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Home Features BRAND Focus 50 Years Anniversary: What is new in 2017 Toyota Corolla?

50 Years Anniversary: What is new in 2017 Toyota Corolla?

To celebrate 50 years of great heritage, Toyota kicks off the New Year with a special anniversary model to augment the model’s iconic status. The question, however, is:how different is the new model compared to what the world has always known as best-selling nameplate in automotive history?

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ne of the most difficult questions to answer in the automotive industry is, what makes a really great car? The consensus on the topic is as elusive as flying saucers. But we would put the Toyota Corolla forward as one of the best nameplates ever manufactured. There are many reasons this is a car we are proud of.

2017-toyota-corolla-inline2-photo-667222-s-originalNow well into its eleventh generation, and more than 50 years since being introduced onto the market, there is no doubt that Toyota has had enough time to perfect the Corolla recipe. Not only does it remain the world’s best-selling nameplate in automotive history, it’s still one of the most popular vehicles in the Toyota line-up.

And, as Glenn Crompton, Toyota SA Motors Vice President of Marketing, points out: “One of many reasons South Africans have always loved Corolla is because it has continually delivered on being an affordable, reliable, family car over the past 40 years. The 2017 model features an even more prestigious exterior design, and there has been a strong emphasis on enhancing its sensory quality in the cabin.

“Most importantly, the Corolla continues to build on the model’s legendary QDR with significantly enhanced quality in every aspect of its design and engineering, while continuing to represent impressive value for money.”

The-Back-Of-2017-Toyota-Corolla-Special-EditionThe Corolla is currently sold in about 150 countries – including South Africa (SA) – and regions around the world and accounts for approximately 20 percent of Toyota’s global sales. Here are some of the figures we are proud of:

Corolla in numbers… and still counting

  • 50 years on, Corolla remains true to the model’s original DNA.
  • It’s been part of South Africans’ lives for more than 40 years.
  • More than 1 million Corolla units have been produced and sold in SA, alone.
  • About 45 million have been sold globally.
  • 100 cars being built and sold every hour throughout the past 50 years / one every 36 seconds.


1st Generation Corolla (1966)

Chief engineer Tatsuo Hasegawa and designers set out to capture the hearts of the general public with a car that was sporty in look and feel. This revolutionary new car adopted new technologies not seen before on the Japanese market, such as MacPherson strut suspension and a four-speed transmission.

2nd Generation Corolla (1970)

Corolla was a hit with young people. In the year that the one-millionth Corolla was built, the “all-new Corolla” featured revised exterior styling with gently curved surface lines. A longer wheelbase and greatly improved suspension improved ride comfort and handling. It was noted for its lively character and seemingly unbreakable engine.

3rd Generation Corolla (1974)

Excellent fuel efficiency and Toyota’s pioneer development of the catalytic converter ensured Corolla gained popularity in the wake of the global fuel crisis. Another modern advance, the wind tunnel, enabled the exterior design to cut through the air more efficiently. Inside, interior quality and ergonomics improved with the Corolla feeling like a car from a higher price bracket.

4th Generation Corolla (1981)

The new-generation Corolla was re-imagined as a luxurious but economical family car with superior overall performance. With more than 400 hours of wind-tunnel development, its exterior design evolved seamlessly into a wedge shape. It was the last Corolla to have rear-wheel drive across the range. Global production reached 10 million vehicles in March 1983.

5th Generation Corolla (1983)

This new model was the first to be engineered with the aid of computers, saving time and resources in the design of the engine and exterior. Corolla was transformed into a modern front-wheel drive car and became the world’s first mass-produced small car to feature twin-cam multi-valve technology. This is the model that won the 1986 SA Car of the Year award.

6th Generation Corolla (1987)

The key word in the development of the new Corolla was “quality”, both in how the car felt and how it would make its owners feel. The spacious interior and seating comfort of the Corolla were mated to the sportiness of twin-cam. The sixth-generation Corolla won the 1989 SA Car of the Year award.

7th Generation Corolla (1991)

The seventh-generation Corolla was developed to appeal with its design, safety and reliability. The model was redesigned to be larger and have the completely rounded, aerodynamic shape of the 1990s. It also looked bolder compared to previous models.

8th Generation Corolla (1998)

The eighth-generation Corolla became the number one selling car in Japan by reducing the total cost of ownership and providing a safer, quieter and higher quality compact car. The success reverberated to other parts of the world and the popularity of the Corolla grew even larger.

9th Generation Corolla (2001)

The ninth-generation Corolla featured edgier styling, a longer wheelbase and new technology. Tasked with breaking links with the past and setting standards for the 21st century, it included intelligent variable valve timing across the range and side airbags for the front seats.

10th Generation Corolla (2006)

Adopting a global perspective, dynamic performance for the 10th generation was benchmarked with the best in Europe, while ease of use and space had to appeal to markets such as North America and SA. Through its development, the engineers worked to a five-minute impression rule, where customers would recognise the quality of this new model within five minutes of their first drive. It was the first vehicle in its class with dual variable valve timing.

11th Generation Corolla (2013)

Engine enhancements, aerodynamic improvements, weight savings and other measures contributed to dynamic and efficiency gains across the range. A major advance in 2016 came with the introduction of a hybrid powertrain for some markets, bringing impressive fuel economy, nimble handling, strong value and keen pricing. Now celebrated as the world’s best-selling car, the icon that is Corolla is set to live long into the future.


