While many manufactures are concentrating on building full electric cars, Toyota is taking a different path by expanding and developing their hybrid cars.
Toyota has been producing hybrid cars on a large scale longer than any other company and this has given decades more time to refine and develop the tech.
The new gen Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid is a decent step up from the previous one and the looks do help make this model.
The standard features on the Ascent Sport Hybrid for the most part mirror those on the petrol version but also do a lot for in terms of appeal for the new gen. The list includes LED head- and tail lights, LED running lights, heated and power door mirrors, an eight-inch touch screen with reversing camera, six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone climate control and some advanced safety tech.
There are three levels of the Ascent Sport, Ascent Sport Hybrid – SX Hybrid – ZR Hybrid, and they offer different levels of features. While all of the hybrid versions come with dual-zone climate control, you will need to get an SX if you want sat nav and the wireless-charging pad and a ZR if you want leather seats.
Sticking with the interior, it is definitely a modern feeling with a large, open designed dashboard with its touchscreen sitting prominently in the centre. While it is modern, the disappoint comes when you really start to look over it. There is just so much hard plastic and it is very black and seems strange to come from Toyota who normally offer a more pleasing cabin space.
The cabin space is a bit on the disappointing side with the rear seats not giving the passengers much leg room at all. At only 175cm tall I am not all that in height and I was struggling to get my legs in there. The boot space also lets you down with 217 litres of cargo capacity if you have a space-saver spare wheel and 333 litres if you go with the tyre-repair kit. That’s too small for our regular pram or even a decent set of golf clubs.
Cabin storage isn’t bad, with two cupholders up front and two in the back, along with bottle holders in the doors. As for USB ports, there’s a lonely looking one under the dash.
In terms of dimensions, the Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid is 4375mm long, 1790mm wide and 1435mm tall. It is small and it is a bit low but it is also easy to drive and park in the urban setting which it is really designed for.
What powers the Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid is a 72kW/142Nm 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a 53kW/162Nm electric motor. The nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries are in the back of the car with the engine and motor taking turns and also working together to drive the front wheels. The transition between the two is fully controlled by the computer and it is smooth between changes.
The transmission is a CVT, which is an automatic. This seems to be the way that many hybrids are going. Unlike an electric car where it has only one gear, the Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid has a few yet you cannot select them like a regular petrol powered car. Although having a decent amount of torque, the Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid is not fast by any means. It does what it is meant to and that is drive you to and from places using very little fuel.
Being a hybrid means the Ascent Sport Hybrid doesn’t plug into a power point or need a charging station. This on rebuilds the charge back up in its batteries from the energy captured under you braking and by the engine at times.
Once you have a basic understanding of how the power gets from the engine and motor to the front wheels you will enjoy the drive a bit more knowing that the system is not super complicated.
That engine-motor combination works wonderfully together and add in the CVT transmission the entire setup is well organised. While it is not going to give you a sub 10 minute time around the Nurburgring, the saving on fuel will allow you to go again and again.
Like most Toyota’s that hit our shores, the Ascent Sport Hybrid gives a great steering feel, offers good handling, a comfortable ride and a very quiet cabin, which is not all that common in hybrids.
All of what is written above is not worthy if the fuel economy doesn’t add up to be worthwhile. Toyota claims the Ascent Sport Hybrid should only use 4.2L/100km on a combined cycle. I got it down to 4.3L/100km when driving short trips and stopping and starting. Once the longer trips happened the fuel usage went up more.
Car and Bike News Opinion
As hybrids go the Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid is a good looking car and lives up to the manufactures claims on fuel, well almost. It handles and drives well and is not going to be an embarrassing car to live with.
It’s more fuel efficient than a regular petrol variant and offers a better city driving experience, by being able to run silently and smoothly as an EV at low speeds.
|Ascent Sport||2.0LULPCVT AUTO||$24,370|
|Ascent Sport||2.0LULP6 SP MAN||$22,870|
|ASCENT SPORT (HYBRID)||1.8LULPCVT AUTO||$25,870|
|SX (HYBRID)||1.8LULPCVT AUTO||$28,370|
|ZR (HYBRID)||1.8LULPCVT AUTO||$31,870|