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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Toyota launches Corolla hybrid models in Japan

Toyota have released a hybrid versions of its flagship Corolla model in Japan on Tuesday now that the cutting-edge vehicles are becoming the main battleground of the Japanese car market.

Until now, the automaker has offered hybrid versions of its more expensive cars, in addition to hybrid-only models. But now a mass-market model is part of the lineup.

hybrid versions of the Corolla Axio sedan and Corolla Fielder station wagon were released in Japan. In addition, there will be a special Corolla Fielder Hybrid G Aerotourer·WxB grade. Monthly sales target for Japan are 1,000 units of the Corolla Axio hybrid and 1,500 units of the Corolla Fielder hybrid.

Both models are powered by a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine that develops 74 HP (54 kW) and 111 Nm (81 lb-ft) of torque. It is backed up by an electric motor that has a maximum output of 61 HP (45 kW) and 169 Nm (124 lb-ft) of torque. This enables the model to have a combined output of 100 HP (73 kW) and a fuel economy rating of 3.0 L/100km (77.6 mpg US / 93.2 mpg UK) in the JC08 test cycle.

The NiMH hybrid battery is placed under the rear seat for more efficient use of interior space. Rear seat knee space is 640 mm, achieving comfort on par with gasoline-engine vehicles. Luggage space is also comparable to gasoline-engine vehicles, with the Corolla Axio possessing 461 liters and the Corolla Fielder possessing 407 liters when carrying five passengers and 872 liters when carrying two passengers.

Suspension and shock absorber settings were adjusted to accommodate the increased weight and lower center of gravity of the hybrid system. The use of additional sound insulation material and noise-reducing windshield glass further enhances cabin quietness.

Two drive modes come standard: the Eco-Drive Mode that gives highest priority to fuel economy and the EV Drive Mode for using only the electric motor.

Starting price for the Axio Hybrid is ¥1,925,000 (US$19,589); starting price for the Fielder Hybrid is ¥2,085,000 (US$21,217).

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