When developing each of Corolla’s 11 generations, Toyota has always remained true to its original principles: building a car of superior Quality, enduring Durability and indisputable Reliability. Furthermore, with each new model produced, Toyota has analysed customer feedback to ensure that Corolla continues to deliver on its hallmarks.

Right from the start, the Corolla was designed to have wide appeal. As a “people’s car”, it was affordable. And, as a family car, it was generous on space while also displaying higher build quality and considerable equipment features.

When it launched in 1966, Toyota certainly had high hopes that the Corollla was going to be a great success. For example, its name is derived from a Latin term, which means a “crown of flowers”. Suffice to say, in just three years, the Corolla became Japan’s top-selling model. The success quickly spread to other countries around the world, and the rest is history.

What’s new in the 2017 Corolla?

The new Corolla upgrades include exterior front- and rear-end refreshments and enhanced interior modifications to give it classier feel.

  • The small upper grille is flanked by new headlamp clusters, and there is a revised front bumper incorporating a lower grille. The design is further accentuated by the LEDs (Exclusive models).
  • The engine hood has also been raised and the bumper corners have been deeply sculpted to enhance the Corolla’s 3D effect.
  • To improve passive safety, both VSC and HAC have become standard on 1.6 models and above.
  • Rear styling has been enhanced through the adoption of LED tail lamp clusters (1.8-litre models) and a redesigned chrome garnish that further emphasises the vehicle’s width.
  • Inside, the instrument panel has been updated with a layered structure that hides joins, along with a redesigned climate control panel and circular air vents.
  • Audio Touch Screen/DVD increased from 6.1” to 7” (Prestige models).
  • Other upscale touches in the interior include a piano-black centre-cluster surround and chrome-plated ornamentation.

Picking up where the current generation left off, the 2017 Corolla continues to deliver competent performance and consistently good fuel economy, all of which translates into attractive cost-of-ownership benefits.

The engine line-up remains unchanged, featuring a choice of a 1.4 litre D-4D turbodiesel and three petrol engines; a 1.3-litre Dual VVT-i unit, a 1.6-litre Dual VVT-i engine and the 1.8-litre Dual VVT-i unit. All engines are fitted with six-speed manual transmissions.

Revised tuning of the CVT transmission delivers shifts that are quicker, crisper and smoother with better matching to engine speed. The CVT also helps generate suitable engine braking when downshifting, including deceleration control that activates the fuel-cut system and holds the pulley ratio to maintain revs and enable easier re-acceleration.

The front MacPherson strut and rear torsion-beam suspension systems adopt larger-diameter shock absorbers to enhance damping force for an improved balance between ride comfort and handling stability. Improved mounting rigidity for the upper body and suspension and an additional rear damper bush contribute to improved handling performance.

Other changes that reduce noise, vibration and harshness include beading on the front fender liner to reduce turbulence inside the wheel housing, a thicker inner silencer for the dash panel and a denser material for the floor insulation.

The Corolla does everything it’s supposed to do: it’s comfortable, well equipped and affordably priced for pretty much any budget.

1.3l Dual VVT-i Petrol Engine

The 1.3-litre petrol engine is equipped with Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (Dual VVT-i) and a high compression ratio of 11.5:1, which increases the thermal efficiency of the engine. It generates 73kW at 6000rpm and maximum torque of 128Nm at 3800rpm.

A laudable fuel consumption of just 6l/100km is attainable in the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 139g/km. Profiting from Toyota’s extensive motorsport experience, the small bore, long stroke unit is exceptionally lightweight and compact, improving the vehicle’s power-to-weight ratio. It features a resin-type cylinder head cover and intake manifold, and the intake channel has been streamlined to optimise airflow for improved combustion efficiency.

Dual VVT-i helps boost response levels across the entire rev range by varying the air-fuel intake and exhaust valve timing to suit the conditions at any given time. In addition to improving torque at low and medium engine speeds, the system also reduces emissions and enhances fuel efficiency.

1.6l Dual VVT-i Petrol Engine

Available with either a six-speed manual or Multidrive S automatic (CVT) transmission and also benefitting from the Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (Dual VVT-i) technology described above, the 1.6 litre Dual VVT-i petrol engine develops 90kW at 6000rpm and a maximum torque of 154Nm at only 5200rpm. When equipped with the manual transmission the unit returns a combined cycle fuel consumption of 6.6l/100 km and generates CO2 emissions of 157g/km.

1.8l Dual VVT-i Petrol

The 1.8-litre petrol engine is fitted to top-end Corolla models. Benefitting from the Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (Dual VVT-i) technology described above, the 1.8-litre, 16V, DOHC Dual VVT-i petrol engine develops 103kW at 6400rpm, and a maximum torque of 173Nm at 4000rpm.

In manual form the 1.8 consumes an average of just 7l/100 km and emits 165g/km. Equipped with the new Multidrive S transmission (CVT), the unit returns a combined cycle fuel consumption of 6.4l/100 km and generates CO2 emissions of only 152g/km.

1.4l D-4D Diesel Engine

Employing Toyota’s Optimal Drive technology to maximise performance and driveability whilst minimising fuel consumption and emissions, the 1.4-litre D-4D diesel engine benefits from optimised combustion chamber dimensions and enhanced Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) cooler efficiency to produce 66kW and maximum torque of 205Nm at only 1800 to 2800rpm. Equipped with the standard six-speed manual transmission, the 1.4 D-4D unit returns a combined cycle fuel consumption of 4.5l/100 km and generates CO2 emissions of only 119g/km.


* All models are covered by a 5-year/90 000km Service Plan and a 3-year/100 000km


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