderate door opening and standard spaces for the rear passengers, while the luggage is only 361 liters.
The price of this version is not low at 31,950 euros, although the basic one is clearly more down to earth at 28,470 euros. But it’s a touch of “non-SUV” in an age when we’re inundated with bulky transporters, a touch of sportiness that reminds you of something from Kalle every time you press the start button.
MODEL TOYOTA COROLLA 1.8 Hybrid 140PS 2023 TIMH €28.470 FEES €0
MOTOR 1,798, Atmospheric, Hybrid System, 4 Cylinder, In-line FUEL OIL Hybrid
POWER kW(PS)/rpm 103(140) TORQUE Nm/rpm 142/3.600
TRANSMISSION CVT, front wheel drive
PERFORMANCES 0-100 in 9.2 sec, final 180 km/h
CONSUMPTION/CO2 4,6 L/100km, 104 g/km
TOYOTA COROLLA 1.8 Hybrid 140PS 2023
FOR HYBRID SYSTEM PERFORMANCE/LOW CONSUMPTION, EASE OF DRIVING, SAFE ROAD BEHAVIOR, DESIGN, BONDED CONSTRUCTION, SOUND INSULATION, SUSPENSION.
AGAINST MODERATE SPACES FOR REAR PASSENGERS, ERGONOMIC FLAWS.
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