The perennial Toyota Corolla is back in the forefront of many a Toyota loyalist with the release of a new-generation hatch. The traditional hot seller sits on a new platform, with brave new styling while still maintaining the familiar Corolla look.

The 2018 version arrives in three grades with seven variants and a hybrid option available across the Ascent Sport, SX and ZR range. Toyota now provides an uprated interior and safety technologies expected in this day and age. Chris Bowen has been sent to The Sunshine Coast to sample the range. But first up here’s all the spec and pricing details you need.

New Engines, New Platform.

Under the bonnet are new powertrains. A new 2.0-litre four-cylinder ‘Toyota Dynamic Force’ petrol engine is now rated at 125kW or 21 per cent more powerful than the outgoing 1.8-litre. It also now delivers 200Nm, a 15 per cent rise in torque.

A new Direct Shift Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) offers a 10-speed sequential shift mode and mechanical launch gear set up. How this translates in the real world in terms of drivability, time will tell.

The hybrid system is lighter and smaller and said to be more efficient. A 1.8-litre Atkinson Cycle petrol engine pumps out a combined output of 90kW. With a claimed fuel economy of 4.2 litres/100km.

CVT models can be adjusted by the driver depending on mood with the usual ECO, Normal and Sport.  If you require a manual the good news is that a new six-speed box is offered on the Ascent Sport, that includes rev-matching.

Delving deep into the detail reveals new multi-link rear suspension and a stronger body, said to be 60 per cent more rigid.

Safer Than Ever Before.

Toyota is expecting a five-star ANCAP safety rating. The list of standard features is certainly impressive. A pre-collision system includes pedestrian detection, day or night. While also being able to identify cyclists during daylight hours. Autonomous emergency braking with emergency brake assist is also standard across the range.

For what was a very high-end feature just a few years ago, it’s amazing that active cruise control and lane departure alert, that will intervene if required, are also standard. Plus following in the footsteps of companies such as Volvo, the new Corolla can also read speed-limit signs.

The loaded Corolla also gains automatic high beam, reversing camera, hill-start assist, seven airbags and two rear ISOFIX child safety seat anchor points. You’ll need to upgrade to the SX and ZR for a blind-spot monitor.

It’s Bigger!

Longer, wider and lower. I feel like all new cars make this claim over their predecessors. But again, it’s true for the new Toyota Corolla hatch. The front end climbs the sophistication ladder with bi-LED headlamps and daytime running lights. The rear-end has received the most work with, by Toyota standards, radical LED rear combination lamps and striking lines.

Tell Us the Price!

Kicking off the range is the manual $22,870 petrol 2.0-litre Ascent Sport. If you want the CVT add another $1,500. Aside from the standard safety features the Ascent Sport also gets a 4.2-inch multi-info display, air-conditioning, heated exterior mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels and a six-speaker multimedia system with Toyota Link.

You can also fork out an extra $1,500 to score a hybrid variant across the whole range. On the Ascent Sport model that will also add dual-zone climate control and keyless start and entry.

The SX has the latter two features as standard on petrol and hybrid models. The petrol mode is priced at $26,870, the hybrid $28,370. Other goodies chucked in include a wireless phone charger, DAB+ digital radio, front fog lamps, paddle shifters (CVT petrol), premium steering wheel and shift lever, privacy glass and a rear USB port.

The range-topper ZR weighs in at $30,370 in petrol guise and $31,870 for the hybrid. It comes fitted with a colour head-up display, 18-inch alloys, leather accented and suede interior with sports front seats, 8-speaker premium JBL sound system, 7-inch colour multi-information display, ambient illumination, electro-chromatic rear-view mirror and high-grade bi-LED headlamps.

A couple of specific options include $1,000 for satellite navigation on the Ascent Sport, privacy glass at $1,000 across all grades and premium paint $550.

The Drive?

Full details in the coming days…