The hybrid Corollas naturally use the least fuel. On the official test, the Hybrid consumes just 4.2 litres/100km (city and country combined).
The Hybrid augments a 1.8-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with a battery-driven electric motor. When you brake, it reclaims energy that is normally wasted, using it to recharge the battery and hence to propel the car. That makes a big difference to fuel use, and particularly around town where you’re braking a lot.
One reason you might not choose it is that you don’t want the cost or complexity of its petrol-electric drivetrain. And, unlike the previous model, the hybrid isn’t the best powertrain in the range in terms of driving pleasure.
Every other Corolla uses the new 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine that feels a lot more vibrant than the hybrid. In all versions it comes coupled with very good automatic transmission, with the Ascent Sport also available with a six-speed manual gearbox.
The 2.0-litre petrol has the highest thermal efficiency of any engine currently in production, which means it can extract 40 percent of the latent energy in every litre of fuel it burns, resulting in good power and frugal fuel consumption of 6.3-litres/100km with the manual gearbox, 6.0-litres/100km with the automatic transmission.
Automatic Corollas, including the Hybrid, use a CVT (continuously variable transmission)
. Unlike others CVTs, which sound like they are over-revving as they seamlessly cycle through the gears, the unit in the 2.0-litre petrol Corolla steps through gears like a conventional auto.